|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2012)|
|Web address||http://ocremix.org (RSS)|
|Type of site||Video game music tribute site|
|Registration||Optional (required for posting on the forums)|
|Owner||OverClocked ReMix, LLC|
|Created by||David W. Lloyd (djpretzel)|
|Launched||December 11, 1999|
OverClocked ReMix, also known as OC ReMix and OCR, is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and paying tribute to video game music through arranging and re-interpreting the songs with new technology and software, as well as by various traditional means. The primary focus of OC ReMix is its website which offers thousands of free fan-made video game music arrangements, information on game music and composers, resources for aspiring artists, and a community forum for video game music fans.
The webmaster of OverClocked ReMix is David W. Lloyd (a.k.a. djpretzel), who coined the word "ReMix" to refer to interpretive arrangements, as opposed to a remix which typically involves alterations to master recordings. Ambiguity regarding the term ReMix is unintentional, since the organization is dedicated to creative rearrangements of classic themes only, not to rearrangements involving changing minor details or plagiarizing the work of others.
Lloyd began the organization under the name of DJ Pretzel's OverClocked ReMix in December 1999 as a spin-off of OverClocked, his 3D webcomic about playing and emulating video games. The format was derived from Commodore 64 arrangement website C64Audio.com (then a host for many fan arrangements); Lloyd chose to expand the focus to all games regardless of game system. Originally coded in basic HTML and sporting an orange color scheme, the site underwent a conversion to a database-driven system in 2001, as well as visual redesigns in 2001 (blue), 2002 (purple) and its current design in 2004 (silver & orange). OC ReMix was located at the subdomain remix.overclocked.org before moving to www.ocremix.org in July 2003. Both domains were hosted for several years by ZTNet, with OCR eventually becoming self-funded and switching to dedicated hosting with LiquidWeb in late 2006. Lloyd registered OverClocked ReMix as a limited liability company in 2007.
Originally, music submissions were evaluated solely by David W. Lloyd. To better accommodate the volume of music submissions and improve selection consistency, a panel of judges, composed of accomplished artists and contributors to the community, was instituted in early 2002 to assist Lloyd in music selection. Earlier in 2002, a dispute over administrative decisions, including the proposal of a judges panel, caused artists virt, prozax, and mp to leave OCR to found VGMix, and they demanded that their ReMixes be removed, to which Lloyd agreed. Other artists who left asked that their works stay, although they would not submit future works. Subsequently, some who removed their ReMixes from the site requested to return, and the request was granted with the provision that they not remove their work from the site again. OC ReMix judge Larry Oji (a.k.a. Liontamer) became head submissions evaluator for the organization in June 2006, providing initial evaluation of all submissions and freeing up Lloyd's time to develop the site.
The site's first fan convention appearance was Otakon 2006 in Baltimore, Maryland. In April 2008, Lloyd and Oji joined Six Apart's Anil Dash, MetaFilter's Matt Haughey, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and FARK.com's Drew Curtis for a panel discussion on virtual communities at Internet meme convention, ROFLCon, co-sponsored by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
There have been more than 2,500 "ReMixes" hosted on the site submitted by more than 900 "ReMixers" from a variety of genres. ReMixes are available individually and through bundled BitTorrent distributions, and are searchable through a database of games, composers, companies, systems and ReMixers. ReMixes are released under a non-commercial, attribution-requiring content policy.
The site approves ReMixes based on standards and guidelines encouraging arrangement creativity and capable production quality. Throughout the years, more than 150 works have been removed after initially being admitted, generally due to stricter enforcement of the site's standards after the admission of the work. A common violation is a "MIDI rip", which involves obtaining a MIDI transcription of the source material, making minor modifications to it, and passing it off as one's own work. Other violations include stolen or unoriginal recordings, cover versions, arrangements which differ so far from the source material as to be unrecognizable, and obvious sub-par execution. The website currently hosts several digital albums which arrange entire game soundtracks, created through community collaboration, with new albums added periodically. The site also maintains a database of the skills of members of its community to encourage artist collaboration. Lloyd and other staff also conduct interviews with prolific ReMixers, video game music composers and celebrities about video game music creation.
OverClocked ReMix's discussion forums and IRC channel are where the majority of community interaction occurs. Areas of discussion include boards devoted to reviews, works in progress, projects, and competitions, as well as more general boards for discussion of topics less related to remixing.
Albums and other projects
In addition to hosting individual files, OC ReMix also publishes albums of entire game soundtracks, created as collaboration among groups of remixers.
The musicians of OverClocked ReMix were chosen to handle the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix soundtrack after Capcom U.S.A. associate producer Rey Jimenez heard the organization's 2006 Super Street Fighter II Turbo tribute album Blood on the Asphalt. Entitled OC ReMix: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack, the complete 66-track album was freely released at OverClocked ReMix. Along with several new arrangements, edited versions of Blood on the Asphalt tracks and prior remixes from the site comprise the soundtrack. The remixers arranged the music based on knowledge of the Street Fighter II series alone, as the music for the game was completed before the visuals and gameplay. OC ReMix founder David "djpretzel" Lloyd directed the soundtrack and served as the organization's contact with Capcom "to ensure that working with a large fan community was as close as possible for Capcom to working with a single composer".
