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Appreciation of VG Music 5: Sad Theme

Capa Langley

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Theme #5: Sad Theme

What is needed:

  • Link a stream or youtube video of your favorite original track that must correspond with the current theme. Not limited to just one.
  • Explain why you like the specific track. Don't just say you like it.
  • Some favorites will often be shared between more than one persons. This means someone else will likely post a track which you like. So instead post your 2nd favorite or so forth. No duplicates. The idea here is to spread as much different tracks as possible.
  • Or, you can post a track you've never really listened to before and write why it should be enjoyed.
  • Participation is key.

Previous sessions:

1. Battle Music

2. Game Boy

3. Vocals

4. Scary

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Just to get the ball rolling, we have:

from Super Mario RPG. This is an iconic "sad theme" I'm sure a lot of people here will recall. Who can forget the sad/comedic moment when Mallow is revealed NOT to be a tadpole? Or Boomer's crushing defeat? Now if only someone would make an "Italian" violin arrangement of this.


Painful Memories from Heavy Rain

Unlike my previous selection, this one is from a game that has probably flown under most OCRer's radars. Look into it. I think it should be mentioned that the games soundtrack was approached more like for a film than a game. Back to the track, this piece is played in the beginning of the game, when Ethan Mars is remembering not sad things that have happened, but his life at it's best. He was happily married, with two children and a nice home. It's these memories that cause him pain when he no longer has these things, and I think that makes this theme very humanizing for the character.

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Another icon,

. Mitsuda's ability to imbue emotional depth into strong, minimal melodies shines here. Of course, it also has the nostalgia factor going for it.

Speaking of CT, and Sad Themes, this seems an appropriate place to point out something that gets me everytime I hear it. From the first time I heard Urza's Song of the Mountain, and every listen since, when I get to the third section, I swear I'm hearing Colette's Sad Theme.

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Suspicion from Final Fantasy IV. It's a simple tune, but packs the gut-wrenching punch of a dear friend's betrayal.

from Secret of Mana. This one perfectly conveys the feeling of drowning in a sea of sorrow, and is full of the spine-tingling harmony that made the SoM soundtrack so great.

Tears of the Stars, Hearts of the People from Xenogears. This track is gently flowing and highly melodramatic, especially those vibrato parts -- great stuff for its time. Perfect for the revelation of a shocking tragedy.

Better stop there. Can you tell I'm a sucker for the melancholy? :-)

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reduces me to a sobbing wreck every time I listen to it, without fail. I find it really somber and moving without ever getting melodramatic or overblown. Beautiful performances from both the orchestra and vocalists.

It's also really well written/orchestrated, but half of the time I'm not even paying attention to that because ffffffffff here come the waterworks.

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I see Heavy Rain mentioned here, so I must instinctively plug a game that is similar yet at the same time... so much more. : )

Of course, i'm talking about Deadly Premonition. It's 20 bucks new. Get it.

Simple, and elegant. And used very effectively, too.

A really sad yet sweet song.

To really talk about what scenes these songs are in would spoil the bizarre and amazing story this game has to tell, so I'll leave that up to you.

The music in this game is a lot better than what you'd expect for a game with sometimes broken controls and bizarre/boring combat. In fact, the entire game is worthy of praise, because you have never played anything quite like Deadly Premonition, despite the obvious borrowing it does from so many other games. It consistently entertains even in its bewilderingly broken parts (where you can't help but laugh how your car mysteriously veers to the right every couple of seconds, or how you can infinitely collect "The Pickles" brand pickles by walking a few feet away from it and coming back). It's a great game and one that I highly recommend.

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Bioshock 2- "Eleanor's Lullaby"

Simple and touching.

The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night- "This Broken Soul"

A song about someone who's not sure how to move forward, or about themselves with past choices. Goes from simple, to almost Rock ballad, then back. Not a bad song that basically applies to both Cynder and Spyro by the time the end of the game rolls around.

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Silent Hill 2: True.

Removes all doubt about your past.

Mother 3: Love Theme.

Not a sad song... they just use it to completely tear out your heartstrings. I knew something bad was going to happen in Mother 3... I just didn't know it would be that soon.

Perfect Dark: Chicago.

Just before the game goes bonkers in terms of plot (in the best way possible) you're plunked into a seedy Chicago backstreets area made up out of sleaze, an asshole robot, and cheese in a strip club. It has such a beautiful melancholy tone to it. It was one of the first songs I taught myself on guitar.

