Time to embark on an epic quest of swords, magic, and dragons. But you can't have an epic quest without some appropriately epic music. Let's take a look this week at a few tunes from one of my favorite RPGs of all time, Dragon Warrior.
So you boot up the game and (does it count as booting if all you do is plug in a cartridge? I usually think of spinning mechanical work like an Atari 800 when I say "booting".) Anywho, you boot up the game, and a pleasant, almost jaunty little tune greets you. It has a "royal" feel thanks not only to the stonework backdrop of the start screen, but also thanks to the 8-bit trumpet sounds heralding your quest's beginning. I love it because not only does this lend a grandiose feel to the game, but music like this really makes it feel like an RPG worth playing.
Throne Room Music
"Throne Room Music"
Such a serious tone to this track. It made the whole game seem more grave, more important somehow. There are melancholy undertones, and an almost sad feel to the tune. The whole track really has the "kingdom-feeling-despair" essence that you want when under taking an epic quest to save a kingdom from an evil monster.
Sorrowful songs and melancholy tunes continue as soon as you exit Tantegel Castle and explore the kingdom of Alefard. There's an underlining marching type beat, but it doesn't sound like something out of a high school band thankfully. Instead, you get a more plodding feel. Not that the game plods, but the music here helps you to feel as if this quest won't be a quick cakewalk. For an RPG, quick rarely enters the mix, and really, it shouldn't.
I have less time to play RPGs these days. Between writing jobs, and being a stay at home dad, it feels like the 30 to 40 plus hours needed to level up and win are increasingly joining the "fond memory" category. Oh sure, I could save the game and come back later, but chances are by the time I come back I will have long forgotten where I was headed, what quest I was on, or vital clues needed to find key items. Half the time when this happens I end up doing one of two things: I start over and hope a fresh start means getting further in the game and being better about taking notes in case I have to leave the game....Or I just stop playing the game altogether and sigh wistfully, wondering what would have happened had I managed to finish the game. At least I can take solace in the fact that with a few simple mouse clicks, I can bring up the soundtrack to one of my favorite RPGs and remember a time when I was on a quest to defeat the Dragon Lord and the only thing between me and victory was an army of slime-monsters.