Though I’m not nearly as well versed in video game lore as emptynight, I do know quite a bit about games, and I know even more about music. And then there’s video game music. Often the entire tone of a game can depend upon the score. When you have industry giants such as Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, and any number of other renowned game composers, players come to expect a certain quality of music. And audiophiles tend to pay special attention to the score. So when people start to mess with classic tunes, things can get a bit… iffy, to say the least.
But with the right talent and the right idea, even the most famous and revered gaming song can be modified and still be impressive. Enter OverClocked ReMix (www.ocremix.org). The site contains a vast collection of albums and individual tracks from games ranging from Mario and Zelda to Power Rangers and Duck Tales (and no, that’s not a joke). And none of them are the original recordings. They’re all remixed by extremely talented musicians, though most people have probably never heard of djpretzel, who more or less runs the site, and does contribute his own remixes now and again. There are frequent contests on the forums as well as regular releases of remixes which have been evaluated by the site’s judges and deemed impressive enough to be added to the archive.
This idea may not rest well with everyone. Maybe you don’t want your One-Winged Angel contaminated by outside forces (though I personally consider the “Black Wing Metamorphosis” remix to be maybe even better than the original); that’s fine. Though I would strongly recommend checking out some of the tracks on the site – “Black Wing Metamorphosis” (remix of “One-Winged Angel” from Final Fantasy VII), “North Medley” (quite literally the most beautiful and emotional Final Fantasy VI medley in history), and “The 2-2 Blues” (a touching remix of the Mario Underwater theme, by none other than brentalfloss) — maybe you prefer your game scores unaltered. Fear not; there is still hope! Head over to http://umd.gamersymphony.org/ and check out some of the most impressive LIVE game music ever. The Gamer Symphony, unlike OCR, performs the songs more or less as they originally sounded; yes, there are changes to accommodate the fact that it’s an orchestra and not a computer, for example, but the results are very impressive nonetheless.
All in all, both of these sites are very worthwhile for music fans, gamers, or both. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of space on your hard drive and iPod — you’ll need it!