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Offline Mirby

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Mirby's Articles
« on: February 04, 2010, 10:25:31 PM »
MUSIC 

  I'm sure we all know at least one famous track from a video game by heart. Whether it's the theme from Mario or the Final Fantasy victory jingle, these tracks can define a game, or even a game series. The hard work of various composers is what can create the mood for a game. A happy upbeat track, a mournful slow requiem, a slow creepy ambience, or even a driving rhythm; all these help set the feeling for an area in the game, and its thanks to the composers for this.
   
    Some famous composers are Nobuo Uematsu, of Final Fantasy fame; Yoko Shimomura, who composed the tracks for the Kingdom Hearts series and some from Super Mario RPG; Tommy Tallarico, an American who has had his music in many games; Koji Kondo, who has created the epic tracks behind the likes of Zelda and Mario; and Motoi Sakuraba, who has composed for games such as Tales of Phantasia and Golden Sun.  But there are other, lesser-known composers. A few examples of these are Yasunori Mitsuda, who composed the soundtracks for the Chrono games; Dave Wise, who created the great tracks in the Donkey Kong Country games; and Koichi Sugiyama, the composer for the Dragon Quest games.

    Along with these composers are ordinary people who "remix" video game music. One of the biggest sites for these "remixers" is OverClocked ReMix, located at ocremix.org. Founded by David W. Lloyd, also known as djpretzel in 2000, the site now boasts nearly 2000 remixes (more than that counting all tracks from their official albums) and features a large community of members and remixers. Some of the remixers have even had their music in video games, such as Dain Olsen, or Beatdrop, in DDR, and Andrew Aversa, or zircon, in Super Street Fighter II HD. OCR was even contracted to make the soundtrack for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix!

    Another such site is vgmix.com. While not as organized as OCR, it still boasts a ton of remixes. And some of OCR's remixers have tracks posted there. The Dwelling of Duels is also hosted at VGMix. You can find that at dod.vgmix.com. There is also a mirror for the older duels there too. There are some great tracks there too, in my humble opinion.

     Video game music is something that can reach out and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, the dark into the frightening, the bright into the happy. It is something that is a vital part of the game, and without it some parts of the game may be lost. Next time, part two of my video game music article, featuring an interview with one of OCR's own. Until then, game on!

[originally written August 29, 2008, modified February 4, 2010 for updated information]

Posted on: February 04, 2010, 22:07:05
   As we all know, music can affect people in more ways then simple words or sounds. Whether it's a lyrical masterpiece with words that you can directly relate to, or an instrumental piece with a driving rhythm that makes you want to move, music can reach down into our souls and speak to us. Video game music is even more emotional, because unlike normal songs that you'd hear on the radio, video game music can match specific scenes with a moody tune, or give a tropical feel to a game that takes place across a fictional Southern Pacific archipelago (if you know what game I'm talking about, have this. :cookie: ). And there are people who can take a tropical tune and remix it, to give it a mellow feel, like you're sipping a drink from a coconut shell, lounging on the beach watching the sun set over the aquatic horizon. One of these remixers is Chris Roman, known as Hemophiliac. While not as prolific on the main site, he has worked on five of OCR's 15 remixes, and also worked on their upcoming Donkey Kong Country 2 album, Serious Monkey Business, upping his ratio to six of 16. With that, he will have worked on the most albums of any remixer. I recently chatted with him, and here's the result of our interview.

Mirby: First off, what started your interest in video-game music, and remixing it?
Hemophiliac: As far as video game music interest goes... I recall being in my early teens and speaking to my cousin, saying, "I wish I could hear the music from Zelda played by a live orchestra." I always remember liking the music from games more then the stuff I'd hear on the radio. Later on in life when the p2p scene came about I discovered remixes on accident, and that path led me to finding OCR. As far as remixing it... through the site I met analoq, who ended up living around the corner from me. I got to see him work on a few things and see his projects. It seemed like something that I could try out, so I started doing that, and now I'm studying music in school and hoping to eventually make it my career.
M: That's cool. I actually agree with liking game music more than what the radio plays. Okay, any tracks you've done that you are more proud of or like more than the others?
H: Hmm... I'd have to say that the one coming on DKC2, the Lockjaw's Saga remix I feel the most proud of. I put a lot of time and effort into it.
M: Is that going to change after the next one you do?
H:  lol I have no idea. I've been working on a number of things right now. The track (called tetanus) is also kinda different for my style, so I'm proud I did something a bit different.
M: Well, if you can break out of your own style, and try something new, that's good. Pulling it off is even better. Are there any remixers you haven't collaborated with in the past that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
H: I dunno, I've worked with a lot of people. some have actually worked others have fallen through. It all just depends on the time, and the idea.
M: Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
H: I already have a "backlog" so to speak.
M: Well, ones that aren't in your backlog. Ones that you would like to do after you've finished the backlogged ones.
H:  I have no idea. lol I don't plan that far ahead when it comes to this stuff; it's not that important when it comes to the priorities of life.
M: No, not really, I suppose. Do you have a favorite track from a game?
H: No.
M: Do you have a favorite composer?
H: That's a vague question.
M: As in video game music composer. e.g. Nobuo Uematsu, Dave Wise, Tommy Tallarico, etc.
H: mmmk. In that case no. Just letting you know that was vague, or too broad.
M: I understand, that's why I made it more detailed. Lastly, do you enjoy remixing?
H: Absolutely.
M: Elaborate, if you will.
H: nothing to elaborate on.
M: Well, in that case... Thank you for your time. I found this informative.

You can find Hemophiliac's page on OCR here: Artist: Hemophiliac (Chris Roman). Stay tuned for future interviews! Until then, game on!
OH [parasitic bomb] IM USING LINK AND I ACCIDENTALLY FINAL SMASHED A CUCCO OH GOD HELP
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Offline Satoryu

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Re: Mirby's Articles | Music
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 10:50:16 PM »
Let's keep these and all future ones in one topic, okay?

What happens in Vegas stays on Youtube. I also stream on Twitch from time to time.

Offline Mirby

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 12:38:09 AM »
My bad.... actually, why didn't I think of this before?

Posted on: February 04, 2010, 01:53:01 PM
And now, an interview with one of RPM's own, Lucky Star! Copied directly from MSN, so yeah... Enjoy!

Talyn says:
 First off, what are some of your interests. Hobbies. Whatever.
Lucky Star says:
 Ahhhhh, let's see...drawing, reading, writing, browsing the internet, chatting with my friends, listening to weird music, playing video games, waxing philosophical, watching comedy shows, researching modern history and having blue hair.
Talyn says:
 You actually have blue hair?
Lucky Star says:
 Nope, hahah.
 But I plan on dyeing it soon.
Talyn says:
 Okay. No matter; I know someone who dyes her hair all sorts of colors.
 Any sitcoms you enjoy?
Lucky Star says:
 Hahah. x3
 Yep. I like Father Ted, Peep Show, Two and a Half Men, Scrubs, The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh, Fawlty Towers and The Big Bang Theory.
Talyn says:
 Some good shows in there (although Scrubs is horrible now)
 Any favorite games you like to play?
Lucky Star says:
 Yeah. D=
 Of course!
 I like most Mario games, most Sonic games, No More Heroes, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Dynamite Headdy, Lylat Wars (Star Fox 64 to non-Europeans), Klonoa, F-Zero, the Paper Mario series, Samurai Shodown 2, Gunstar Heroes, Time Crisis 2 and Disgaea 2, to name a few.
Talyn says:
 I know that! I'm a gamer, it's my job to know what games' names are in other regions
 Still, all good games
Lucky Star says:
 Hahah. x3
 Thank you~
Talyn says:
 What do you mean by weird music, by the way?
Lucky Star says:
 I like stuff that most people I know don't like or have never heard of.
Talyn says:
 Such as...
Lucky Star says:
 Flogging Molly.
 =3
Talyn says:
 They're cool,
Lucky Star says:
 You know them? xD Good to hear!
 Any other questions, so?
 =3
Talyn says:
 Lessee...
 Any favorite authors?
Lucky Star says:
 Ask me anything you like.
 Terry Pratchett.
Talyn says:
 I can ask you anything? What is the average air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Lucky Star says:
 I...I don't know that! *Flung into the pit of doom*
Talyn says:
 YES! You got it! Whew, that was a close one.
 Anyways, what do you use to draw? Pencils, pens, crayons, what?
Lucky Star says:
 Pencils. x3 And sometimes I ink, if I feel up for it.
 I usually just doodl and sketch in pencil and pen, though.
 *doodle
Talyn says:
 That's usually what I do. Doodle
Lucky Star says:
 Good. x3
Talyn says:
 It's great. I make scribbles, and then turn them into monsters.
 Well, thanks for the interview.
Lucky Star says:
 That's it? D=
 Awwwwww, I was enjoying that. x3
Talyn says:
 Then let's continue
 I'll edit this part out!
 Soo... Terry Pratchett. You like fantasy novels then?
Lucky Star says:
 Actually, no, not a lot! I like his books for the humour, mainly. He has a wonderful sense of humour.
 Very clever, very satirical.
Talyn says:
 That's always good to have in a book. I hate novels that are all serious. If they have jokes and believable characters and personalities, then I'm happy
Lucky Star says:
 Exactly. x3
 You can ask me more specific questions, if you like. I'm not easily offended. Don't be afraid to probe.
 And I'll try be as honest as I possibly can, hahah.
Talyn says:
 More specific, eh?
 Hmmm.... I'm a bit rusty on this whole interviewing thing
 What area of the world do you live in?
Lucky Star says:
 Ireland, that tiny little speck off the west coast of Britain, which is in turn off the west coast of Europe.
Talyn says:
 I know where Ireland is! Do you like the environment?
Lucky Star says:
 Do you mean the environment as in global warming and stuff?
Talyn says:
 No, I mean as in your local environment.
Lucky Star says:
 Oh, hahah.
 It's alright.
 Nothing special, really.
Talyn says:
 Same here. You live in the country, or closer to urbanized areas?
Lucky Star says:
 Suburbs. x3
Talyn says:
 Ah. Is there much pollution there, or is it relatively easy to breathe?
Lucky Star says:
 It's fine. =D
Talyn says:
 Is there anywhere you'd like to move to in the future?
Lucky Star says:
 No, not really. I think that would be too strange. x3
Talyn says:
 Do you mind if I get a little serious?
Lucky Star says:
 Nope.
 Go right ahead.
Talyn says:
 Okay. Here goes. What are your thoughts on transgenderism?
Lucky Star says:
 My best friend is a pre-op transsexual. I think it's wonderful that we have the technology, and I'm totally in support of the LBTG community.
Talyn says:
 Well, if you didn't know, I'm pre-op as well. So it's great to see, and talk to, people in support of this.
Lucky Star says:
 Good!
 =3
 Anything else?
 And I'm always around to talk, if you need to.
Talyn says:
 What are your views on gay marriage?
Lucky Star says:
 Totally in support of it. I think it's probably more passionate and realistic than most heterosexual marriages.
 In a lot of cases, anyway, due to the prejudice they no-doubt have to fight against.
 I admire people who can stick their middle finger up at the bigots and do what they know is right for them.
Talyn says:
 Personally, I don't get why the people against it think they have the right to choose what other people can and can't do
 And when the government passes laws to ban it (the main argument being the bible says its bad) their argument is automatically invalidated
Lucky Star says:
 Exactly. I also think Bible-bashing people are hypocrites.
Talyn says:
 I don't know about over there, but in America where most of the controversy is (and where I live) we have SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!
 Therefore no laws can be written of which the reason is related to a religion's teachings
 Yet they still write those laws.
Lucky Star says:
 Yeah...it's sad, really.
Talyn says:
 Well, America may seem like it's awesome, but we're not
 We're a nation of hypocrites, bigots, and contradictions
 And the people like me get trampled underfoot in the process of trying to make it
Lucky Star says:
 THANK YOU.
 I'm glad someone has the sense to realise that.
 I don't even live there, and I can't stand most of the people.
Talyn says:
 The people like me, who have gone through so much to be themselves, and matured emotionally faster than everyone else
 Are automatically treated like children who don't know what they're talking about
 I'm glad I'm transgender. It's given me the ability to see the world for what it really is
 In a way so-called "normal" people couldn't begin to comprehend
Lucky Star says:
 *Headdesk*

