chapter  10
16 Pages

“The Place I’ll Return to Someday”: Musical Nostalgia in Final Fantasy IX


Most of us have experienced the feeling of nostalgia at some point in our lives; an image, smell, or sound took us back to fond memories of childhood, home, or some other past event we recalled with pleasure. Nostalgia’s conflation of past and present experience in a single moment can revive intense emotions, making it a powerful motivator.1 Not surprisingly, many industries recognize the profitability inherent in the nostalgic response, leading them to capitalize on nostalgia as a prime marketing tool.2 This practice is not uncommon in the video game industry, which simultaneously works to attract new audiences and to allow longtime fans to revisit the games of their youth through downloadable emulators. In some instances, game designers strive to merge old and new elements in the same game, as in Square’s Final Fantasy IX (2000), which unites technical innovation with elements designed to trigger a nostalgic response in players.