Wind Waker: Farewell Hyrule King.

Noooo Kingy... noooo ;-;. I heard this track way before I finished the game so seeing it play out in the scene left me staring openmouthed.

Max Payne 2: Theme. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGvwmZmFi0w

I can feel the brooding in this track. It makes me want to speak in film noir dialogue and drink black coffee at all hours. The way it swells throughout the game is fantastic.

Well, now I'm going to stop before I name all the video game music ever.

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I love sad things

FF6 - Kids Run Through The City Corner

(I was going to mention the opera/Celes theme but I'll wait for someone else to do that) It's not expliclity a "sad theme", but it always made me feel very sad. It's the sound of a bittersweet nostalgia from a troubled town soon to be ravaged by war.

This theme isn't original to the game, but I wanted to mention it because it makes me cry possibly more than any piece of music I've ever heard.

It might be hard to explain this one since the whistle at the beginning probably throws some people off. The melody is one of my favorite game melodies ever, it's just so jazzy but subdued and very bittersweet.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for violin. I've never played Grandia but someone sent an mp3 of this to me and it's been on my mind ever since. It's a cliche image, but I imagine the sun setting on a beach with two people sitting by each other, just staring off in the distance.

After the heart-rendering last boss battle of Earthbound it only seems appropriate to have this song there to sum up all your experiences.

I have sort of a personal history with this tune, I remember playing this game when I was young and had a bad ear infection. When the game breaks from it's relatively normal worlds into these cosmic abstractions and the northern lights are showing, it had an oddly profoundly affect on me. And I doubt it would have if not for this theme.

This one so perfectly encapsulates the feel of "that great big world out there" and all the mystery and sadness that's far beyond your grasp or comprehension.

I swear I will do an arrangement of this theme someday. It's just, like, this mysterious world in the past, the sadness of time, feelings of things that have been lost. It's hard to describe, but Mitsuda is excellent at this.

There are a lot of sad themes in Zelda 64 but even with the fake voice sample, this one still kills me every time. I love Malon, I always thought she was meant to be Link's romantic interest. And that ranch is such a sad and beautiful place, especially when the sun is setting and it's late in the game. You really feel the lonliness of the place.

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Chrono Cross -

This first plays in the time crash when you go up against a certain someone. It captures the feeling of the moment extremely well.

Lufia 2 - Iris' Theme

They were probably going for mysterious but ended up with this sad tune. Made even sadder when you realize why Iris helps you.

Final Fantasy IV -

A simple theme, but quite powerful. Usually played when someone dies.

Terranigma - Elle's Theme

I felt like putting a Hero's Final Day, but it's too happy despite the context it plays in. Elle's fate was pretty tragic, and her theme emphasizes it.

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Golden Sun

One of the most beautiful town themes I've ever heard.

Golden Sun


I do not know the original name of this track, I only found a piano fan version, but it manages to capture the original's sense of suffering and despair.

Skies of Arcadia

Beautiful piano piece that accompanies a few scenes in SoA. Usually in genuinely emotional scenes.

Skies of Arcadia

These two tracks serve roughly the same purpose: providing an amazing ending for an amazing game.

Tales of Symphonia

Zelos ~Serious Arrangement~

A bit context sensitive. Becomes quite powerful in a certain optional scene, the more you realize the motives behind Zelos' actions.

Megaman: Dr. Wily's Revenge

Ending Theme

Simple, yet satisfying, ending, accompanied by an amazing Game Boy tune. Wily's Revenge had great music, imo.

Astro Boy: Omega Factor

This action game has an unusually extensive plot, and a very emotional ending, helped greatly by the music.

Chrono Trigger

Considering all the love Chrono Trigger gets around here, I'm surprised this track hasn't been mentioned yet.

Chrono Cross

One of the most beautiful videogame music tracks I've ever heard. Chrono Cross' soundtrack is simply amazing.

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Final Fantasy X - Someday the Dream Will End

This is one of the few pieces of video game music that I always feel in my gut. It perfectly conveys the heroic choice made by Yuna while still maintaining the sense of dread felt by everyone, not to mention the great incorporation of Yuna's theme into the track as well.

Oh man I had completely forgotten about

from Final Fantasy X.

I didn't like the game that much, but I can always recall that track. Haunting, sad, and depressing.

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