VGM Wednesdays – “Close to Home” from Uncharted Waters: New Horizons

“Close to Home” from Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, by Yoko Kanno and released in 1994.

I covered this game in my podcast a few years ago and I penned as “one of the best scores you’ve never heard” because the game achieved so little success in North America and Europe.  In Asia, the Uncharted Waters franchise did okay – it wasn’s Mario or Dragon Quest, but it held its own.

The game takes place in 1522, the age of exploration, and the essence is really to build alliances and move six different episodes to their conclusion via the collection of precious goods (via trading or discovery) and the defeat of your enemies.  Unless you like games of accumulation or slow-building games, this game may not be for you.

The real gem of this game is that the score is composed by Yoko Kanno, of Cowboy Bebop and the Seatbelts acclaim.  Okay fine, she also scored the hugely popular Macross: Plus, Ghost in the Shell (Standalone Complex), Vision of Escaflowne and a whole slough of other enormous anime titles.

The tune that I selected from her is the ending of the game, when the ship finds its way back to the home port.  I feel so many emotions when I hear this: Peace, calm, regret, finality… There’s almost that sense like at the end of Lord of the Rings when the hobbits find their way back to the Shire, but they’re different.  Nothing has changed back home, yet everything has changed.

But there’s still a peace, though.  The journey is done.

But there are still elements of our hometown that haven’t changed as though the citizens hadn’t realized that there was even a problem.  They just went about their daily lives.

What do you think? Post your thoughts and let’s have a talk about it 🙂


PS: Speaking of LOTR, Annie Lennox’s “Into the West” is one of the few songs that make me tear up every single time I hear it… and I love it for that.  The ships have come to carry you home… ah, music 🙂

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