Here’s a Final Fantasy VI secret for all you gamers out there.
It turns out that if you fight Kefka on Christmas Eve, you get the soundtrack of the above Youtube clip as the special, seasonal boss music. How terrible were the baubles festooned on the Dantean grotesqueries of his first form, how gauche the tinsel that he wore like a feather boa. Tiny cherubs erupted from his demonic wings to sing this deranged battle hymn, and the special Santa hat worn by his angelic final form haunts my nightmares in places only sugar plum fairies dared to roam.
Not really – that was just a bad joke.
But this God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen does hold a special gaming memory for me. Last year I first heard the Australian cast of Miss Saigon perform this manic rendition of the traditional carol.
There I was, playing the surprisingly excellent PSP title Everybody’s Tennis, at my parents’ house waiting for Christmas to arrive as only that holiday could. Listening to Spirit of Christmas 1995, I was facing Rolf, fictional world champion and the Kefka of his particular athletic milieu. Not for the continued existence of a devastated world was I fighting for, but merely the morale of an apathetic population and the good name of the Happy Tennis Club. Yet our titanic struggle was as epic as any that determined the fate of a cosmos. For Rolf was the only equal that I knew, for with each confident downstroke I struck he responded with an equally assured wackback. Our match reached a feverish climax, the numbers on my little screen reading a frustrating 6-6. Just as I embarked on an epic final set that was to decide whether the champion of Everybody’s Tennis be a fictional or factual player God’s Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen erupted from my parents’ large speaker system and into my fragile skull. My older sister, present during the entire match and doing the sort of excited Advent dance that is better left undescribed, ran up to me and grabbed my knees, either to ruminate on how unexpectedly apocalyptic the song was, tell a bad joke or invite me to dance – it doesn’t matter an atom which. What matters is that I was thrown from my match, that Rolf went to bed that night an NPC champion, that Everybody’s Tennis still lies within its case on my desk a game unwon.
I don’t blame God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, the Australian Cast of Miss Saigon or even my erratic older sister. My finger of accusation is cast at the vicissitudes of fate, even though I’m not certain what they actually are, and inward, at my own human failure in the face of digital perfection. Perhaps one day Rolf may join Wart, Dark Force and even Kefka among the ranks of defeated video game bosses. Perhaps.
Anyway, please enjoy the song. I know I did, even as it brought forth spasms of regret.
One day reader… One day I will become the King of Tennis!!