A song that I always make sure is on my iPhone is “Liberi Fatali”, from the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack (FF8 OST). The song is a Latin choral piece composed by Nobuo Uematsu.
“Liberi Fatali” roughly translates as “Fated Children.” The theme is echoed through the story of the video game. Personally, I did not play the game until the release of the PlayStation 2, but I played through the opening 20 times to hear the opening song.
The song has personal relevance not related to video games. Back in 2000, a roommate of mine was running a Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) game and incorporated music into his tabletop gameplay. Whenever “Liberi Fatali” played it meant something bad was about to happen.
The group of people we played with had different work hours and weren’t available at the same time. So the game was run in multiple tiers and players played at all hours of the night. There were many occasions where I was woken up in the middle of the night to “Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec” blaring from downstairs. I would have to run down stairs and start rolling dice in a sleepy blur in an attempt to keep my friend’s D&D characters from dying.
To this day, I still have a Pavlovian reaction to the song if I didn’t actually play it myself. Several years after I had retired my dice and stopped playing D&D, my sister was playing the game on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) with the music turned up. I instinctively ran into the room before I realized what I was doing.
I was shell-shocked. My sister was startled and threw my PSP at me because I scarred her. I may have PTSD.
“Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec” are all made up words and have no English translation, though if you cared to know, “Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec” is an anagram for “Succession of Witches” with the word “Love” left over. I didn’t learn this until several years later when I finally looked up the lyrics. My understanding of Latin is about the same as a canine’s understanding of algebra. I originally thought the song started out like:
I still play it occasionally at work just because of the emotions it invokes. It always gets me pumped and ready for action. I also like to play it because it is a choral piece that many musicians and conductors I work with haven’t heard it. They must have been practicing while I put 80+ hours of gameplay into this game alone.
It gives me an excuse to talk about my love for video games and how they are sometimes genuine works of art, despite what Roger Ebert says. To be fair, he has apologized since his original post. It might have had something to do with the 4500+ comments on his blog.
In the fall of 1999, Final Fantasy VIII was released for the original Playstation. It was developed and published by Square (now Square Enix). The music was scored by Nobuo Uematsu. Thirteen weeks after its release, Final Fantasy VIII earned more than $50 million, making it the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title of all time until Final Fantasy XIII, a multi-platform release. The game shipped 8.15 million copies worldwide as of 2003.
The Playstation2 was released in 2000. The last original Playstation game was published in the fall of 2004.
Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy is a concert tour featuring music from the Final Fantasy has performed “Liberi Fatali” several times in the past. Its next performance is December 7, 2012 and features The Chicagoland Pops Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by GRAMMY Award winner Arnie Roth. Please see their website for details.
Keywords: Final Fantasy VIII, OST, FF8, Video, Game, music, soundtrack, Nobuo, Uematsu