People need to get their heads out of their asses, stop and think that if their beloved Jesus saw what they were doing, he'd be pretty fricking ashamed.
 *Hug*
Talyn says:
 *smile*
 Now I have someone else to talk to other than Nodoka
Lucky Star says:
 Huzzah. x3
 I'm glad I have friends who aren't, well, "normal" like most people. It's made me question things a lot more, and I think I'm a better, more liberal person for it.
Talyn says:
 Normalcy is just whatever society dictates is right. Abnormalcy is what society sees as wrong
 It's about time we change this
Lucky Star says:
 Very, very good point.
 Honestly, if I was "normal", I'd go insane.
Talyn says:
 Methinks this interview turned into a conversation
Lucky Star says:
 Yeah, hahah. x3
 Oh well. Conversing is always good.
Talyn says:
 Conversating is good
Lucky Star says:
 But still, do you have any more question?
 *questions
Talyn says:
 No, not really, that's about it
OH [parasitic bomb] IM USING LINK AND I ACCIDENTALLY FINAL SMASHED A CUCCO OH GOD HELP
Just enjoy yourself, don't complain about everything

Offline Alice in Entropy

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 12:44:11 AM »
Fun interview was fun. =D

Offline Flame

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 07:54:48 AM »
I can do the FF Victory Jingle on my phone's keypad. :D
...When Larry the reploid accountant goes maverick of his own accord, he's certainly formidable during tax season, but he isn't going to provide X the challenge needed to make him grow as a warrior and reach his potential.

Offline Mirby

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2010, 12:43:35 AM »
Flame, Flame, Flame... Why?

And just to keep it up, RETRO ARTICLE ON STAR FORCE 3!


    The Mega Man Star Force series takes place approximately 200 years after the Battle Network games. The series stars 5th grader Geo Stelar (Subaru Hoshikawa in the japanese version), and his partner Omega-Xis (WarRock in Japan). Instead of jacking in like in the Battle Network games, you pulse into the wave world. As of the time of Star Force, the network evolved into a system of electromagnetic waves that control everythinf. Omega-Xis, or Mega for short, is a being made up of EM waves, and when Geo merges with him to pulse in, he becomes Megaman.

    As in the battle network games, you fight viruses. Battlechips are now battle cards, and no longer have letter codes. Instead, you can only choose two cards that are connecting on the custom screen, and any white cards that appear. The battles in Star Force are over-the-shoulder and you can only move left and right, unlike the side view and relative free-range in the Battle Network games. Lastly, there are the usual HPMemorys to collect, except now they've evolved into two forms: HPMem10 and HPMem20, which raise your max HP by 10 and 20 respectively. Now for the preview!

    Mega Man Star Force 3 takes place an unknown amount of time after the end of Star Force 2. Geo has saved the world once again, although he almost died in the process (that tends to happen in these games). He met a new rival, named Solo whose personality is most like Chaud from BN. Solo is the last member of the Mu civilization, and he has no one to merge with to become an EM being. Instead, he uses the powers of loneliness to pulse in. Well that changes in Star Force 3. First off though, Star Carriers are phased out and replaced with Hunter VGs. They even allow EM beings to phase into the real world as Wizards, similar to CopyBots from BN6. Food-lover Bud has Taurus, and musician Sonia Strumm has Lyra. And of course, Geo has Mega. New buds abound including braniac Zack, who has someone named Pedia, and Solo, who has one named Laplace.

    The story revolves around a giant meteor heading towards earth, entitled Meteor G. Now if you played the Battle Network games, you'd know that in BN4 a meteor was heading towards Earth, and inside was the justice-dealer Duo. Duo was going to wipe out all the evil on Earth, and thus end the human race. But Megaman.EXE showed him that everyone has evil in them, just as they have good. And the earth was saved, and Duo said he'd return. Whether or not Meteor G is Duo's return is unknown. Anyways, the meteor is causing mass amounts of Noise. The noise directly influences gameplay. Depending on the noise levels, Megaman may take on different forms based on bosses from the first Star Force and others. Currently revealed forms are Cygnus Noise, Gemini Noise, Ophiuchus Noise, Ox Noise, Libra Noise, Cancer Noise, Crown Noise, Virgo Noise, Wolf Noise, and Corvus Noise. Virgo and Corvus are new to the series, as no character with those names has appeared  in the games yet. Just so you know, Virgo is the Virgin and Corvus is the Crow.

    Also shown is what may be the ultimate form, known as Black Ace. Black Ace appears when the Noise level is at 200%. I don't know if there's an upper limit to Noise levels; there's a screen showing it at 315%. Lastly, the first boss is called Spade Magnets. As this is all I know, it is now massive screenie time, spoilerized to save space.
(click to show/hide)
(click to show/hide)
(click to show/hide)
Also, the trailer:


This game is shaping up nicely, and if you have any updates or questions, post them here. Next time, I'm gonna discuss video game music and share some of my favorite tracks. Until then, game on!

Sources: Official Site (in Japanese, though), References at the bottom of this page
*All pictures were taken from the official site. Better quality video on official site too.

[originally written on August 11, 2008; originally posted at Zelda Fan Game Central]


Posted on: February 05, 2010, 02:14:29 PM
Time for another interview with a remixer! Connor Pelkey, alias Cyril the Wolf, might not have been on OCR for that long compared to the other remixers on the site, but he knows his music. And he can growl quite well, living up to his name. The only track he has posted is a recent mix from Sonic '06, but he has several tracks on the Final Fantasy IV album, Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption. And he has stuff in the works too! Here is the interview I had with him a short time ago.

Mirby: What started your interest in video game music?
Cyril: I can't really settle on a story, but I suppose that the most true one is that way back in probably 2000.
M: Elaborate, if you can.
C: I finally got internet and went on "Antagonist" which was an AOL "teen" group for video games, and people posted MIDIs. The first midi I downloaded was FF9's battle music and then I just started to collect and listen to them. I'd been tooling around on a keyboard for a bit before that. So it was a natural progression to just listen to the music for the games.
M: What started your interest in remixing?
C: Not really sure. It was one of those things where I sorta fell into it.
M: Ah. One of those things.
C: When I started making MIDIs in about 2005 (I think) I joined VGMusic, and started doing little arrangments
M: hehe I go there a lot. Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of than the others? Or that you like more?
C: Yea, I would say so, I don't have too many "public" mixes on OCR, but I definately put more pride into my "realistic" remixes, like Emerald Beauty from FFIV and of course I am a big fan of my currently only posted mix. Absolution Comes in Dreams.
M: lol Nothing wrong with not being prolific.
C: Oh I am. I'm currently have at least 5 tracks lined up, and I have the Grand Robot Master Remix Competition.
M: Well the average new visitor to OCR probably wouldn't think so. But once they delved into the albums and stuff, they'd change their minds. And I heard a track from that yesterday.
C: Yea, that is true. But I don't exactly post things very often, even to the WIP boards.
M: Are there any remixers you haven't collaborated with in the past that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
C: Everyone?
M: Anyone in particular?
C: Ha, I knew you'd ask me that, umm... Yea, I'd def like to collab with Geoffery Taucer, and bLinD if ever possible, and probably zircon if he ever felt he had the time.
M: Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
C: I don't really plan ahead on that. Any track that I hear that I like I usually instantly get an idea for it. So, I don't really look ahead in that regard, becuase I have a huge queue already!
M: You're the second remixer I've interviewed, and the second to have a backlog! Hehe... Do you have a favorite track from a game?
C: Oh man... Yes, I do, I have a favorite track from every game that I play or come across. To be obscure I really like the song "Southerta" from Soul Blazer
M: I need to resume playing that... Obscurity is good; lesser-known tracks need all the love they can get.
C: Of course, I do like the normal things, like FF and stuff. Of course I am a HUGE fan of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.
M: That's because Mystic Quest has some of the most epic music ever
C: And I have something planned for the Doom Castle and Final Battle themes from that game; Something on the scale of Genesis of Destruction [from Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption].
M: Can't wait. Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
C: Actually, yes. I am an Uematsu fan to be perfectly honest, BUT... he is not my favorite. That spot would definately go to Ryuji Sasai who composed music for Treasure of the Rudras and the rock music from FFMQ
M: That's who made that music? Sweet. Always wondered.
C: Love that prog-rock style. Yea, the jazzier stuff was another composer, I forget who at the moment.
M: It just adds that much more urgency to the battles. Dangit! Now I want to play through MQ again!
C: Its true, and those basslines are great. He was a bass player in a prog rock band before doing VGM. It'd only take a couple hours ;)
M: I know. Lastly, what do you enjoy most about remixing video game music?
C: The fact that I improve with every mix. Each mix is its new challenge in arrangment, playing, mixing, mastering. Its great. Sometime when I am good enough, which will be soon by my reckoning, I will have an original album.
M: Well, it's as the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect."
C: That old saying is bunk, Practice makes better, even if perfection is the goal. Even on Enya's watermark album there are small errors. haha
M: Nothing is perfect, as perfection itself is an unattainable goal. But it's still something to strive for!
C: Exactly, but I'm a realist. :)
M: Thanks for this interview. I found it to be quite fun
C: Thanks Mirby. I'm a bit of a narcissist, so I had fun too. ;)
M: Heheh Nothing wrong with a little narcissism.
C: Its true.

You can find Cyril's page on OCR here: Artist: Cyril the Wolf (Connor Pelkey). Keep your eye on this page here for more articles and interviews! Until next time, game on!

Posted on: February 11, 2010, 01:03:09 PM
The world's fastest follow-up interview with someone else is here! Stevo Bortz, alias Level 99, may not need any Rare Candies to up his skills. He's been on three OCR albums already, and is gathering steam to appear on several more albums, and is the project director of the forthcoming NiGHTS remix album, Lucid Dreaming. So how did someone who is seemingly quite busy find time to be interviewed? Simple. I asked, he offered. Here's the result.

