RPGamer Awards 2003 2003 Results  

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It is often said, to the point of being trite, that music plays as important a role in a game as any character. This year's winners prove that some of those hackneyed phrases still hold some weight. Below are five examples of notable music that helped to make these games as powerful and splendid as they are. There are several familiar faces this year along with a couple of relative new comers to the field. Now, on to the Readers Awards.

Xenosaga Episode I

Taking the aural crown this year is Namco's first installment of the Xenosaga. The use of the Yasunori Mitsuda's was noticeably less then is usual in a game; however the readers of this fair site were not dissuaded. The London Philharmonic Orchestra helped to bring Mitsuda's tracks to life, and provide a depth that is rarely seen in game music. The Celtic flair on songs like "Kokoro" gives the entire Xenosaga Episode I: Dur Willie zur Mach soundtrack a voice that is unmistakably Mitsuda.

Final Fantasy X-2

Final Fantasy X-2, the first direct sequel to a Final Fantasy scored well, landing it the number 2 position in readers' minds. Another first for the series was that Nobuo Uematsu, as much a fixture in the series as Chocobos and Cid, was not at the helm for the music this time out. Instead the collaboration of Noriko Matseuda and Takahito Eguchi , the same duo that worked on The Bouncer, penned this predominantly J-Pop score. While a departure from the typical fare, the music still has a broad range of emotions. The finishing touch really is the lead singer of sweetbox, Jade, lending her vocals to the two themes: the techno "real Emotion" and the ballad "1000 words".

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Nintendo has busted onto the readers' music chart for the first time this year with The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Longtime Nintendo composer Koji Kondo, who has created some of the most memorable melodies in video game history, takes another step in securing his place in history with this game. The orchestration includes many instruments from guitar and whistle, to the more traditional orchestra. The playful themes that seemed to compliment the cel-shaded graphics belied some deeper themes within the game. However the music was excellent in conveying moods from both the silly and serious.

Final Fantasy XI

The controversial jump to MMORPG for the latest installment of the Final Fantasy series has been proven sonically successful in Final Fantasy XI. A collaboration of three composers: Naosha Mizuta, Kumi Tanioka, and Nobuo Uematsu, worked on the music of Vana'diel. While Mizuta wrote the bulk of the music, Tanioka predominantly composed the female race's themes. These three pull off a delightful score that helps pull the player into varied world of Vana'diel.

Final Fantasy Origins

Rounding out the readers' poll for this year is a blast from the past from Nobuo Uematsu. Final Fantasy Origins, a collection of the first two Final Fantasy titles, got a revamp for the PlayStation release. Many of the themes that have been common through the entire series originated back when Mr. Uematsu was limited to the six channels provided in the Nintendo Sound Format. A testament to his creativity, these pieces have lasted 15 years and 4 systems. Origins gives players a chance to hear the themes expanded past the original limitations of the 8-bit Nintendo and hear the intent of the Final Fantasy composer.

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