Overclocked Remix

Most people consider video game music to be comprised of highly computerized repetitious harmonies lacking in the kind of depth that has made other music so popular. Most people think that it exists solely to fill a sensory void that otherwise exists in gaming. Enthusiasts will tell you something different. Like soundtracks to movies or television, game music sets the tone for a game, and when heard later, can evoke the same positive feelings experienced during a play.

The website Overclocked Remix features mp3 music selections taken from video games and rewritten, reorchestrated, and reperformed either using computers or live performance. These pieces come from the site’s staff and the community that it serves. The remixes range in musical style from contemporary dance genres to classical or folk music. Credit for the pieces is given to the remix artist and performers and the original musician from the source game.

Before being posted to the site, submissions must meet the approval of site creator David Lloyd or his staff of judges. According to the site’s documentation, very few submissions make it to publication. Though music on this site is inherently derivative by way of being remixed, the featured pieces are original rearrangements.

More than just Fan Fiction

The music featured on Overclocked Remix is reminiscent of the “fan art” that has been a part of artistic discourse for many hundreds of years. This first started when people made sculptures and paintings of figures from antiquity, figures not of their own creation. More recently, people have taken to drawing pictures, making films, writing stories, and or creating costumes based upon a preexisting piece of art or literature they identify with. In cases like this, the art has bled into the fan’s culture.

By necessity, remixed musical arrangements far overshadow “fan fiction” in terms of artistic complexity. It takes a trained and talented musician to execute this with the kind of skill and finesse that this site demands. Some of the musical selections featured on Overclocked Remix are impressive blends of classical or other music traditions with the source game music. Some pieces even take a different tone with a piece, refocusing it with great effect.

A Movement in Art

Video game music is growing in popularity. Performances range from bands performing their own remixes to the Orchestral Game Concerts of the 1990’s. More recent concerts commissioned by the game companies themselves, have allowed video game music to be fleshed out using styles ranging from Big Band to Classical. Many of these events perform to sold-out venues, proving the viability of this growing genre.

Like with most of the Internet, this website has allowed for the democratization of a particular discourse. While anyone can post music to a newsgroup or webpage, this site provides a context for discussion and enables its community to flourish by sharing their ideas and their art.

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