Mirby: What started your interest in video game music?
Level 99: I've been playing video games since I was around 5 years old.  I've been making music since I was around 10.  I never really got into that much video game music, or remixing, until I started college.  Some friends of mine in my dorm found some cool Chrono Trigger remixes on VGMix and OCReMix back in 2003, and as I gathered more remixes and soundtracks I thought I'd give it a try myself.
M: That leads into, and answers, my next question. So, I'll skip ahead.
L99: Alright.
M: Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of, or like more, than the others?
L99: Absolutely.  It's fair to say that, in every musician's life, there are points where exponential increases in musical skill and understanding take place.  As of now, I'm more proud of my work within the last 8 months than I really am of anything else I've done before that.  Some tracks I also do as favors for friends who run projects or want to collaborate, and unforunately some of those I may not identify with as much so the results may not have been as good.  The song I'm most proud of that's been released thus far is my track that I did for December 2009's DoD competition, which I collaborated with OA and Moonlapse on.  The songs I'm most proud of that I have in progress are one track for the NiGHTS project, called The Nemesis Schema, and a ska remix of a Kirby Super Star song.
M: Are there any remixers you haven't collaborated with in the past that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
L99: More than a handful, to be sure.  Off the top of my head would be: DragonAvenger, Sixto Sounds, bLiNd, and a whole slew of others.  There are so many talented musicians in this community that I end up doing way more collaborations than I do solo songs.  I think I only have five or six out of my current twenty-plus remixes that I'm doing by myself.
M: Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
L99: I have my list.  Most remixers keep a list of good songs they want to do, or ideas for styles to apply to songs.  I definitely want to remix some more songs from Katamari Damacy in the near future.
M: That is one of the most fun games I've ever played. Anyways, do you have a favorite track from a game?
L99: My favorite track from any video game would have to be the Staff Roll from Final Fantasy Tactics on PlayStation.  That is one of the few video game songs that, by music alone, can bring me to tears.
M: I need to resume playing that too! Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
L99: *insert obligatory line about liking Nobuo Uematsu*.  Heh, I do enjoy Nobuo but he's actually not my favorite.  I'd have to say that, keeping in line with liking FFT so much, Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata are my joint two-favorite composers.  If I had to pick one, I'd probably pick Sakimoto over Iwata, though.  It's a tough call.  I personally try to look more at the music itself as opposed to who authors it.
M: Wow, already at the end. Lastly, what do you enjoy most about remixing?
L99: I'll have to steal the position that my friend Shaun (Avaris) takes: there are two great things about this community.  The first is the music, the second is the people.  While I love doing music and I can't imagine life without doing it, it's the people I meet and get to work with that really make this hobby stellar.  Many of my best friends I've met through the remixing scene, and when we all meet up at places like MAGFest to hang out and jam...it's quite indescribable.
M: Well, I'll have to appear at MAGFest one of these days. Thank you for the interview. It was, well short and simple, but still enjoyable.

You can find Level 99's page on OCR here: Artist: Level 99 (Stevo Bortz). More interviews are sure to come, so keep your eyes peeled for other stuff! Until next time, game on!

Posted on: February 11, 2010, 01:45:40 PM
   Juan P. Medrano, alias Sixto Sounds, is a man who lives by his state's standard: Everything's bigger in Texas. His remixes are big on the rock, heavy on the guitar, and huge on the quality. Whether it's remixing a track from a classic Ninja Turtles game or from a recent entry in the Tales of series, he's doing it, and doing it well. Being a contributor to OCR for 5 years, half the time it's been around, he's built up a stable of 20+ tracks, including one to the Dwelling of Duels. I recently interviewed him, and this is what he had to say.

Mirby: What started your interest in video game music?
Sixto: Hmmm... well, as a kid i didn't play video games THAT much. I dabbled in a little Nintendo, little bit of Sega. But there were some games like Punch-Out!!, Afterburner, Sreet Fighter 2, [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV] Turtles in Time where the music just kind of stuck with me. In my head I could always here the music being played by a live band.
M: I was the same way (just different games).
S: Anyway, once I picked up guitar at around 11-12 years of age, I pretty much forgot about video games; wasn't till maybe 2004 that a friend shared some MP3s with me. Remixes from OCR; It was Prot's Brainsick Metal and djp's GerudoInterlude.
M: Two of my favorites! Nice!
S: Yeah, that really drew me into the site and that's when I started listening to the music of all these older games I used to love...
M: And that's what started your interest in remixing tracks yourself, I take it?
S: Yeah, exactly; I figured, why not?
M: Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of, or like more, than the others?
S: Let's see... Well, my favorite one might be my Super Hang-On remix "Burn, Baby, Burn." I think I like it the most because, well, I went in with the idea of making it sound a certain way...
M: Actually, I haven't heard that one. So I'm going to get it now. I actually have no idea how I missed it...
S: Hehe. I wanted to give it this 80s kind of feel. Not so much 80s metal or anything. Also, this was the first time I was able to get everything sounding just the way I wanted.
M: That's pretty cool! To continue, which do you prefer; solo tracks, or collaborations?
S: I prefer the solo stuff. To be honest, i've never really collaborated, per se... Except for one time, with zircon, on the FF7 project [Voices of the Lifestream].
M: Lunatic Moon?
S: Yeah. In that track, zircon and I wrote together. In all of my other collabs the music had pretty much been written out already.
M: Great track, one of my favorites. Especially with your 45 second or so guitar solo type thing.
S: I do wish I could re-do it; it's not one of my favorites.
M: Ah, well a true artist in never satisfied with their work, I suppose.
S: True that.
M: Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
S: Tons!
M: Such as?
S: Well, I've got about 23 project tracks i'm working on; stuff from Megaman X games, Final Fantasy 9, the Dragon Quest games... Lots of stuff. Plus, I'm going to be remixing another track from Turtles in Time, which is probably my favorite game soundtrack.
M: For the Boss Themes project?
S: Yeah.
M: And it is a fairly epic soundtrack.
S: That it is.
M: Fun game too, for that matter.
S: Definitely, even today. That re-shelled version is so great.
M: Re-shelled? Is that some sort of re-release for XBLA or something?
S: Yeah; a remake of the arcade game in 3D. It's really fun when you play online with 3 friends.
M: That it would be.
M: Do you have a favorite track from a game?
S: Hmmm... That's a tough one. It would be a toss up between Ken's Theme in Street Fighter 2 or Sewer Surfing from Turtles in Time.
M: Both of which you've remixed.
S: Right!
M: Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
S: I'd probably have to say Motoi Sakuraba. I love Nobuo [Uematsu]'s Final Fantasy stuff, but I dunno...
M: He's pretty cool. Tales games and Golden Sun, that's all that really needs to be said
S: I've always liked how Motoi writes; more of a modern style. Yeah, I love the Tales soundtracks and the Star Ocean's.
M: I always liked how there's a Sakuraba (and Sakuraba III) in Tales of Phantasia. One last question. What do you enjoy most about remixing?
S: Well... I like recording and mixing music. Period. I just love doing it. It feels like it's something that comes naturally to me. Remixing video game music, though... I guess I just love being part of such a big community, being able to make something that other people enjoy. I still haven't met any of these people as I've never been to MAGFest or a meetup, but I'd like to some day.
M: Well you're being interviewed by one right now. Thank you for your time. It has been an honor, Sixto.
S: Anytime.

You can find Sixto's page on OCR here: Artist: Sixto Sounds (Juan P. Medrano). I'll keep interviewing them as they come, so stay tuned. Until next time, game on!

Posted on: February 17, 2010, 05:39:31 PM
   Andrew Aversa, alias zircon, is one of the more prolific members of the remixing community. He currently has 25 remixes posted to OCR, composed the music for the XBox Live Arcade game Fittest, directed the massive Voices of the Lifestream project, contributed to three other albums, including the Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix soundtrack, and founded Impact Soundworks. With all this, how does he have time to do anything else? I'm not sure, but he took a few minutes out of his day to let me interview him.

M: What started your interest in video game music?
Z: My earliest memory where I was really excited about video game music is probably back when I was in middle school. At the time, I didn't own any consoles, but my parents let me rent an SNES over the weekend if I did my homework. I remember when we first went to the local video store, my mom picked out Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, knowing my interest in role-playing games (I did play D&D games on PC.) I distinctly recall hearing the boss music for the first time and just getting incredibly hyper. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
M: What started your interest in remixing?
Z: Toward the end of 2002 (high school), my nextdoor neighbor and longtime friend downloaded a copy of Cool Edit Pro, a basic audio editing application. We used it to create mashups of Linkin Park songs, if you can believe that, as we were big fans at the time. Anyway, for Christmas that year my friend asked for a copy of Cool Edit, but instead got a program called Magix Music Maker 7 deLuxe, a very simple loop-based music creation program, akin to ACID or Garageband. Around this same time, I had just discovered OC ReMix; my family had just gotten DSL and a friend of mine recommended I use my newfound bandwidth to download everything on OCReMix.org (which I began to do.) So, logically, the first thing I wanted to try in Music Maker was making a remix.
M: I presume that it worked out
Z: Well, our first collaborative effort would have gotten a form letter rejection today, but at the time we couldn't have been more excited to be actually producing music. Both of us had taken piano lessons for years, but it's a big leap from that to using loops, a MIDI keyboard, filters, distortion, etc. We really had a great time with it, and even after my friend went home, I kept working.
M: Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of or like more than the others?
Z: In terms of video game remixes, I'm pretty proud of all my work, but there are a handful that I think really stand out. One is Kindred, which I collaborated with my wife Jill (pixietricks) on as a gift to our friend bLiNd when he was in the hospital. Another is Ragol Weather, a mix from Phantasy Star Online which was a unique genre for me, but also turned out really well. There's also the Monstrous Turtles! crowdpleaser from Super Mario World - I think I could do better today, but it seems like most consider it as a classic, so on that level I'm proud.
M: I like it, partly because the name, partly because, well, great source material that wasn't lost in translation whatsoever.
Z: You know the story behind the mix name, right? It's actually a line from the Super Mario World manual that Liontamer found because I couldn't come up with a name myself.
M: I looked up the instruction booklet online, sure enough it was there. Just another example of how a line taken somewhat out of context is much better than in-context. Are there any remixers you haven't collaborated with in the past that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
Z: At the top of my list for future collab partners would have to be bLiNd and McVaffe, on some kind of electronic remix
M: Any others?
Z: Somehow, my business partner (impactsoundworks.com) Bustatunez and I haven't actually ever collaborated on anything, so that would be fun sometime too
M: Hehe... Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
Z: Way too much stuff to list individually, believe me! I've always wanted to go back and redo my early mixes from Phantasy Star IV, or even do a project based on that someday. Disgaea and Makai Kingdom from Nippon Ichi also have some great, under-appreciated music that I don't think anyone else has remixed yet. The funny thing is though, I don't usually plan my remixes in advance. When I try, they don't usually get completed, so most of what I release is just what happened to come to me at any given time.
M: That's what Cyril said. He also said he'd like to collab with you.
Z: We kind of already collaborated if you count the Mega Man 9/Mega Man & Bass mix I did which sampled some of his previous remixes. ;)
M: Cool. Do you have a favorite track from a game?
Z: It really is impossible for me to pick just one. There are way too many classics that resonate with me. If I had to pick the one that was MOST nostalgic, it would probably be Flowers Blooming In the Church from FF7. The melody itself is beautiful, but the way it's arranged in this particular track is timeless. It brings to mind all the fond memories I've had playing FF7 throughout my life.
M: Every time I get to disc 3, I restart... furthest I got was JENOVA Absolute... who owned me. Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
Z: Call me a fanboy, but Nobuo Uematsu all the way. I love the man.
M: Everybody Loves Nobuo
Z: Funny story about that, too...
M: Yes?
Z: I won an arrangement contest where I got free VIP tickets to meet Uematsu after a Distant Worlds concert, but literally everything that could have went wrong on that trip did.
M: Such as? If you don't mind sharing.
Z: First, we forgot to bring a camera and had to get a really crappy disposable one when we flew into the Chicago airport. Second, I left all my nice clothes behind - I thought I had packed them, but I didn't. Third, I intended to bring two copies of Voices of the Lifestream, the FF7 arrangement project I directed. I had one with me and someone from Squaresound (the guys running the contest) was supposed to bring the second copy, but he forgot it. So, I had to give my only copy of VotL to Uematsu, which is fine, but I would have died a happy man if I could have gotten him to sign a copy for me.
M: Wasn't Dirt Devil the track that won the contest?
Z: Yep. Still, it was an amazing concert and I got to shake the man's hand, so I guess it wasn't a total loss.
M: Good track. I really like the Magitek Factory theme; has a nice rhythm to it. Lastly, what do you enjoy most about remixing video game music?
Z: The community. With original music, to some extent you're just throwing stuff out into a void. You don't have that same audience of millions of people who have played Super Mario World or Super Metroid. Ultimately, what most musicians want to do is make an impact with their music and to affect people in some way. I've gotten countless emails and messages from people who have said my remixes do that for them. On top of that, there's this great, friendly community of people actually *making* the remixes, but I don't need to tell you about that.
M: Hehe. Thanks for the interview. It was fun and informative.
Z: No prob, let me know if you need anything else.

