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Remixed music, remixed nostalgia

Published 1:55pm Sunday, July 7, 2013

Any gamer knows a game simply by its music.

Music sets the tone of a video game. It can make the game wondrous, inspire fear or evoke a vast feeling of relief once a victory tune is played. It’s an essential piece of a game’s development, and many gamers rabidly obsess over soundtracks and released songs.

That’s why so many people love video game music remixes, like the ones put out by OverClocked Remix, a not-for-profit collective of music remixes to pretty much any game you can think of by gaming fans from all over the world. OC Remix is a mainstay among gamers, as fans can submit their interpretations of famous toons like Mario’s theme and the Legend of Zelda. OC Remix occasionally gathers artists, including famous video game composers, to put out entire albums dedicated to reinterpreting a game’s soundtrack.

Yet more than 50 artists outdid themselves last week as OC Remix put out its largest CD to date with “Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin.”

To say I love this latest remix would be the same as saying I love pasta or I love chocolate. It’s a given, something that should be taken for granted. The latest OC Remix album is a joyous, inspired piece of music that almost didn’t make it onto the Internet.

OC Remix organizers had plans to release the album last year as part of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the group’s maintenance costs. They ran into a bit of copyright trouble last fall when lawyers from Square Enix contacted them about the album, shortly after OC Remix raised more than $100,000 on their Kickstarter campaign.

Luckily, Square Enix worked out an agreement with OC Remixers, allowing them to continue their not-for-profit project and release more than 70 songs as remixes of the entire “Final Fantasy 6” soundtrack.

Simply put, it’s beautiful. Gamers can easily get nostalgic over their favorite games, and the amount of hard work and love that went into the sweeping orchestrations of some of these songs is incredible. Game music works when it gets you emotionally invested in a game, and “Balance and Ruin” creates a large emotional impact regardless of whether you’ve played the game behind the music. Tunes like “A Fistful of Nickels,” a great Spaghetti Western reimagining of a dark character’s theme song, works on so many levels and there doesn’t seem to be a weak song in the group.

This is a triumph, a huge success, and it’s a welcome addition to video game music. You can check it out at ff6.ocremix.org.


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