Member rant: What music makes us cathartic?
Hello fellow OPGamers. Welcome to this post or, more commonly known as, the cathartic bugaloo to calming music.
Heyo! I am @theironfelix, but you may refer to my online pseudonym as Felix. As of last week the post about calming music would reach all members of OPGaming, so to honour such posts I asked for a direct opposite: what about cathartic music? Of course before this post will display huge emotional outbursts, I shall give my thanks to the whole of @opgaming, @volderhein for assistance and @ddrfr33k for getting me unto the Discord in the first place. <3 ye OPGaming!
So where does one begin the journey to know what catharsis is? Well dear reader, catharsis can be simply summed up as this: the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. Give the accreditations to Google on the meaning, but that meaning is more than the sum of those words. Indeed, the meaning is implicative that it isn’t a mere process or just emotional outburst at a moment, but the sequence of manic emotions that compel people forward after so long having suppressed their feelings.
**[From this point on, there might be spoilers and I shall put this here for safe’s keeping. Basically any Doom game, Undertale and Half-Life series can be spoiled accidently even when speaking of the music. So uh, play your games ye rascals!]**
Now it’s rare that I explicitly go rambling about philosophy outside of my quibbles within philosophy, but a point has to be made now: rationality doesn’t exclude emotions, and, more so, can benefit from such. Yet what unholy utterances have I laid here, does that stand in complete contradiction of what one had learned about philosophy? Well if people go beyond the mere love for learning and go forwards practically and critically using it, then one becomes aware of the tropes that manifest in philosophy regardless of the trope’s origin. Even so I raise this question to ye readers: even if you’d pretended to be the most “stoic” of gamers, haven’t you a memory of catharsis with how a game played with your emotional state and fill you with determination?
Even without so, a whole world of games exists where they drum up the player to not only continue playing on but to ready them for the next challenge. For if you felt lethargic playing Doom, you’d probably survive a few encounters but you’d die from ambush encounters easily. Now go in playing Doom as if you heard a metallic opera play, now you’d survive not only way more but become the Dæmons’ worst night terror! And why does a mere switch in emotions result in drastic changes?
To harp on an earlier point: rationality benefits from emotions. And games like Doom that shares the universal quality of catharsis clearly benefit from that emotion. With such build up, it prepares the player to be ready for the worst of moments and still rip and tear after surviving that encounter. Yet other games make different particular use of catharsis and they still are effective, and that’s what make catharsis a universal emotion to pick on during gaming.
In fact, games that wish to actualize catharsis cannot do it alone - this is where music steps in to fill in that void. Music drums up what the game can only display – it sets the tempo of the players action, tells when to move in for the kill and when to rest and blinds them of outside worries while it plays. Without cathartic music, most games would suffer from lacking auditory clues, which is different from sequences where music exist not but a topic for a whole other time, as music may not be the actual thing present – but it certainly can string a narrative for us to follow during play. So what pieces do I dare say represent this whole spiel well?
To honour my first pickings, I shall talk about Doom. In particular, the song ”BFG Division” - no more words are needed, this is dæmon-slayin’ material! Yes it has a slow start, but akin it to a tease which makes on queasy of what’s going on. Then the drop towards Hades, the Dæmons are near but you’re locked and loaded! Then the first metallic riff and scream begins, the Dæmons fight for their lives as you go around ripping and tearing those that stand in the Doom Slayer’s way! After a while, a slight queasy pause - recoup thy strength for more comes and they shall be merciless. Then the music picks up again, and you tell yourself this: and you shall be worse, so RIP AND TEAR!
Yet music from other games like Undertale don’t emphasize a playthrough of genocide, well not entirely, and, in fact, still makes people feel cathartic. For music like “Hopes and Dreams + Save the World” equally pushes the player forward. You’re committed to not laying harm to a single soul, to rescue all of your friends and you may not be able to save yourself. But with what little determination you have left, maybe you can SAVE someone else. And the song plays off your struggle while being the collective encouragement of a thousand monster souls trapped inside of the one you’re trying to save – the one who’s attempting to have the timeline reset once and for all. Will you save the World?
Yet haven’t I a taste for music? How can I forget a classic like Half-Life 2? The soundtrack includes this one which I really love, it’s called: “Something secret steers us” - and, not really a plot twist, it works great as a cathartic piece of music. For you’re in the middle of a warzone with your rebel comrades against this hulking Universe-wide Empire called the Combine. You may fight courageously for this holy cause and give out Divine Violence to this oppressive empire – yet something else steers this entire course of history. A zeitgeist, time spirit, that gravitates and necessitates change in this period of revolt and strife - It knows your every move and has foreseen many ways to prevent your pitfalls so they can play against the enemy well. It also hasn’t a care for revolts, but It certainly does care to see the Combine work to earn their bread and even die trying. Even with such knowledge, you move forward of a vain hope that humanity will be saved and the Combine swept away were a part of Its plans – time will tell when the Third game truly arrives.
**I made the gif, but the video came from youtube.**
But of course I wouldn’t end my trek here, I believe in the rule of fours; just like the West has the tendency of following rules of three and the East rules of five. So what forth music can I possibly pick from millions of other cathartic pieces in gaming than this? ”Salvation Closing”
Of course there are many other music pieces I could’ve picked and swapped here, and no doubt what you may pick easily could’ve fit into this perfectly. So I challenge you to this fellow @opgaming members:
What (gaming/non-gaming) cathartic music piece do you adore?
In fact, I impose more challenges unto ye: what makes it cathartic to you? How does it help the scenery be cathartic where it is found? Can this piece fit in any other game or is it unique to this game? Go and make some rattle in the comments below, and put your hearts to it, STARTLINE TO FINISH!