You can find zircon's page on OCR here: Artist: zircon (Andrew Aversa). I'm just getting started on these interviews! Until next time, game on!

Posted on: February 25, 2010, 02:35:32 PM
   Liz Ryerson, alias ella guro, formerly Adhesive_Boy, has been out of the remixing scene for a while. But she's making a comeback. Although she only has six mixes posted, and worked on three albums, she still took time out to be interviewed.

Mirby: What started your interest in video game music?
ella guro: I don't think anything in particular sparked my interest. I just always liked the music in the games...it was like part of the experience of enjoying the game, and the better or more melodic music usually made the experience playing the game more memorable to me. But I also just liked the tunes; I used to make up fake lyrics and sing along to the songs while I was playing.
M: Me too!
eg: Yeah... haha... But nothing in particular started my interest, that I can remember
M: What started your interest in remixing?
eg: In middle school, I used to make levels for Wolfenstein 3D, the ancient PC game. And so I had a mod that I was making, and you could import your midis that you made into the game...so I started making MIDI rearrangements of wolfenstein tunes, and my own original tunes. Then in 2002, I found OCR through John Romero's website and I was like "UGH not another game MIDI site." And then I clicked on it and then I started wanting to mix pretty soon after, and even though I thought there was no way I could do something as good or professional sounding as what was on the site, I figured it was worth a shot. So I started doing stuff with MODplug in 2002. Also some mixes on OCR inspired me - mazedude's mixes, for example, and Gux's "darkworld jazz" which was my favorite track back then.
M: Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of or like more than the others?
eg: Yeah, my most current 3 mixes on OCR. The DKC mix, the Kirby one, and the Earthbound one. I did them in highschool, and I'm pretty proud of how they all turned out. I think the DKC one is where I really learned to make a really complete, solid arrangement of something. And I think with all three I was being pretty ambitious and I pulled it off, mostly. There are certainly some things that didn't work out in those, but I'm still pretty proud of what I did.
M: Are there any remixers that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
eg: I'm trying to get some kind of collaboration going with Nase, because I like his stuff a lot. I've nearly done a collab with Shnabubula a few times, hopefully we can actually do something one of these days. I'm certain there are more...I'd always like to collaborate with Mazedude, but I don't think he does collaborations.
M: Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
eg: Oh god, yeah. I have a massive list. I think I might just mix whatever strikes me at a particular moment...though at the top of my list is "Aquarius" from Castlevania 3, another track from Treasure Hunter G, possibly the field music from 7th Saga or another Kirby track, but there are many, many others. Also maybe something from Secret of Mana.
M: Do you have a favorite track from a game?
eg: I have many favorites, but I'll name a few. The "Snowman" theme from Earthbound/the Mother series [Snowman is from Earthbound Zero - M](which I mixed), the Staff Roll/Protoman theme from Mega Man 3, "Wind Scene" from Chrono Trigger...there are many others, but those spring to mind.
M: Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
eg: I don't think I have one who's an unequivocal favorite. But Hiroki Kikuta (from the Secret of Mana games) is up there. Hip Tanaka, just based on his work on Metroid, Earthbound, and Super Mario Land. Tim Follin always brings it. Also I like "John Pee", a guy who composed for the game Treasure Hunter G.
M: Lastly, what do you enjoy most about remixing video game music?
eg: It's an excuse to be creative...relive my experience playing games in a way that's meaningful and fun; creating something that evokes a particular atmosphere or feeling. I like doing abstract things like that, because it gives me more room to surprise myself, and it also makes the music stand out on its own, as its own thing separate from just something that came out of my head. And also create its own little world like each piece is a tiny universe in itself with its own laws. Haha.
M: Well, thanks for the interview. It was great.
eg: No problem! Thanks for interviewing me!

You can find her page on OCR here: Artist: Adhesive_Boy. Do not fear, more is to come in the coming days. Until then, game on!

Posted on: February 25, 2010, 04:05:15 PM
Andreas Kotsamanidis, alias SnappleMan, may have a ridiculously long name, but he can rock out like no other! Although he may not be that active on OCR, he has many other tracks in other locations. He even recently released a remix of the Contra 4 soundtrack, entitled Rocked 'n' Loaded! I recently talked to him, and this is what he had to say.

Mirby: What started your interest in video game music?
Snappleman: Video games! Or more specifically, Konami games on the NES. I came over to the USA in 1989 and up till then I was living in a communist country and was exposed to very little western music. So as soon as I got here I went wild with inspiration.
M: What started your interest in remixing?
S: I was always a musical kid, and one Christmas my parents got me a keyboard and my brother an electronic drumkit. From then on all I wanted to do was learn and play video game tunes. It wasn't till the late 90s that I actually started arranging music.
M: Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of or like more than the others?
S: That's a tough one. Everything I end up releasing online is always more of an experiment than anything else. Most of the songs I arrange and record are sitting on some hard drive unreleased and probably never will be. The only songs I release are the ones I'm not sure about and need to get opinions and critique on. But my recent CD release Rocked 'n' Loaded would be what I'm most proud of. It's the first batch of remixes that I consider to be "done".
M: Are there any remixers that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
S: I'd like to say no, because currently I've worked with everyone I've wanted to to work with, but you never know how people evolve as musicians and you don't know which new people will show up. Everyone has something unique to offer musically, but I've found that it takes two or three collaborations with that person to get them comfortable enough to truly get every idea they want out. I have a very loud, pushy and direct personality so that may be the reason. Currently though, I've become a fan of forming a small team of 2-4 people and just working on a bunch of songs together. But now that I think about it, I still haven't worked with a vocalist... so yes, the remixer I want to collaborate with in the future is Zyko.
M: Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
S: The Revenge of Shinobi soundtrack, some stuff from Etrian Odyssey 3, and some of Yuzo Koshiro's tracks from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.
M: Ah yes... Portrait of Ruin. Phenomenal soundtrack, and if I might say, you do remix Castlevania tracks quite awesomely.
S: Many thanks!
M: No prob! Do you have a favorite track from a game?
S: Well, that changes hour to hour, but for now, I'd say my favourite track would be the main theme from Super Metroid.
M: Hehe... Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
S: Yuzo Koshiro, Shinji Hosoe, Hip Tanaka; all tied.
M: All good ones too! One last question. What do you enjoy most about remixing?
S: The best part for me has always been breaking down the music and getting more of an idea of how it was written. You can always tell that the songs are originally written as long elaborate pieces and then the real work is when the composers and sound teams try to break that down to the essential elements of the theme to come up with the resulting 35 second loops for the game. It's very fun to try and guess where the cuts were made and what was cut out! Also, it's a great way for me to relive memories of playing the games themselves and also learning about writing catchy music in the process.
M: Good answer. Thanks for your time!
S: Thank you!

You can find his page on OCR here: Artist: SnappleMan (Andreas Kotsamanidis). I'll keep trying to interview people, so stay tuned! Until then, game on!
OH [parasitic bomb] IM USING LINK AND I ACCIDENTALLY FINAL SMASHED A CUCCO OH GOD HELP
Just enjoy yourself, don't complain about everything

Offline Black Mage J

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2010, 12:53:57 AM »
Your articles seem so interesting.
I would like to read them, they see very well done.

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2010, 12:55:35 AM »
Well, this is all of them sooo... enjoy!

You can read them in a more user-friendly (read: not a wall of text) format here: Taylor Brown's Page on 1up.com
OH [parasitic bomb] IM USING LINK AND I ACCIDENTALLY FINAL SMASHED A CUCCO OH GOD HELP
Just enjoy yourself, don't complain about everything

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2010, 01:11:46 AM »
You have a nice avatar there, I will use that page to read it.
Thank you very much.

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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 08:42:43 AM »
 David W. Lloyd, alias djpretzel... hmmm... what can I say about him? He's the founder of OverClocked ReMix, which means he's busy almost all the time. He oversees all submissions to the site. He helped compose the music for Kaleidoscope, on XBox Live Arcade. 71 of the remixes on the site are his. He... I'm sorry, this is hard for me. The fangirl in me is trying to run rampant. I mean, I interviewed djpretzel! Ahem.... shoving that down for a second here... Somehow djp managed to find time from his busy schedule to let me interview him. This is the result of that interview. (EEEEEEEE!)

