Monday, 28 October 2013

Waxing Lyrical: Illusion of Gaia

With my birthday coming up, I often get sentimental. I usually think about my childhood and all the missteps I have taken along the way. I often wonder what would have happened had I changed my decisions. Would I be doing this or would I be doing other things. These are questions that I often think about when I am alone with my thoughts and usually when I am thinking, there is one song that accompanies me. Believe it or not it is not a Zelda, Final Fantasy or Donkey Kong track, but a couple from Illusion of Gaia. Namely the World Map theme and Beneath the Earthen Womb.

Both tracks are play key roles in the game. With the World Map theme, it is quite obvious of why the track is important, but with Beneath the Earthen Womb, it plays during one of the more somber moments of the game. Unlike other songs which I have associated with key moments in my childhood, both songs listed hear encompass my past as a whole.

The World Map theme for Illusion of Gaia is one of pure exploration. While other world map tracks had more of a theme of adventure and action, the Illusion of Gaia World Map theme was one of exploration, unlike the 16 bit Final Fantasy games or Legend of Zelda which was more based on adventure and action. I absolutely love this track as it does fit the motif of the game. When you are heading towards some new locale, be it the cultural mecca of Euro or the ancient and foreboding temple of Angkor Watt, there is an air of excitement.

Don't get me wrong. While I do love the adventure feel of Final Fantasy's various world theme's, save for disk 1 of Final Fantasy IX, there is no real incentive to explore. Same with Legend of Zelda. Save for Wind Waker, the main overworld theme for the games is one of adventure.

If World Map is a song of exploration then Beneath the Earthen Womb is a song for reflecting on your personal history. To call this a sad song would misrepresent what the song is. Yes it has a somber melody to it, but to call it sad is wrong. The song is about being introspective. To reflect on what you did in the past and to think about how it has shaped you as a person..

We have all made mistakes growing up. For many, the errors of their youth is what helped mold them into the person that they are today, for good or bad. We cannot change what has happened, nor can we dwell on it. However we can reflect on what we have done and how we can use utilize it for future decisions.

In the end, both these songs are tied closely to my thoughts on my childhood. With World Map being the joy of exploration and looking towards the future while Beneath the Earthen Womb reminds me of my past mistakes and how they changed me, for better or for worse.

Illusion of Gaia is still one of my favourite games and it is a real shame that there is so little love to this 16 bit gem.

This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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