Between worlds : musical allegory in Final Fantasy X
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In this essay, I question and problematize the undertheorized notion of what it means to “beat” video games, as well as address the lack of ludomusicological attention paid to the post-Sakaguchi produced games in the Final Fantasy series. This paper seeks to rectify these disparities in scholarship, arguing that the music in Final Fantasy X (the first of the post-Sakaguchi Final Fantasy games) prophetically commented on and critiqued the very system it was to become a part of. The first two sections of this paper examine the significance of the diegetic “Hymn of the Fayth,” not only at the narrative level of Final Fantasy X, but also the cultural level of the “real world” as well. The third section returns to the ludophilosophical quandary of what it means to “beat” video games, framing the question in terms of the (covertly) antitheistic architecture of most video games. Drawing on sources from a wide range of disciplines (musicology, East Asian studies, religious studies, ludology, and philosophy), I place music at the center of this dialogue and argue that it is an integral component in the way we (re)experience video games—even if we’ve already beaten them.