Mirby: What started your interest in video game music?
djpretzel: Well, I was already interested in both video games AND music, so it wasn't an epiphany or revelation, just a natural extension of combining two different loves into a single interest. I remember playing "Smurfs" on Colecovision or "Spy Hunter" on C64 and getting those themes stuck in my head, humming them for the rest of the day. Part of it may simply have been how BAD I was at certain games, and how many times I thus had to hear the same music over and over. When I got a Sega Master System, that was the first game console that was MINE instead of the family's (I have two older sisters), and that was really the system where themes like OutRun and Space Harrier and Shinobi got me hooked on VGM.
M: Classic tunes.
djp: Absolutely - they were all actually arcade themes, just conversions, except for Alex Kidd and Phantasy Star.
M: What started your interest in remixing?
djp: Now, as a far as remixing/arranging goes, I come from a musical family. Interestingly enough, neither of my parents are particularly musical or play instruments, but my sisters and I were all in high school band, marching band, etc., and we listened to a lot of different music on family trips.
M: I know another David like that...
djp: My sister Emily got a Yamaha PSR home keyboard - I forget the model, but it was actually really cool because it was one of the few that actually let you program your own sounds in a limited version of FM synthesis. She never used that feature, but later on I got into it. She wrote some original stuff, mostly cheesy synth pop since that was all the rage at the time, and I tried to as well. I got more and more into synthesis and electronic music because of this FM programming feature on this PSR - I was fascinated, crappy as it was, that I could actually design my own sounds. Back then eBay didn't even exist, I think, but I started looking in the classifieds for people selling used music gear, synths in particular. I bought a Casio CZ-101 from some dude in Maryland - my parents had to drive me to pick it up - and that made sound design a lot more fun since there were more options.
M: Sweet!
djp: It didn't have a sequencer, and I didn't have a computer, so I needed a way to actually record compositions as MIDI (all my original stuff at this point in time). So I checked the classifieds again and found someone selling an Alesis MMT-8. This is a hardware sequencer - a type of device that doesn't even really exist anymore, completely replaced by computers or onboard sequencers. It does nothing other than record MIDI, and play it back.
M: I figured as much.
djp: As I later learned, it also had the bad habit of erasing ALL of its storage if the power spiked.
M: That's not good... hehe...
djp: Anyways, I mention this because the dude I bought the MMT-8 from, we sat down and talked a bit, and he mentioned he was moving and that's why he was selling it. Then he asked me if I'd be interested in taking his collection of Keyboard magazine off his hands - for free.
M: I smell something a little shady about this...
djp: I played it off casually and said sure, why not, but I was actually really psyched, and for the next couple years I read through all those issues - he had stuff from 1986 through 1993, including old interviews w/ Jan Hammer and Keith Emerson and all sorts of gear reviews. Nah it was completely legit, the guy changed my life by giving me those old magazines, because it got me addicted to synths and music technology in general.
M: Well, I suppose it might be thanks to him we have OCR now, right? Or at least a little bit...
djp: I read those things front to cover, which really gave me an appreciation of where music tech started, and how far it had come. Of course, it's come twice as far in the time since then, but having that history & appreciation means you don't take things for granted.
M: Of course not.
djp: Software like Kontakt 4 or Cubase 5 would have been $4000 easily, if you could even come close to matching those features, way back then.
M: Which is a whole lot more these days...
djp: So yeah, I think this guy who gave me hundreds of issues of Keyboard magazine for free, he played some role in the eventual creation of OCR :)
M: Somewhere in your subconscious he lurked...
djp: Anyhow, eventually I got a Roland U20, which let me do compositions that started sounding more like actual music, and also an Alesis Datadisk - this device, also now obsolete, was designed specifically to recording incoming MIDI to floppy disks, and then also playing it back. This is all before I had done a single game remix, but I was certainly playing games at the time... this was still the 16-bit era, so I would have been playing Revenge of Shinobi and Phantasy II & III, most likely.
M: Good era.
djp: Anyhow, when each of my sisters turned 16, they got cars. Not superfly fancy cars, but a set of wheels nonetheless, which to a teenager is supposedly the ultimate freedom. I'm not knocking cars by a longshot, but when my turn came around, I decided to delay getting a car so I could get a sampler/workstation instead. That's when I got my Ensoniq ASR-10.
M: Sounds fancy.
djp: Thing had programmable effects, loaded the OS off floppy, and an LED readout that looked like a Speak & Spell, but man did I love it. And it was really a pretty decent bit of kit - I'd done my research well. I upgraded it to a *whopping* 16MB of memory and attached a 2X SCSI CD-ROM drive and I was on my way!
M: If you don't mind me asking, did you do early remixes on that thing?
djp: Around the same time I was also getting really involved in the emulation scene - retrogames.com, mame.net, that whole community was a lot more cohesive back then. Nowadays there's not as much of a scene, since the nostalgia factor has sorta given way to outright piracy masquerading as homebrew, and other issues. I'm getting there :)
M: My bad.
djp: Anyways I was a news poster at retrogames.com and was doing my own little emulation-themed comic strip called "OverClocked", which poked fun at the emulation scene. Believe it or not, there was a lot to poke fun at, although it was also just an excuse for me to get better at Photoshop and 3D Studio MAX (I can't draw - comic strip was all 3D).
M: Don't feel bad; I can't really draw either.
djp: Around that time retrogames.com was covering news about the occassional Commodore 64 remix, and indeed there was at that time something of a scene for those doing primarily electronica arrangements of C64 music. I loved that idea, but I wanted it to be all games, from all systems, in all styles of music.
M: A noble plan.
djp: So I sat down and started doing VGM arrangements on my ASR-10, in my parents basement. I did Phantasy Star III and Shinobi, in two different styles, and decided to start a side project to my comic strip, and call it "OverClocked ReMix" where I would post my own game mixes as well as others'.
M: Including a really strange Bubble Bobble one.
djp: Indeed :)
M: And from there, the site grew and expanded into what we know today, right?
djp: That's the long version of that story, but essentially a series of events combined to get me interested in electronic music and emulation/retrogaming, and those two interests coalesced when I started this side project. Which, yeah, eventually grew much bigger and became my primary focus.
M: And it's a great community, if I do say so myself.
djp: Thanks.
M: Hey, it's the truth. After all, OCR gave birth to VGMix, and from there, Dwelling of Duels... Or something like that, right?
djp: Hmm, I have no idea how DoD came to be, but OCR certainly predates both of them.
M: Well I figured since DoD is hosted on VGMix... And I thought I read that VGMix was born out of some discontent members from OCR...
djp: It wasn't always hosted there, AFAIK, but like I said, OCR was certainly first.
M: I know this. 2000, and it's been a great 10 years since...
djp: There are a couple versions of that story, but that's certainly one way to put it. It's been a busy 10 years, that's for sure, and we've been online & growing for all ten of them.
M: 2000+ remixes, 17 albums, hundreds of members... And an inspiration to many, myself included.
djp: Glad to hear it.
M: Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of or like more than the others?
djp: Sure, I think Sonic 'Love Hurts' is a mix that's stood the test of time, and Zelda 64 'Pachelbel's Ganon' as well... those were both made on my Yamaha Motif, which is what I replaced the ASR-10 with.
M: Are there any remixers that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
djp: I definitely wanna do something w/ Sixto, and I've already got an arrangement in mind that would be perfect for katethegreat19 to sing on.
M: Well I'll let him know, since I'm his unofficial secretary now...
djp: Heh, he already knows - shooting for a style similar to 80s rock band The Cars.
M: Sadly enough, I know who they are, and I can't wait.
djp: Hey, great band :) Actually Trent Reznor mentioned in a Keyboard interview a long time ago that they were an influence for him, the way they blended synths & guitars.
M: Hey, those free magazines just came in handy!
djp: Yup.
M: Anywho.... Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
djp: Yeah, I've got several WIPs at various stages.
M: I assume you have a backlog of other tracks too?
djp: First out of the gate is probably gonna be a ReMix from the PSP game Crush. Really awesome puzzler.
M: Sweet!
djp: Besides the stuff I already have WIPs for, I also have some project obligations for Dragon Warrior, Mega Man X, and FF9, so I'm keeping busy.
M: You're always busy.
djp: Very true.
M: Do you have a favorite track from a game?
djp: Not really... I mean, I get asked that a lot, and music is really apples and oranges, I find it hard to rank overall soundtracks, much less individual songs.
M: In that case, are there any particular tracks that stand out in your mind moreso than others?
djp: "Small Two of Pieces" from Xenogears is what I sometimes say, just so I'm not copping out.
M: I don't qualify that as copping out; I qualify that as not having a favorite because you may or may not like it all equally, or are smart enought to not play favorites. Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
djp: I don't think in terms of games as much as I do individual songs... if trying to come up with my favorite game composer, I'd go by the number of songs I absolutely love and that I think work perfectly in the context as well. At the moment, using those criteria, I'd probably say Koji Kondo, but it could be [Nobuo] Uematsu, [Yasunori] Mitsuda, or [Yuzo] Koshiro depending on the mood I'm in.
M: That actually describes how I feel at times regarding this... Final question. What do you enjoy most about remixing?
djp: I'm very melody-centric, so I choose my source material and my overall approach with a focus on that. I think the best part of ReMixing is finding that one note, or passage, when if you change an interval or add a counter-harmony or modify the rhythm, it just makes sense and feels natural. Sometimes, when arranging music, you can end up fighting against a source or struggling with it to take it where you go, which is not the worst thing in the world, but it's much more enjoyable when things click and fall into place and you can get the ideas in your head turned into music that mirrors them.
M: I have the ideas; I just can never transfer them properly...
djp: Yeah I think that happens to even the best arrangers/composers... Until we get neural brain hookups that can seamlessly translate thought into sound, we're stuck with making music the hard way. But the hard way is often pretty fun, as it turns out.
M: I know; I've made one track myself. It sucks, but the fact I actually went through and made it... That is enough to keep me satisfied
djp: Groovy. Got what you needed? I gotta run.
M: Yeah. Thanks for your time!
djp: No problem.

You could find his page on OCR here: Artist: djpretzel (David W. Lloyd), or you could just go to OverClocked ReMix and check out the wonderful community he has founded. This was tough for me to do; tuning out the fangirl EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE is difficult, but I managed to do it for the most part. Stay tuned next time for a review of Rocked 'n Loaded. I should get it sometime next week, so patience is key, people! Until then, game on!

I recently realized I stole that from Joe Santulli, former writer of Collector's Closet in Tips & Tricks... if you see this, Joe, I hope you don't mind!

Posted on: April 11, 2010, 11:19:59 AM
Before I get Rocked 'n Loaded, here's an old interview I once did, with a new preface thing.
[NOTE: This interview was conducted via e-mail on September 12, 2006. As of that date, Clevinger had only completed 742 episodes of 8-Bit Theater. At that point in the story, the Light Warriors were in the Sunken Shrine, trying to prevent the revival of Jnn'efur. In current time, the storyline has basically wrapped up. Please enjoy this view of the past.]

Mirby: What gave you the idea to make "8-Bit Theatre?"
Brian Clevinger: I was attending the University of Florida at the time and managed to get myself in a class where all I had to do was produce a comic and analyze it.  This would have been a great idea were it not for the fact that I can't draw.
So I used images from the original Final Fantasy video game for the NES to act as stand-ins.  That way the reader, my professor, would know when different characters were talking.  I put the comics online because he was awful about e-mail.  Also it made it easier for my friends to read them.  Somewhere along the line many thousands of other people found it.
M: How did you come up with the personalities for the characters?
BC: The main characters are stereotypical archetypes found in most fantasy literature.  You've got the dark wizard, the cunning thief, the ox of a fighter, and the jack of all trades.  The problem is that each of them is taken to a pathological extreme.  What we end up with is a group of characters on a quest to save the world who are better equipped to destroy it.
M: How much time does it take to make a typical episode of "8-Bit Theatre?"
BC: It usually takes between three and five hours to make each page.  It also takes a couple hours to hammer out a good script.
M: Any inspiration for "8-Bit Theatre?"
BC: A theme that almost every character runs head first into is incompetence.  Most often it's their own incompetence, but there are also those rare moments where they are punished for the incompetence of someone else entirely.  I think this means that I think everyone in the world is stupid, especially me.
M: Any advice for aspiring sprite comic creators?
BC: If you want to do a sprite comic, it would be best to use it as practice.  It's a good way to get a feel for the mechanics of how a comic page or comic script works in terms of layout, flow, timing, and dialogue.  But if you're serious about working in comics, you owe it to yourself to stop using sprites as early as you can.

Posted on: April 11, 2010, 02:15:45 PM
Contra 4: Rocked 'n' Loaded Review Written Whilst Listening

