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Top Score (MPR): A musicologist's look at 'Final Fantasy VI'

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Some notes from there I couldn't share with just the audio:


First off, William Cheng's book is fantastic -- he is really helping to expand what the umbrella of ludomusicology covers.  There are chapters dedicated to FFVI, Fallout, and Team Fortress 2 among others.


Second, linked here (because they are large images otherwise) is the handout I passed out when I gave the full version of this talk at New York University's "Music and the Moving Image" conference a couple years ago.  I have that scene breakdown done even further, with a list of every piece you're required to listen to in order to beat the game for each scene...but that is 10 pages long, haha.




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  • 4 weeks later...

I haven't played through the World of Ruin many times, but can you approach the different scenes you mention in a non-linear fashion? That would be a significant point of divergence from traditional three-act structure that has some corollaries in modern stage productions.


WoR is definitely non-linear.  However, the game forces you to do at least this much in order:


1) Celes' opening scenes

2) Get Sabin as you walk north*

3) Sabin directs you to Terra, who refuses to join*

4) The sequence with Gerad/Edgar happens at the north end of the Serpent Trench and is unavoidable

5) Setzer


*not required but extremely likely for non-speedrunners


Technically that's all you have to do before Kefka.  The game then encourages you to do these things, again in order:


6) Celes sees the pigeon when you first take off in the Falcon, who leads you to Cyan

7) Cyan recalls having seen Gau on the Veldt

8. Visiting the Cave in the Veldt leads to Shadow (// Relm)


After that it's kind of a crapshoot what happens next -- my outline merely proposes an order for the remainder of WoR.  What's important there is that there are 16 major events in WoR, just like 16 events in WoB.  Even if the scenes happen in completely random order, I argue that it's difficult to come to an understanding of WoR as a whole that isn't a "third act" scenario that leads to the end.

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