I have always been emotionally effected by certain music. It’s rare that some upbeat pop song will actually make me happy if I’m feeling anything but, however, I do find some songs will take control and I’ll just really feel something.
Some people might read that and know exactly what I’m talking about, others might and be like “music is just background noise for me when I drive and doesn’t change my emotional state”. And sure, some people don’t get effected by music, but I will argue this; think of a movie that made you cry, that made you upset or angry – odds are it was not just the story or the actors that hit that special part of you to encourage the overflow of emotion, but the music that is re-enforcing those emotions and causing them to surface like they are.
Now, some of you might be wondering what the hell inspired me to talk about music influences, and there are many reasons for this.
I recently finished a video game that I had been waiting 13 years to play. Yes, 13 fucking years. Long story, made incredibly short, I thought I had moved passed the games that I had played so long ago, almost a different life time, but I’m not. This next installment of the game brought me right back to those moments when I played the first and second game, and some of the games in between the second and third. I thought I wouldn’t get emotionally invested in it like I did before, or find an amazing challenge in killing thousands of enemies at once. And I thought, I’ll be done with the series after this game – something I was certain of and figured I’d be unwavering on – until I saw the ending video. The ending video and the secret video at the end of the credits. I actually cried. Part of it was the music and part of it was the story. Not only did the final sequence of events involve the main character break down and cry saying he gave up, only finding himself having to keep fighting after losing someone he was in love with and had only just come to this realization (the characters are young….they start off at like age 12-13, and by the third game they might be 15-16), but the ending sequence shows him saving her, but not himself. And you’re sitting there, seeing them for a split second together, and then the tears fall down her cheek, and he disappears, and you know he’s lost – he couldn’t make it back. Something happened to him. You have no idea what, but the next game will tell you – maybe. The secret video then shows the main character and one of his friends lost in a place where you never expected the games to take you – and you wonder, is this a new world? Is it from a video game? Is it a new exam? Or is it something else entirely? And you’re so uncertain, and you’re questioning this, and despite all the other unresolved plot points that have come to light in the final video, deep down, all you want to see, is for things to just work out for those two characters who so clearly are in love with each other, and who want nothing more then to actually be together and protect one another. It’s deep – it’s love – and it’s forever.
I have become slightly addicted to two songs, one was used in the opening of the game, and the one in the ending of the game. They resonate with me in a very strange way. I think of the characters, of everything that has happened, and is yet to happen, and I also think about the meaning behind the lyrics. In one, it talks about love being everlasting, and wanting to spend a life time together, and getting married to one another, which is beautiful, but also heartbreaking. In the other, it’s about facing your fears, confronting your worst nightmares and crying every tear left in your body as your deepest fears come to light and you have to face them head on. Do you give up? Do you stand down, cry your eyes out, and find that despite how much it’s broken you, you have to keep fighting because someone relies on you and needs you? Do you do both, and then find yourself fighting despite experiencing your darkest fears and nightmares? Both songs are sad, they’re about fighting even when you have nothing left, when it’s been taken away from you, but you do it anyway. Why? Because you can’t stop yourself. If you don’t fight, then your nightmares become a solid reality, and you’re at the point in your life where if you don’t do it, then you become consumed, and you lose those you love forever. So, you stand up and fight despite yourself, usually at the cost of seeing someone else you care about protecting you and being consumed by the nightmares in front of you.
These games are pretty dam depressing….but what makes it? The love between the characters; the willingness to fight even when you’ve lost those you care about; the desire to see a better world, the light in the dark. The main character has this wonderful thing about him; he’s stubborn, reckless, but one of the most caring people you will ever see in a video game. He fights despite his weaknesses, and makes his weaknesses his strength; his friends, his love, the people who stand by his side no matter are where he draws his strength from; and yet they are continually used against him to weaken him. But he doesn’t give in….he still fights even when he knows the outcome is bleak, because if he doesn’t, what happens to those people? He makes a joke, he smiles that boyish grin, and throws excellent sass at the bad guys. But in the end? When the bad guys are slowly being defeated in a new war? They talk as if they have been friends all this time, like they have come to the realization that they have been through so much together, and even though they were against each other, it’s the end now; the end of them fighting each other, and the beginning of them finding one another once again, and sharing new experiences together. It’s not “you’re evil and you’re dead and that’s what you deserve”, it’s “see you in the next adventure” (whatever that adventure may be). It’s beautiful and heartfelt, and only these characters carry with them that understanding, the high levels of empathy, and the desire to see everyone they know and care about happy. And that’s what keeps the character going, keeps him fighting, keeps him saying “I’ve got this” even when the odds are never in his favour. He’s a character that, even in his darkest moments, where he says he gives up because he’s lost them all, sees the sacrifice and becomes determined that he must save them; that they can’t really be gone. Maybe it’s naivety, maybe it’s optimism so far gone that they’ve lost touch with reality – but it’s that desire to believe that something good must come from it that makes the characters find it within themselves, and from those around them to actually do good.
Maybe I’m just thrown so far into the game that I have grown emotionally attached to some of the characters, and I won’t argue against that. Perhaps it reminded me, in an era where the main characters have to be tough and can’t joke around, or be silly – that they have to realists all the time, and they have to be capable of handling everything – that this character resonates so much with me. He’s always the savior, always the person who supports and shares in the accomplishments of his friends, even if he failed. He celebrates his friends achievements for what they are, even if it means he gets nothing. He is selfless, loving, optimistic, driven, determined, stubborn, reckless, and brave. He is, albeit a fictional character, what we need in this world.
Okay, so this entry got severely off topic, but the music in the game reminds me of not only the sadness and what has happened to the characters on this journey, but also what is good about them, what makes it so enticing and comforting. It makes you feel more than you ever thought, and part of that is attributed to the music.
The music has been great inspiration for my writing, and since Camp NANOWRIMO is coming up, I’ll be looking at doing some editing on my stupidly long manuscript that needs to be sorted out.
All right, I think I should end this here. I rambled on WAY too much in this post. Apologies to all who read this hoping for me to stick to a point, and went completely off the rails.