1. Hell's Orifice (Intro) - SnappleMan, norg    0:58
     norg does a good job of recording the lines. SnappleMan creates an intense ambience in the background. Helicopter at the end!
2. Jungle Exploder (Jungle Normal) - SnappleMan     4:43
     The first true track shows that the name of the album, unlike the cake, is not a lie. Shreddage all around in this track; Snapple keeps faithful to his rockin' style, and converts this track perfectly to that. Nice solo-thing at 2:23 or so. Fast-paced, much like the game's action. And it ends as quickly as it began. Next stage... I mean track...
3. Shrapnel Facial (Lab/Waterfall) - SnappleMan, Prince of Darkness, Prozax     6:53
     Slow to start, yet it retains all the intensity of the previous track. Gets intense at 1:29. Guitar comes in at 1:44; sweet. More guitar at 2:13. Snapple does great work with the keyboards in this song. 4:23 brings in more epicity. Nice rhythm at 4:42 or so. Listening to this track, and this album, at anything other than max volume, is a crime. Calms down at 5:30 or so, and builds back up at 5:51 or so. The final build-up becomes noticeable at 6:03 or so. Nice echo to the end at 6:49.
4. BRICKWALLER (Base) - Prince of Darkness     5:19
     Ah yes, one of the two free tracks available on the website for this. Pud does a great job of keeping an intense, metal feel for this. OH NO! DANGER at 1:34 or so. Nice bass at 2:04 or so. Gets even cooler at 3:03 or so. I'd work at a base if this track played in the background. Climax begins at 3:45 or so. And it keeps building after that somehow! It's hyperclimactic! Especially at 4:30 or so. Returns to basic rhythm at 4:48 or so. Silence at 5:06 to end.
5. Slave FREIGHTER (Harbor) - BrainCells     4:35
     Cool rhythm and guitars come in at 0:13. Nice guitar at 1:10 or so. My brain cells are messing with me now; this is too epic. This album may cause epicity overload! Silence at 2:20 or so, then slowly builds back up. Bit by bit, the track builds and builds until 3:09 or so when the intensity spikes sharply. The spectrogram goes nuts at 3:28 or so on. Main rhythm returns at 3:53 or so; more epic guitar at 4:03 or so. Ends at 4:25 or so, silence to end.
6. Bass Fishing  (Ocean) - SnappleMan, BrainCells, Prince of Darkness     5:18
     I think they might be a little busy trying not to die to go fishing... Great guitar at 0:23. Pud provides great bass in this; appropriate given the name, I suppose. Even if the tendonitis mentioned in the booklet happened, it was worth it to provide this sexy track. Guitar awesomeness at 2:02 or so until 2:15. Sick bass at 2:35 or so. Guitar returns at 2:53 or so. Even sweeter guitar at 3:30 or so. More sweet guitar at 4:30 or so. I want to go fishing and listen to this track too! Final ending at 5:15.
7. Metropolis Massacre (Neo City) - Prince of Darkness, Travis Moberg     5:16
     Menacing feel! Oh no! Not Neo City! Save it, gang! Pretty sweet bass at 0:20 or so. The feeling builds and builds throughout this track. I love it. Sweet guitar at 1:28. Travis helps out immensely with the drums, giving this track a dramatic touch. Intensity at 2:57 or so. More menace at 3:10 or so. Even more dramatic feel at 3:27. Basic rhythm at 3:40 or so, also with a menacing feel. Slow and mournful at 3:58, with guitar to match at 4:03. And drums and keyboards replace and hasten the feel at 4:10 or so. 4:28 brings in some more sexy guitar shreddage. Intensity contintues to 5:11, which is the end.
8. Balls of Steel (Factory) - norg     5:10
     The other free track! Starts out immediately, and basic rhythms at 0:10. Source at 0:30. Pretty intense track. Metallic feeling to it; appropriate given the stage the source plays in. Nice synth sound at 1:32 or so. Sweet guitar at 1:58 or so. Intensity reigns supreme throughout this track. True factory sounds at 2:28 or so add to the feel. Main rhythms resum at 2:53 or so, with a more intense background. I love this job... Ahem. The whole track is insane! Crazy rhythms at 3:38 or so. Awesome distortion at 4:20 or so. Metallic sounds at 4:20 or so. Climax at 4:47, and abruptly but perfectly ends at 5:03.
9. Dey Callim Boss (Menu/Boss Approaches/Waterfall Boss/Waterfall Boss Chase) - SnappleMan, Prince of Darkness, Norrin_Radd     5:40
     One hell of a medley! The FamiTracker sounds start immediately, with building ambience coming in soon after. Creepy vibe starts at 0:30 or so. Guitar starts at 0:50 or so, with the creepy feel continuing. 1:24 brings in the meat of the track. Sweet guitar at 1:40. The intensely creepy vibe just won't stop! I love it! More intensity at 3:04 or so. Silence and sound effects at 3:19 or so, melody returning at 3:24 or so. Guitar keeps rhythm and remains sexy as well. Nice keyboards at 4:00 or so. Nice FamiTracker solo at 4:17 or so; unique usage of the program, and it fits in so perfectly. Nice work! Sweet guitar returns at 4:45 or so. The climax begins at 5:14 or so.
10. Let's Attack Aggressively! (Alien Hive/Heart Battle) - Danimal Cannon, Chris Dlugosz    3:43
     Sounds great! Aggressive too! Nice rhythm at 0:52. Sounds menacing! Melody switch-up at 1:24 or so. The backing guitar keeps the intensity flowing. Sick guitar at 1:43 or so. Chris' keyboards fit in perfectly with the alien feel of the ship. Builds in the background at 2:43. Nice vocal clip at 2:43! COME GET SOME! Climax begins at 3:12 or so. Ends suddenly at 3:37.
11. Flesh Harvest (Harvest Yard/Last Boss) - Christian Pacaud, Marc-André Gingras     4:07
     The final stage and final battle. Has a whole final feel to it. Scary, creepy, lovely. Brassy sound is perfect for this track. Guitar comes in at 1:43 to make the track even better! Quiets down at 2:22 or so. More brass sound. Dramatic feel at 2:33. This is truly the final boss theme! If you fail this, the world ends! FIGHT FOR THE WORLD! FOR GREAT JUSTICE! ROCK FOR THE WORLD! FOR EVERLASTING PEACE! So climactic; final sounds at 3:53 or so. Noise at 3:59 to end.
12. GET TO THE CHOPPA (Jungle Hard) - Danimal Cannon, Prince of Darkness, Travis Moberg     2:50
     Ah yes, the remix of the retro remix. Beautifully done, fast paced, shreddage faster than the Shredder could ever hope to achieve... Brings back many memories. So very intense. Nice work with the drums, Travis! Everything meshes together so perfectly! Vocal clip at 1:45, followed by epic guitar. Nice distortion at 2:20 or so to end.
13. B.E.I.G.L. (End Credits) - virt    4:33
    Who better to do the final track here than the original composer himself, Mr. Jake Kaufman. Such a victorious feel. As to what the abbreviation means, I don't know. Either it's short for Badass Epic Inevitably Grand Litany or a reference to biglionmusic.com. Nice guitar at 1:42 or so. This works out to be a medley of various other tracks, and he covers them magnificently, naturally. He made them in the first place. Sexy guitar shreddage at 2:27 or so. Vastly different from the last track I reviewed of his, Flight of the Zinger. But just as polished. Climactic feel at 3:30 or so. The final note begins at 4:13 or so. And scene at 4:27.

Conclusion
     What a phenomenal album! I honestly can't think of anything else to say about this, because there really isn't anything else that can be said, or needs to be. If you haven't bought this album yet, please go to RockednLoaded.com to buy your own copy. You won't regret it, I guarantee you.

Posted on: April 13, 2010, 07:48:03 PM
Upon request, I interviewed Hiryu. Here's the result.
<Mirby> What are your interests?
<Hiryu> Video games, Computers, Sports, and swimming
<Mirby> Do you have a genre preference for games?
<Hiryu> Well, when it comes to games, I do have a variety that I like to play. My Favorite I would have to say would be RPGs. My least favorite are sports.
<Mirby> You prefer actually playing them then?
<Mirby> Sports, that is
<Hiryu> In real life, yes. I find playing with friends fun, because you're more into the game than you would just holding a controller.
<Mirby> I agree with that
<Mirby> What sports do you like playing?
<Hiryu> Basketball and Soccer, although I haven't played the latter in years.
<Mirby> Neither have I...
<Mirby> Do you compete competitively in anything?
<Hiryu> Right now, me and some of my friends have started playing  Magic: The Gathering again. I try to build my decks the best I can, but my friends also have great decks to play against.
<Mirby> Never played it...
<Hiryu> Have you played any TCGs before?
<Hiryu> To me, it's like a fusion of Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh.
<Mirby> Umm... not really no
<Hiryu> Ah, well. It's an interesting card game to play.
<Hiryu> I did think about trying to get on the leaderboards on MM10 for the fastest time, but I eventually came to the conclusion that it would take too much of my time to do.
<Mirby> lol
<Mirby> Hmmm.... I can't think of any other questions to ask
<Hiryu> Can I ask you a quick question?
<Mirby> Yeah?
<Hiryu> Earlier you said about posting interviews on 1up.com.  Are you a professional interviewer or someone who interviews people in the music industry in your spare time or what?
<Mirby> I wish.
<Mirby> I'm an aspiring journalist
<Mirby> I don't have a job at all right now and I'm only doing the interviews to get my... portfolio filled, to get my name out there
<Hiryu> I've looked at your articles, and I think that they're a worthy piece of journalism.
<Mirby> Thank you
<Hiryu> So why do you upload your interviews on 1up? Do you post on the forums or do you send them to someone?
<Mirby> I upload them on 1up because I figured it's a pretty well-traveled site for gamers and game makers alike
<Mirby> A good place to put my stuff
<Hiryu> Uh-huh
<Mirby> Anything else?
<Hiryu> I suppose not. Thank you.
<Mirby> No prob.


Posted on: April 14, 2010, 12:07:36 PM
Quoth the pretzel, "Operating the site costs too much." Or something. I don't have the exact quote, but it's true. In response to that, Big Giant Circles, alias Jimmy Hinson, began Support OCR Month a couple of years ago. The point? Help raise funds so DJP doesn't have to worry, and in return get cool OCR gear if you go that route, or a nice fuzzy feeling if you just donate.

You can visit this thread on the OCR forums for more information:

April is Support OCR Month 2010!

You can also visit this link to donate directly to OCR or this link to buy stuff from the OCR store, which also helps. For more information on supporting OCR, click here. Please, help out OCR by donating. And you don't only have to do it in April; if you can, help out whenever possible, regardless of what month it is!

Posted on: April 14, 2010, 04:22:16 PM
   Nick Hagman, alias Nario, has some mad skills. So far he's beaten Castlevania 1 (didn't die until Level 5) and Super Mario Bros. An unremarkable accomplishment when one reads that part. But let's mention the controller he used. The Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix dance pad. Yes, he beat Castlevania 1 and Super Mario Bros. WITH A DANCE PAD! And he's gearing up for a Mega Man 2 run, with the same control scheme. I interviewed him earlier. What follows is the result of the interview.