Jimenez praised HD Remix's music as "above and beyond our expectations" and OC ReMix's efforts as "one of the most rewarding aspects of working on SF HD Remix". Capcom's Vice-President of Strategic Planning & Business Development, Christian Svensson, described the soundtrack as "impactful" after guests, to whom he showed a demo of the game, praised the remixed music before any other aspect of the demo. In its review of HD Remix, gaming & entertainment website IGN commended OC ReMix's work as "a great tribute to the original soundtrack". Other entities with favorable reviews of the soundtrack included Eurogamer, GameSpot, Official Xbox Magazine, GamesRadar, 1UP.com, as well as long-time game composer "The Fat Man" George Sanger, who referred to the Capcom-OC ReMix collaboration as "Game Audio 2.0".
OC ReMix has freely released official indie game soundtracks for titles including iOS game Trenches, the Xbox Live Arcade game Return All Robots!, and Missile Master, Episode 1: Invasion. In addition to its free albums, the site partnered with Capcom to release OC ReMix's first commercial album, For Everlasting Peace: 25 Years of Mega Man featuring licensed arrangements of various Mega Man soundtracks.
In addition to the albums and remixes, the OverClocked ReMix community has undertaken other projects in efforts to enhance or promote its main website. Some, such as an official Winamp skin, the OverClocked ReCollections download manager, the VGDJ podcast, and the VG Frequency news blog were abandoned after long periods of inactivity. Among the successful projects are Chipamp, a Winamp plugin bundle to make chiptunes and video game music sound formats more accessible, and OCR Radio, an endorsed fanmade internet radio stream of OC ReMixes that is a part of Rainwave.
The community has grown through word of mouth and mention of the website in several publications and on several websites. The most influential early coverage of the site came in a mid-2002 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. OC ReMix has since been covered in reports by sources such as G4techTV, PC Gamer magazine, 1UP.com, Game Informer magazine, Nintendo Power magazine, Ars Technica, Minnesota Public Radio, BBC Radio 1, Hyper magazine, and others.
According to a 2005 interview, the organization has never received negative feedback from a game composer or game publisher, and Lloyd stated, "Like all communities surrounding fan works, we're out, first and foremost, to honor that which we love, and I think the concept and goals have been well received all around."
Several video game industry professionals have praised the OC ReMixes of their compositions, including Alexander Brandon (Tyrian/Unreal Tournament/Deus Ex), Barry Leitch (Top Gear), Nicholas Varley (Syberia), and David Wise (Donkey Kong Country). OverClocked ReMix has also been praised for its work by several industry figures including Doom lead designer John Romero, Tommy Tallarico, "The Fat Man" George Sanger, and Jeremy Soule. Contra 4 associate producer Tomm Hulett stated he hoped the game's music, scored by Jake "virt" Kaufman, would be arranged for OC ReMix in the future.
In late 2002, the first OC ReMix by a veteran professional game composer was released, The 7th Guest "Fat Dance" by "The Fat Man" George Sanger. In early 2004, this was followed by the second ReMix of its kind, Final Fantasy VI "Squaresoft Variation" by Jeremy Soule, who dedicated the arrangement to both OC ReMix founder David W. Lloyd and Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu. In 2005, Sanger provided another ReMix performed alongside Team Fat colleagues and game composers, Dave Govett, Joe McDermott and K. Weston Phelan, entitled Wing Commander "Wing Theme Surf." Tommy Tallarico Studios' Earthworm Jim Anthology marked the first release of OC ReMixes on a commercial video game music album in late 2006. In October 2009, composer Alexander Brandon and ReMixer Jimmy "Big Giant Circles" Hinson collaborated to arrange a track Brandon composed for the game Deus Ex. In March 2010, OC ReMix released its Donkey Kong Country 2 ReMix album, Serious Monkey Business, featuring a closing track performed by the game's original composer, David Wise, alongside Grant Kirkhope and Robin Beanland, three composers with ties to Rare's Donkey Kong Country/Land franchise.
Several artists beginning as amateurs, many directly drawn to video game music arrangement by OC ReMix, have seen their interest in video game music catalyze into professional music opportunities, including Dain "Beatdrop" Olsen (Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2), Jillian "pixietricks" Aversa (Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword), Andrew "zircon" Aversa (Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge), Jimmy "Big Giant Circles" Hinson (Mass Effect 2) and Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy).
Beginning in 2008, at the invitation of Tommy Tallarico, OC ReMix promotional CDs have been given away as contest prizes at every performance of orchestral game music concert series, Video Games Live; OC ReMixes were played in the concert hall before the show at the June 29 and June 30, 2007 Kennedy Center performances in Washington, D.C.
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