The other day, my iTunes popped out a piece I hadn’t heard in a long, long, LONG time. A quiet string melody that slowly built up began playing. I checked to see what it was, with a vague sense of remembering it, and the caption showed it was Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Op. 11. I stopped what I was doing and sat back to listen. And then it hit me.
I knew this piece, and it wasn’t as anything written by Barber. I closed my eyes and could see and hear it in my mind:
“No one is left. Everything’s gone. Kharak is burning.” (Images of devastation on the planet below)
A quick search on Google affirmed my recollection: the music had been used in the game Homeworld during the cut scene where you’ve tried your first jump, got surprised by a minor attack, and rushed back home, only to find you were too late.
Now I want to emphasize: I haven’t fired up Homeworld in well over 15 years. And I haven’t heard the Adagio for Strings that I can recall in that time. So this is a memory that is so implanted in my brain, that it survived all that time and yet pretty much instantly returned me to that memory upon hearing the music.
I’m not surprised it did, either. That scene was one of the most memorable points in any game I’ve ever played on a computer. It transformed a simple space game into something emotional, something visceral. It didn’t matter that it was just a computer game; I wanted to avenge their deaths, save the cryo trays, etc. And the music was a large part of that. It was one of the best pairings of music and moment I’ve experienced in a game, ever.
What other emotional moments of similar nature have you experienced?