Mirby: What gave you the original idea to play these games with a dance pad?
Nario: To be honest, I've always had a knack for playing video games how they weren't intended to be played. Whether it be beating Xbox 360 demos with a Guitar Hero controller or beating Metroid Prime without collecting any item expansions, I've always found a way to make any game more challenging or interesting, which I find to be quite satisfying. As far as why I originally chose to play Castlevania with a dance pad, it was mostly inspired by a friend who called me over to his house to test out his new dance pad on his computer--I also would've never played the Castlevania series to begin with if it weren't for AVGN or my friends. I told my friend that I had attempted the first two levels of Super Mario Bros. a long time ago on a dance pad, and so he requested that I test out the quality of his dance pad by playing Castlevania with it. By that point, I was hooked, and when I got home I did it again. When I uploaded the video to YouTube, all of my friends were happy for me, and encouraged me to play the rest of the game and to do it in split screen as well--some had their doubts that I could pull it off too. Eventually, I beat Castlevania, the video went viral across Kotaku and many other places, and that's when I knew this series wasn't stopping anytime soon.
M: Why did you add a new stuffed animal for each stage for the Castlevania run?
N: *laughs* It's hard to explain... For one, I didn't even intend Woody to be in the first video, so when I saw him laying there on YouTube, I decided to make use of him in the second video. At first, I wanted to leave people to notice on their own that I was secretly adding a plush toy every video, but by the fifth video it was pretty obvious by then. As to why I wanted to add another plush toy every episode, I guess it's my way of showing off my eccentric nature. Honestly, I have a personal attachment to most of my plush toys--once again, something else that's hard to explain that I'd rather cover in another video series, if only my sister would me! *laughs*--and so I thought I'd throw them in the video. I also feel like it would be the perfect fuel for anyone who hates me or what I do on a dance pad: I feel as though I've earned the right to show off my plush toys because I've beaten Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. with a dance pad. It's quite irrational and hard to explain, but I feel like I can be weird, have a little fun, and yet be forgiven due to the feets... er... feats that I have pulled off.
M: I think it was hilarious, personally...
N: I also find it ironic how one could overlook me beating a very hard game with a dance pad and discredit me due to having a plush toy audience; they do not make my skill suffer in any way. I just find it laughable that one could be so picky about something so minuscule when the focus should be me playing on a dance pad, so I'm pretty much getting the attention of said haters and pointing out the irony in their logic just by simply having the plush toys out for them to hate on. It's an awesome paradox where the haters always lose for not knowing that they're being manipulated.
M: Why did you pick Super Mario Bros. for the second playthrough?
N: As I said earlier, I had briefly played Super Mario Bros. on a dance pad before even being called over to test out Castlevania by a friend of mine. In fact, it was the first NES game I had ever tested out with a dance pad, so while gamers on Kotaku were asking for me to play Mega Man and Contra, I felt the need to take on the game that started everything NES Dance Pad related: Super Mario Bros. I know that no one ever requested it, but I knew people would enjoy it nonetheless because it's such a classic. It also happens to be the first game I ever played--World 1-4 at Age 4 is the earliest video game memory I have--so I consider my personal attachment to Super Mario Bros. to be a vague yet fond one. However, I did fear that people weren't going to receive it as well as the Castlevania video, as it wouldn't seem as difficult, so I briefly wondered if I should've announced Super Mario Bros. 3 instead (yes, I will eventually play that game too), but when it came down to me finally trying out World 8 on a dance pad, I knew the game was going to be hard enough for people to be interested. I'm so glad I went through with it too, because the video went on to be mentioned by Jeff Gerstmann, the awesome man himself, on Giant Bomb! What an honor! I love that site and have been following the staff members there ever since they worked at Gamespot.
M: That is quite awesome... To stray away from the playthrough questions, what genre of games do you like most?
N: Hmm... that can be quite difficult to answer, as I am a jack of all trades, so to speak. I play Puzzle games, First-Person Shooters, First-Person Adventure, Third-Person Shooter, Third-Person Action, Sidescrolling Action, RPGs of all kinds (Final Fantasy I-XIII, the Chrono series, the Xenogears/Xenosaga series, Tales of Symphonia, Pokemon, Shin Megami Tensei series, Persona series, Kingdom Hearts series, etc.), Party games, Science Fiction Racing games, and Rhythm/Music games. I'd say that I play all of those genres equally, which makes me very difficult to label as a fan of just one genre in particular. Genres that don't get enough love from me would probably be Sports titles and sidescrolling/verticalscrolling Shooters, although I do like a good game of Tiger Woods PGA Tour '04 or Gradius every once in a while.
M: My brother is obsessed with Tiger Woods '07... hehe. You seem to have answered my next question in this one, so I'll skip ahead. Is there music from any particular game or composer you enjoy more than others?
N: I must admit, this question is much more easier to answer. I usually prefer to listen to music from RPGs, Sonic games, and Castlevania games, and that's pretty much it. I adore Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger/Cross, Xenogears, Mario Party 1), Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts, Super Mario RPG, Xenoblade), Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy I-X, Lost Odyssey), Takeharu Ishimoto (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII), Kenji Yamamoto (Super Metroid, Metroid Prime series, Metroid Zero Mission), Koji Kondo (Mario series, Zelda series), Jun Senoue (Sonic series), Fumie Kumatani (Sonic series), Hideki Naganuma (Jet Set Radio & Future, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz), Shoji Meguro (SMT3: Nocturne, SMT: Digital Devil Saga, Persona 3 & 4), Tim Follin (Silver Surfer, Ecco: Defender of the Future), Kinuyo Yamashita (Castlevania I), Motoi Sakaraba (Mario Golf series, Golden Sun series, Star Ocean series, Tales Of series), Michiru Yamane (Castlevania series), and a few others whose names have slipped my mind.
M: A lot of good names. Is there a particular era of games you prefer?
N: Anything from 1985 to current! I personally believe that people who prefer only the old games or only the old 3D games or only the current-gen stuff to be very close-minded. With this said, I don't like playing anything before 1985 except for Galaga, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Pitfall, so I'm pretty much a hypocrite! *laughs*
M: I'm the same way... When you play a game for the first time, do you play for fun, or do you try getting everything?
N: Depends on what system it's for, what series it falls under, and if there are any rewards for completing the game rather than just beating it. If it's an Xbox 360/PS3 title, I am more likely to strive for the achievements/trophies in the game. If it's an RPG, I will try to complete it if it means making New Game+ easier, if such a feature is available in the game. If it is an Action/Platforming/Linear game where bonus worlds can be accessed only by completing the game before approaching the final boss, then I will do everything in my power to access said bonus worlds. If it's a Sonic title, even if it's bad, I will get every achievement for it just to put credibility behind my opinion, whether if the game is good (Sonic Unleashed X360) or bad (Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 X360).
M: I see... I respect that, seeing as I'm a bit of a gaming perfectionist myself. Next question! When you make your chiptunes, do you have an idea in mind, or do you jsut mess around until you get a base to work from.
N: Honestly? Whenever I make a song, I usually have no clue what's coming up next! *laughs* An idea pops into my head, I spend a few hours sequencing it, and then I listen to the song about 30 times over the course of a few days until something awesome comes to mind, and then I binge and finish the song. This process can lead to me finishing a song within two or three sittings, but almost never do I plan ahead. Sometimes, though, I will compose a very epic, already-completed section in my head, and actually have to break it up and start with something minimal in order to build up to the part I wanted to create originally. My composition style usually builds upon layers until something musically explodes, kind of like bringing out a plate, putting a pancake on it, putting another pancake on it, then putting another pancake on it, and then dump a bunch of butter and syrup on top. I have no idea what the pancakes will look like or how they'll turn out, but none of that matters because it'll all taste good once the syrup hits everything! Next thing you know, I'm digging in, eating what I just created, which in the metaphor is letting the song loose and go where it wants to. Sometimes, however, I'll "finish eating the pancakes" a little too quickly, and realize that the song isn't long enough, so I'll make another batch of pancakes to make the song a little longer, or rather, fill my tummy up the rest of the way! *laughs* A good example of this whole process would be The Tale Of A Pirate, in which I didn't know what was coming up, ever: http://8bitcollective.com/music/Nario/The+Tale+of+a+Pirate/ Note: How ironic, I plugged this song in the fifth video of the Castlevania DDR series!
M: I noticed that. Hehehe. That's a very tasty description... Last question. What do you enjoy most about recording these runs?
N: I enjoy a lot of things in doing these runs. First off, I enjoy the sense of satisfaction I get in beating these games with a dance pad. I don't know why I enjoy challenging myself with low-level RPG runs or low-item% runs on Metroid games, but I find it so satisfying to be able to pull off goals that are practically insane; feats that most people wouldn't have the dedication or motivation to perform or stick through with to be able to do so. Secondly, I enjoy making others happy with these videos. I couldn't tell you how many times I've read "I couldn't be able to do that!" "I had a blast watching this video!" "Congrats!" etc. etc. It makes me happy to know that there are people who are enjoying my videos, who are enjoying my hard work I put into beating games with a dance pad, and who are wanting more from me, and I don't plan to let them down. And lastly, I enjoy being able to leave a legacy behind on this planet. Being (one of?) the first to beat Castlevania and Super Mario Bros. with a dance pad is a truly remarkable achievement, and I'm happy to be the one (of the few?) to be able to do it thus far. I will next be playing Mega Man 2 with a dance pad and I hope others will enjoy watching me play that game with a dance pad as well.
M: Well, those are very good reasons. Thanks for your time!
N: Thank you! I enjoyed participating in this interview.

You can find his videos here: DJ17Nario's YouTube Channel. Be sure to check the videos out! I should write up that R10 IST review soon, so keep your eyes peeled! Until then, game on!
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Re: Mirby's Articles
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2010, 06:01:38 AM »
Rockman 10 Image Soundtrack Review Written Whilst Listening

