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OverClocked Remix: The One-Stop Shop for Video Game Music
I once had a friend explain to me her theory on “heart music”. Basically, it’s the music you love and moves your heart. Often it might be because you grew up around the music or you might have discovered it during a pivotal time in your life. Heart music is the tune your heart beats to. For some, this is classical music; for some unfortunate souls, it’s country. For me, it’s video game music.
I don’t mean just any video game music; I don’t simply buy the soundtracks of my favorite games. I love video game remixes. I love hearing the 8-bit sounds I grew up with be remade into something new and exciting.
I love OverClocked Remix.
Otherwise known as OCRemix; the site launched on December 11, 1999 under the creation of David Lloyd. Going under the name of djpretzel, he started posting his own remixes of video game tunes and the submissions of others. The main website has gone through plenty of changes, from its library structure to color scheme, from the formation of a judge’s panel to doing full albums.
Since 1999, there have been more than two thousand remixes, of all different genres. The main focus of OCRemix is not to simply change or tweak a song, but to reinterpret it. There are classical mixes, metal, acoustic, electronic, hip-hop, jazz, punk and more. Many remixers add lyrics to their songs and bring a new meaning to the main source.
I first discovered the site in November 2002, after reading a short segment of the site in Electronic Gaming Monthly. At the time, I had just beaten and the mixes of “ Final Fantasy VITerra” won me over. I didn’t own an mp3 player so I burned three cds, with eighteen songs each, and listened to them non-stop. That started a life of listening to game mixes over other songs, often to the annoyance of friends and family. With thousands of remixes on my iTunes, it’s my go to music for almost any moment. In a huge way, it’s the soundtrack to my college experience, as I spent five years writing papers to the great work of hundreds of remixers.
The biggest selling point is that it’s all free. Every song, every album, is posted for non-profit listening. It costs just as much to download one song as it does the entire site. You can stream the songs or listen off their Youtube page, but for those, like me, who want the songs at the ready on their iPod, it’s a wonderful option to download.
The site has gained a large level of notoriety. When Capcom released Super Street Fighter II: Turbo HD Remix, they chose the artist of Overclocked Remix to handle the soundtrack. They’ve even received submissions from industry composers; such as David Wise, who created the soundtrack for the Super Nintendo Donkey Kong Country games. Not only that, but a few remixers have gone on to score video games; the artist known as Big Giant Circles worked on the music for . Mass Effect II
There are great songs on the site, but over the past few years, OCRemix has released a plethora of albums. Remixing every song on the original album, these projects are a full music buffet. Projects like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Threshold of a Dream and Pokemon: The Missingno Tracks capture and change the feel of a game, sometimes turning a simple Gameboy game into a rock opera. These projects can be five song LPs or four disc behemoths, but the site has a strong quality policy and you can bet that if they’ve posted it, it’s great music.
- ReMix: ICO 'Save Me (OCR Edit)' - OverClocked ReMix
- ReMix: Doom II: Hell on Earth 'Blood Bath' - OverClocked ReMix
- ReMix: Final Fantasy VII 'Every Story Begins with a Name' - OverClocked ReMix
- ReMix: Jade Empire 'Global Empire' - OverClocked ReMix
- ReMix: Age of Empires 'Realms of Africa' - OverClocked ReMix
- ReMix: Super Mario Bros. 3 'Pipes' - OverClocked ReMix
For those who are fans of video game music, remixes or just good music, this is the site for you. The community is friendly, the site is one of the most active I’ve seen and it won’t cost you a dime. I don’t know if punk rock renditions of “Ken Stage” or electronic mindwarps of “Brinstar” will do for you what it does for me, but the odds are in your favor that you’ll find something your ears enjoy. Check it out; let me know what you enjoyed in the comments below, and happy listening!