Gaming with a Fantasy
The rising crescendo of symphonic piano notes sound amidst a beautiful picturesque of a waterfall around a grand castle. As the cinematic pans to show more of this kingdom, a soft voice begins to sing what was the love theme of the game. “Melodies of Life” is its name, and is sung by Emiko Shiratori, and composed by Nobuo Uematsu, who also composed the rest of the soundtrack. This… is Final Fantasy IX.
Final Fantasy® IX is part of a game series by Square Enix, formerly SquareSoft at the time, and told an intricate tale of a princess, Garnet, who volunteers to be ‘kidnapped’ by thief Zidane Tribal in order to get away from her mother the Queen. Tagging with them is Knight-Captain Adelbert Steiner, who at the time vows to bring Garnet back to her kingdom of Alexandria and to lock Zidane up for the apparent kidnapping. Along the way they meet other people, such as black mage Vivi, Freya, and Quina, in their quest to explore the world and stay away from the Queen… who they all eventually discover has nefarious intentions for the other kingdoms. This realization brings them closer together and sets them on a new course: saving their world from the mysterious Kuja, orchestrator behind the Queen’s evil conquest. The bond between these characters become strong, and the love between Garnet and Zidane grows into something truly powerful.
It was December of 2000. The game had just released in the U.S. a month prior. Up until this point my exposure to video games was minor; only ever playing games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario World, or Donkey Kong Country on occasion. Final Fantasy IX was different. Is different. It was the first game that I played for hours on end and the first game that I beat in its entirety. The beautiful world of Gaia and its landscapes such as Garnet’s Alexandria, the kingdom of Lindblum, the mysterious Iifa Tree, gloomy and tragic Burmecia, and so much more, was my muse, my passion and door to the gaming world. As a writer, it inspired me with its intricate soundtrack and amazing story and characters. This fantastical medieval world was a home away from home for me.
The impact that Final Fantasy IX had on me as a twelve year old boy paved the way for more Final Fantasy games. It was a gateway to for the desire to game, period. Thanks to Final Fantasy IX, I have an immense appreciation for storytelling and for great characters with good personalities in a game. I would go as far as to say that, for me, there would be no Dragon Age Origins, no The Witcher 3, or even Halo: Reach, without this game; because without it, I wouldn’t have been interested in these games. I found a love for games that I never knew I had or existed.
Here’s to #gamerlife!