1. One and Only - Toru Itoga, Shinpei Yashiro, Hirofumi Miyake, Norihiro GACHARO Okumura    3:36
     Starts out nice. Japanese lyrics... Nice guitar in the background. English pops in at about 1:10. Switches back to Japanese at about 1:20. Panning at about 2:00. Bridge begins at about 2:15. Chorus returns at 2:25 or so and repeats at about 2:55. English returns at 3:07, and swaps between both languages to about 3:20, when it's instrumentation to the end.
2. Introduction - Takeshi Aono, Shozo Iidzuka, Ippo Yamada     3:37
     Happy tune! YAY! Suspiciously happy... not like Axl's Command Misson theme, but still. Second part of the intro story comes in at 0:49. Wily's saucer? Intensity! Drama! Horror! It's a buildup! Words at 1:27, in Japanese. People reading the intro story, I think. Wily enters at about 2:07. He's angry. Light's voice returns at about 2:50, heralding the start of the third part of the intro. This continues until the end.
3. Title - Ryo Kawakami     0:23
     Short but sweet. Much like the Rockman 9 AST, this one is a quick rock-based cover of the title theme, suitable for the name Rockman.
4. King of Blades (BLADE MAN STAGE) - Akari Kaida     4:22
     The first stage theme. Intro from start to about 0:15. Main theme comes in at about 0:25. It builds up with the basic rhythm, and gets more intense at about 0:42. Additional instrumentation comes in from here on out. The main track begins at 1:10. Really well-done mix of the source. Highly faithful, naturally. Slows down at 1:50 or so, and progressively builds back up into more of the source. More intensity until about 2:58, additional instrumentation therein. Really shows off the beauty of the source from then until about 3:25 or so, when it gets back into more faithful coverage. Cool guitar-like sounds from about 4:00 on. Starts fading at about 4:10.
5. Polluted Pump (PUMP MAN STAGE) - Yuko Takehara, Ryo Kawakami     3:45
     Volume phasing right off the bat; works well. Main track comes in at 0:15. Has a bit of a spooky quality to it at times. Gives the term haunting melody a whole new meaning! I kid, I kid. Horn sounds at about 1:22 add to the atmosphere. Running water at about 1:50... basic beat from here until 2:04, when another line of the source comes in. Continues to 2:17, when another horn-like sound comes in, and solos. More rhythm at 2:30; water sound ceases. Back to the source here. Barebones coverage here to to 3:12, when more comes in. Intro phasing from 3:30 to end.
6. Desert Commando (COMMANDO MAN STAGE) - Saori Utsumi     3:44
     I hear wind! Ethnic instrumentation; fits it. Guitar and sitar-thing; works beautifully. More beautiful combination at 0:40 or so. Source is highly prevalent, of course. Ethnic sound takes precedence at about 1:16. Wind instrument at abput 1:40; carries the melody a bit further. Sounds Middle Eastern; I love it. The balancing on this track is excellent. More guitar at about 2:27. Higher speed at about 2:39. Basic rhythm at about 3:06, continues to about 3:16, when guitar returns yet again. Explosion at 3:32. Wind to end.
7. Absolute Chill (CHILL MAN STAGE) - Shusaku Uchiyama     2:45
    DANGER! Fast-paced beat; frigid sound. Very basic instrumentation here; suits the source. Comes in with more at 0:32 or so. Nice echo-y sound at about 1:05. More prevalent instruments at about 1:10. Calms down at 1:25 or so. Builds back up at 1:40 or so. More trance-ish rhythms at 1:52 or so. Retro sounds at 2:00 or so. It starts building to the finale at 2:14 or so. And the source returns for one last hurrah at about 2:28.
8. Boss - Hiroki Isogai     2:45
     WARNING! Fitting style for the boss theme; sounds like dangerous stuff is going on. Strong base beat, and strong source coverage throughout. Calms down and does its own thing at about 1:20. Still fits the track. Returns to source at 1:50 or so. Continues to end. Intro riffs at 2:27 or so, repeat four times, end.
9. Cybersheep's Dream (SHEEP MAN STAGE) - Tsutomu Kurihara, Mari Yamguchi     3:37
     Sounds techno, cyber even. Mystical and dreamy, with sweet guitar. More chippiness at 0:37 or so. The chippiness really adds to the feel of the track. Sounds almost like something out of Network Transmission... Orchestral sound at about 1:20. Chippiness continues throughout. Solo at 1:38 or so. Sweet dream right here; filled with epic music. Source returns at 2:04. Guitar at 2:20 add to the track's feel. Guitar carries the track starting at 2:38 or so. Basic chip rhythms from about 3:08 with guitar to end.
10. Fireball Strike (STRIKE MAN STAGE) - Makoto Tomozawa, Risarisa    3:22
     HOME RUN! Track begins at 0:10. who knew America's pasttime was also Japan's? I did, but still. Very authentic Rockman sound here; fits right in with the classic track. More applause at about 0:48. Ballpark sound at about 0:58, complete with crowd sounds. Comes back in at 1:17 or so. The audience loves this song! More cheering at 1:37. Intense part at about 1:47. Saxy (yes, saxophone-like and sexy as well) solo 2:00 or so. Awesome at 2:20 or so to about 2:33. More applause. 2:45 brings back the ballpark source chunk. Homerun again at 3:10 or so. The crowd goes wild!
11. Nitro Rider (NITRO MAN STAGE) - Manami Matsumae     3:19
     Ethereal sound to start out with; good choice. Comes in with rhythm at 0:10. Really begins at about 0:19 with rockin' style; the main source starts at about 0:29. Nice huitar at about 0:49. Cool mix part starts at about 1:32. More guitar at 1:52. Constant slowdowns and speedups create the feel of a race or something. Higher pitched version begin at about 2:30. Basic rhythm repeat from about 2:50 to end. Triumphant sound right here!
12. Solar Inferno (SOLAR MAN STAGE) - Yasuaki BUNBUN Fujita     4:32
     Ah, yes. BUNBUN. A true Rockman music master. Sounds intense right away. Heavy sound at 0:12. He's not messing around. Some serious stuff's going down. Percussion adds to the intensity. Nice solo at about 1:32; brief though. The source is covered nicely. Percussion continues to add to the feel. This track keeps you on your toes. Slowdown at 2:39. Nice effects right here with the source. It keeps building more and more intense and solos at 3:09; much better than that tease, yet all the better for it at the same time. Pretty epic sound right here. Source resumes 3:40, with an explosion. You can tell the end is near at 4:09; makes it even better. Explosion at 4:22 signals the end.
13. Dr. Wily Manifesto - Takeshi Aono, Ryo Kawakami    1:42
     Creepy sound right here; Wily reveals his plans? Sinister sound even... Especially at about 0:31. Wily's voice from Introduction starts at about 0:48. He really is insane. TRANSMISSION END at 1:38.
14. For You - Yuko Tokushima, Hiroki Isogai     3:51
     A slow sad track, fitting of the scene the source plays during. This really is Roll's theme. The music even portrays the sibling bond Roll shares with Rock, which explains why she does what she does in the scene. More beautiful coverage at 1:18 or so. Even more loveliness at 1:48 or so, with what sounds like a violin. Piano chimes in at about the two minute mark for even more sweet sounds. More violin at about 2:30, with the piano accompanying. All comes back together at 2:55. Flute joins in at 3:20 or so. All told, three of the most beautiful instruments. Well done.
15. Abandoned Memory - Tsutomu Kurihara, Hiroki Isogai     3:35
    How creepy... I'm getting shivers listening. The ambient sound is creepy as well. Slowly fades away until 0:45, when the main melody breaks in. And now it's epic sounding. The guitar really helps. A bit of a solo starting at about 2:30. Nice rhythm at 3:10. Fades from 3:20 on.
16. Against The Pressure - Masaki Suzuki, Ryo Kawakami     3:06
    Epic sounding! Chimes help add to the atmosphere here. You can tell that this might be one of the final Wily Castles, just by the sound. Nice source coverage at about 0:45. Guitar solo at about 1:08. Nice synth sound at 1:27 or so. Back to the start at 1:50 or so. The source coverage is rockin' in this track. Has a highly final feel to it. It truly sounds like you're fighting against the pressure of... I don't know, failure? Death? Something, but the feel is there.
17. No Turning Back - Seiko Kobuchi     3:21
    Basic sound, nice beat, goes strong. Gets a bit more intense at about 0:28. Quiets down at about 0:55, slowly building back up. Resumes at 1:08. Still a bit of a simplistic feel, but it works. It does portray a feel of only moving forward, because turning back is not an option. Quiets down at about 2:00; cool solo at about 2:12. Even takes on source duty at about 2:27. Very quiet sound at 3:02 to the end.
18. Dr. Wily Stage Boss - Ippo Yamada     2:50
    Yes, it's definitely a fortress boss. A bit of a distant sound. But the source is there. Nice source mixing at about 0:46. Slows down at 1:09 or so. Bits and pieces of the source play throughout the next part of the track, slowly getting longer until 1:44, when it all returns. Ethereal sound adds to this. Main track ends at 2:39, basic beat to 2:46.
19. Close To The End - Masato Kouda     4:35
    What a very spacey feel. Not like Galaxy Fantasy, but still. Main rhythm at 0:20, more rhythm at 0:32, and more at 0:46 or so. The pattern continues until about 1:23, when a new chunk of source rhythm is added in. More epic rhythm at 1:48 or so. Quiets down, direct source rip at about 2:01, more source at 2:12 or so. Same bit, different instrumentation. Repeat. Nice jazzy feel at 3:16 or so. Another source chunk at about 3:40. I think by now, it's close to the end. Guitar at 4:08 to the end.
20. Nemesisphere - Yoshino Aoki     3:32
    Techno sound... more at 0:09. And more rhythm at 0:18. This must be the last stage... More parts keep coming in, giving a feeling of building tension. Especially when it switches up at about 1:05. I think this is the Wily Machine theme. Has a bit of an ultimate sound to it. Finality, if you will. Slows down at about 2:00. Resumes at 2:12. With some guitar riffage. Defeat the old German crazy, for EVERLASTING PEACE! Or not, considering the number of installments to come. Slows down at about 3:00, and continues to quiet down until the end.
21. Last Exit - Toru Itoga, Tsutomu Kurihara, Ryo Kawakami, Ippo Yamada     5:00
    This must be the ending/credits montage. Very triumphant sounding. Japanese lyrics come in 0:26, and switch to English and back frequently. At 1:04 is the chorus, half in English, half in Japanese. Well balanced. At 1:42 is a bit of a guitar solo. Even more at 2:06! Sexcellent! Singing resumes at 2:44. The chorus begins again at 3:21. TO THE LAST E.T. COME WITH ME! I don't know... nicely written though. Final lyrics at 4:30. A nice topper to this great album!

Conclusion
    This is the first album I've reviewed that was commissioned and sold by the developers of the original game. And they got the right people to do it. The source material is highly prevalent in all tracks. And yet, each track still manages to retain its own unique feel, and it still matches the source that way. Maybe with the ability for more instrumentation came the means to give even more individuality to each track. Desert Commando sounds Middle Eastern, Absolute Chill sounds Arctic, Polluted Pump sounds like some sort of haunted sewer, King of Blades sounds like an old castle... I could go on and on here. All in all, a great effort and well done! If you want to hear it for yourself, please order a copy. You can find it at places such as CD Japan and Inti Create's site [THIS SITE IS IN JAPANESE, BE WARNED!], although I'm sure there are other places to find it. As for what article comes next, I can't say. It's not that I won't tell you, it's that I just don't know. Until next time, game on!

[I'm not hitting double posts; if I do, then I won't be able to edit this, as the new merged post will exceed the max character count. Therefore, please don't merge this with the previous post, in case I need to edit a future article that will be merged with this post. Thank you.]

Posted on: May 18, 2010, 11:46:46 PM
     Justin Jones, aka Nekofrog, can rock higher than anyone else, or will be able to soon, maybe... Having just completed boot camp with the Air Force and taking time out of his "do nothing" AFI time to let me interview him, I found it fun. He has the final boss remix track on Serious Monkey Business (which I reviewed earlier), and five tracks posted on the site. They're all pretty awesome too! Anyways, here are the results of our interview.

    Mirby: What started your interest in video game music?
    nekofrog: That dates back to when I was about 4 or 5 playing Ultima: Exodus on the NES with my dad. While the soundtrack is nothing special, it got me into a habit to where I would load up a game just to listen to music on it. Specially the theme for Ambrosia. It continued on from there when I got a little older and a tape recorder, which, at that point, I started taping the music right next to the TV to listen to.

    M: Nice. Why didn't I ever think of that? What started your interest in remixing?
    n: I discovered OCR in about 2000, and was active on the forums in 2001 under a username I can't even begin to remember. Then in 2003 I turned ubertroll and spent the next 4 years doing nothing but trolling the living crap out of the forums, to the point where I had been banned about 8 or 9 times. Eventually lost interest in the site as a whole until I managed to get the right combination of recording gear and knowledge of audio engineering going, and it prettty much gelled from there. Before that, my experience had been what a lot of beginners had been> taking midis and just layering soundfonts over them.

    M: Sounds like a good place to start... heh. Are there any tracks you've done that you're more proud of than the others? Or that you like more?
    n: Actually, I've pretty much screwed up every submission that's ever been posted, usually by posting a link to the wrong version of the song. In the case of my last mix, Omen of Jenova, I linked an old version that was missing an entire lead part and a harmony section, so I wasn't too proud of that. In the case of my first mix, Mechanical God, they actually posted the original version that got REJECTED instead of the new version that got ACCEPTED, so I'm not too proud of the way the original version sounds (it's really bad; the correct version is available on my youtube channel). As far as what I am MOST proud of, well, that stuff hasn't been posted yet. Ever since "Fight For Our Future", my mixes have all bypassed the judge's panel and gone straight to the direct post queue, and in there I have about 3 or 4 mixes; one of which is from Lufia 1 and 2 called "The Very End". It's nothing like anything I've done before or since; it's a mellow symphonic rock piece that to this day is still my favorite.

    M: Can't wait to hear it. Are there any remixers you haven't collaborated with in the past that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
    n: Lots. In fact, I'm set to collab with a few of them already. Dave (djpretzel) and I will be doing a piece together for the Lufia project. Sixto and I were supposed to do a Megaman 9 track for that project, but his internet disappearence for 3 months combined with my leaving for the Air Force put the kibosh on that. Maybe we'll try again somewhere down the line. I wouldn't mind doing something with Sole Signal again, as we have collabed on other non-OCR related stuff since Malevolent Mansion. Protricity and I are definitely going to get something going, as well.

    M: That one should be pretty awesome! Any tracks you'd like to remix in the future?
    n: Several. Right now, something from Sunset Riders is on the top of my list. Phoenix Wright 3 has some tunes that are very proggish and could be adapted to my style easily, and I keep feeling this nag nag nagging urge to revisit Lufia many more times. I'll also be releasing a Final Fantasy remix album pulling 1-2 songs from each mainline FF game. That'll probably be released not under my name, but under the name "Black Materia", "Meteor", or "AVALANCHE". I haven't decided yet.
   
    M: Heh. That FF album should be sweet! Do you have a favorite track from a game?
    n: Nothing that I could name off-hand, but it would probably be something from one of the first two Lufia games, or Turtles in Time.

    M: Do you have a favorite video-game composer?
    n: I have the-big-four that rotate in and out as my favorites. Yasunori Mitsuda for Xenogears alone, Akira Yamaoka for his tremendous work on the Silent Hill series (seriously, huge fan -- and he plays a 7 string guitar like me). Yoko Shimomura for amazing soundtracks such as Parasite Eve, Mario RPG, Street Fighter 2, Breath of Fire, and the Mario & Luigi series. The Follin Brothers are gods to me, everything they've ever done I have absolutely loved (Spiderman & X-Men, PLOK!, and Commodore 64 works).
 
    M: Nice. Lastly, what do you enjoy most about remixing video game music?
    n: It's not so much what I enjoy about remixing video game music, but what's come from it that I enjoy. I've engaged and connected with a great community of musicians who are just as passionate about something as I am. I especially enjoy the gatherings and hangouts that we have. When djpretzel randomly pulls you out of the crowd at MAGfest and says "hey, I love your [parasitic bomb]! I have whiskey upstairs, let's go drink!", it's a very cool thing. I hadn't really realized until then the kind of figure I'd become in the community (wow that sounds pretty full of myself).

    M: That is pretty awesome. And cool of djp, too! I don't think he'll invite me for a drink... Thanks for the interview!
    n: No problem.

     You can his page on OCR here: Artist: Nekofrog (Justin Jones). Keep checking back for more articles! Until next time, game on!
OH [parasitic bomb] IM USING LINK AND I ACCIDENTALLY FINAL SMASHED A CUCCO OH GOD HELP
Just enjoy yourself, don't complain about everything