On ending themes…..
A recent post by The Well-Red Mage on the incredible Nintendo/Square crossover Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars got me all nostalgic and prompted me to have a listen through the soundtrack this morning. I remember buying the game when it first came out for the SNES, and it really was a marriage made in heaven – Mario AND (semi) Final Fantasy. This was long before the Disney/Square-Enix crossover Kingdom Hearts was even a twinkle in SE’s eye.
As I wrapped up the listening session I was graced with the hallmark of any good RPG, the ending theme. The one for SMRGP rightly brought a little mist to my eyes, as memories of days long past flooded back into my mind. The game, my life at the time I was playing, time spent with good friends as we played and watched the story unfold.
The ending theme of an RPG is an important piece of the overall story. It signifies completion. An end to a long struggle in battles innumerable (unless your RPG has a battles fought counter, but it still FEELS like battles innumerable). The music is bittersweet, as you come to understand that the digital characters whom you directed for the past 40, 50, 80 hours can finally come to rest, while at the same time you realize that the magick of discovery for this title is now almost nil. You have played through and you know how everything turns out. No more eagerly waiting for school to let out so you can find out what happens next, it is now time to wait for the next adventure.
There is something about an ending theme. Though many of them sample songs and themes that have been played throughout the game, there is a certain sound, a certain tone that signals completion. You could have heard the same song over and over a thousand times, but when it plays during the ending theme, the slight adjustment to the pitch, the tone, the speed adds something.
Enjoy, if you will, a few of the best ending themes the Final Fantasy series has to offer. To some of you non-gaming readers they will mean little to nothing – but to those of you long time gamers such as myself, may you find yourself walking down memory lane.
And just for good measures…..