Certain melodies have a way of affecting us.
When I was younger I had a pet guinea pig. Her name was snowflake and I loved that tiny tan rodent. I would take her out of the cage daily and sit an the couch with her on my chest, my arms wrapping her in a little pen of flesh and bone. She would scurry around and try her best to escape my boundaries but occasionally she would calm down enough to let me pet her. Guinea Pigs make a strange purr-like noise. Copycats. Anyway, she also had a knack for nibbling on my fingers. And for that she’d be rewarded with a flick to the nose just below the little white spot after which she was named. Never really deterred her though.
At that time I was playing a game called Shining Force 3, one of my favorite RPG’s back in the day. The day that my guinea pig passed away I was laying in my room playing that game. My mom came in and told me something was wrong with Snowflake. We took her to the vet and, through tears and wishes that things would be otherwise, accepted that she was dying. Needless to say I was sad for a while thereafter, the loss of my first pet that was my own instead of a “family pet” being something quite traumatic in my young life.
Years later when I was playing through Shining Force 3 once again a specific battle melody started and instantly I was overwhelmed by a feeling of sadness and loss. It took me a few minutes of pondering why it was happening when I realized that it was during that particular battle years ago that my mother had come in to tell me of Snowflake.
Regardless of when I play through that game, when that music starts I am ever reminded of my dear guinea pig.
Fast forward to last week when a game in one of my favorite series’ came out: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Despite the strange sounding name (not uncommon with games from Japan. See Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) the game is a fantastic homage to the core Final Fantasy series. It’s a music and rhythm game that has the player swiping, tapping, and holding the stylus on the 3DS’ bottom screen in beat and timing with whichever song is playing. The game also allows the player to build a party of characters made up of various protagonists from the 13 installments in the series. All in all, it’s the type of game that every fan of the series should pickup and love.
What’s more, I’ve played through every main installment in the main Final Fantasy series after Final Fantasy IV, and the songs present in this game bring back memories of those experiences in an amazing way and moving way. Certain songs, especially ones from the ending sequences of particular games in the series, fill me again with the same sense of wonder and awe that hearing them for the first time years ago brought. The game also plays certain iconic cutscenes in the background visuals of specific songs. The way the rhythms are shown as an overlay, non-intrusively, allows the player to see and re-experience the cinemas of the series while at the same time playing the actual Theatrhythm game.
I am filled with a joyous sense of nostalgia as I play Theatrhythm. The game is a beautiful musical tribute to the Final Fantasy series and I’d encourage anyone who has even a fragment of familiarity with the Final Fantasy series to pick up this game and traipse down memory lane with me.