More Favorite Video Game Music

Almost a year ago now I did an article going over some of my favorite video game music. Well, a lot of games have come out since then, and I have played some of them.

‘Played’ here can mean one of two things: I actually played it myself, or my husband played it while I sat next to him and crocheted. I count both, therefore I, personally, am inches away from platinuming Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I just need to figure out how to get the credit on my PlayStation account.

Let’s look at the music of the last year that made me feel things!

Minor spoilers for, like, the first twenty minutes of Disco Elysium.

Disco Elysium: Red Rock Riviera

Disco Elysium is one of the games that, if you want to be super specific and technical about it, my husband is playing. The controller is in his hand. The game is under his PS account. Whatever. This one we actually are playing together, as I get just as much decision making power as he does. Who’s idea was it to ditch the pants that were lowering Detective Raphael Ambrosius Costeau’s Savoir Faire and simply walk around in dingy off-white underpants?

All me, bay-bee.

Let me set the scene for you. We’ve been playing for roughly twenty to thirty minutes. In that time we’ve explored our room, tried (and failed) to get our necktie off the fan, managed to look in the mirror to find we are making the expression, gone out of the room and downstairs where we got into a verbal slapfight with that prick running the cafeteria, and met Kim Kitsuragi, the Patron Saint of Endless Patience for Gin Blossomed Assholes. It’s weird. It’s light. It’s heavy. It’s fun.

And then we finally step outside the Whirling-in-Rags to continue our investigation and this happens.

I’m a thirty or forty year old woman. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Boston with a nuclear family in a nice house with a huge backyard. I didn’t have many friends but I was okay with that because I knew high school was essentially just treading water until you reached escape velocity and blasted out of your shitty hometown and society randomly decided you were an adult and you could do (almost) anything you wanted. I graduated high school with fine grades and immediately fled to Florida where I got an English degree and met the people who are still my friends to this day. Spent a year in Cheyenne. Decided Wyoming sucked and went back to Florida. Dated around but nothing stuck. Went back to school for a nursing degree. Met my future husband. Decided Florida sucked and moved to Colorado. Quit nursing when the pandemic began and have since been struggling to find footing as a writer.

My life has been a comfortable mellow middle ground, a long float down a lazy river that has had some little turbulence here and there but no waterfalls. There is no great tragedy to my life, no suffocating loss or squeezing regret. I have had sadness and shock and fear and questions, of course, as any life does, but nothing worth reporting. No sad memoir sits within me, waiting to be written. If I were feeling particularly uncharitable I might call my life bland, but that’s not it exactly. All I am saying is that there are some lives that become dominated by a great tragedy, and I am lucky enough that my life is not one of them.

I am generally content.

So I would greatly appreciate it if anyone out there knew why the second those horns started playing I was stabbed in the gut with emotions so great I didn’t have the space to put them anywhere. I was sitting there, enjoying my Thanksgiving weekend, thinking nothing more of the game and maybe if I wanted a little snack, and then those horns played and I froze. Literally froze, hand gripping my water glass as though I could simply smash the glass and absorb the hydration through my cut hand. My hearing fuzzed at the same time my sight grew sharper, and all the while my heart is beating cold and my stomach is moving down, down, down, trying to make room for all the nameless emotions that have arrived and are now jostling for attention.

But I can’t pay attention to any single one of them because I don’t know what they are. They are negative and painful but they make no sense. There is nothing in my life to make me feel that way. It is as if the horns of Revachol have torn open a passage to another universe, one where Something Happened. Something Bad Happened, and I am being forced to relive it all over again, all the hurt and anger and sadness and regret and ennui and moving on and getting stuck and wasting away and all of these things are coming for me but I have no context so the fight or flight instinct kicks in and I freeze because I don’t know where or what the danger is and I can’t see it coming but I can hear it. Oh, how I can hear it.

And then my husband asked if we should go see the dead body and I somehow speak. The spell has not been completely broken, but I am pulled from that swirling torrent of emotions that do not belong to me and I am sitting on the shore. They are no longer inside. But they are close. They will always be close. Even now, months later, when that theme begins to play as we pilot our pantsless detective around a ruined city, I can still feel those emotions like a cold river in the dark. They are not my emotions. But they want to be.

They want to be.


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