Go ahead and watch for yourself. Director Yoshinori Kitase took an economical approach to crafting this wonderful, harrowing scene. There are no shots wasted. You have just enough time to stare at your screen in utter shock before the music starts up. Watch the way the camera closes in tightly on Aeris’s utter disbelief, on Sephiroth’s smug satisfaction. Listen to how the white materia clinks, slightly out of sync with the music’s rhythm, creating an uncomfortable dissonance that sticks with you for the next few hours, and weeks, and months, and years to come.
You didn’t cry when Sephiroth stabbed Aeris. You cried when you heard that song.
Jason Schreier of Kotaku on the importance of music in videogames.
One of the most critical elements of game design is the background music that goes along with the visuals. Don’t get me wrong; how a game looks can make or break immersion, and how it plays is still the best way to judge a game’s main purpose, which will always be how fun it is. But for the purposes of getting players in just the right mood you want them to be in at a particular point of the game, or evoking a specific emotion, or even influencing the game’s pacing, there’s perhaps no better way than by dropping a good beat, a catchy tune, or a flowing melody in the background.
After speaking of all that, I really want one of these: