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Free Music Resource: OverClocked ReMix - Video Game Music Community

If you follow this blog regularly, then you might have guessed that I am a fan of video games. Video games have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and one of the most memorable parts of many a game for me is its soundtrack. If you play video games too, then you might feel the same way; try to imagine Super Mario Bros. without its infectious theme music, or a Final Fantasy game without a sweeping, orchestral score, or Tetris without the Russian folk song "Korobeiniki" - they might look and play the same, but they would certainly not be the same games that they are now.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that I like to listen to video game music even when I'm not playing games. I started by hooking my Super Nintendo up to my parents' stereo system and recording music onto a cassette; games where the music kept playing even when the game was paused, like Star Fox and Final Fantasy III, worked best for this. Shortly after I began using the Internet, I started downloading MIDI versions of my favourite game music to listen to on my computer. When Napster came along, I used it to download a lot of music from my favourite N64 games - mainly the two Legend of Zelda games that were released for that system.

Then about five years ago I discovered a site which will be the focus of this post. OverClocked ReMix - Video Game Music Community is a website that hosts fan arrangements of video game music. There is an absolutely massive collection of music at this site, and a wide range of ways in which to browse, search, and acquire it. If you have something specific in mind, you can use the search feature to zero in on it quickly; it is worth noting that the search engine is a Google Custom Search Engine, so the results are usually very comprehensive and accurate. Otherwise, you can browse the site's contents, which is something I like to do occasionally as I almost always find music from games that I had forgotten about. Whether you search or browse, you will eventualy end up at a page containing information about the specific remix you've found as well as a list of links from where it can be downloaded.

If you find more than a few songs on the site that you like, then downloading them individually can be quite time consuming. Fortunately, there are a number of torrents available that can help you download larger collections of songs more efficiently. Most of the torrents are full-length albums, each one based on a specific game (including the official soundtrack for Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix). There are also two torrents that contain all but the very latest remixes, so if you want to download nearly everything from the site and have about 6.3 GB of free space on your computer, these torrents are definitely your best bet. Once you've downloaded all of those songs, then keeping up with the latest mixes is easy with the site's RSS feed (I have it in the "Free music from around the web" section of this blog's sidebar); you can even follow them on Twitter, if you're so inclined.

There is a wide variety of genres featured in the various mixes - I've heard everything from classical to country to rock to electronic music to... uh, the Legend of Zelda theme being played on Heineken bottles (no, really, it just came out yesterday - check it out). I like to put all of the songs into a big playlist and set it to shuffle. When I hear something I really like (which happens quite often), I look for songs either by the same artist or from the same game and add them to the playback queue. With more than a day's worth of music (and that's only the music from games that I've played - roughly a quarter of what's available on the site), things are always kept varied and interesting. I think my favourite song that I've found is "Super Mario Bros. Underworld Rock" by dimmer, which intersperses the famous underground music from the original Super Mario Bros. game with a driving guitar rock sound, with a few sound effects from the game acting as additional instruments. A couple of other favourites are Derek Oren and Jeremy Robson's two "Cantata for Dancing" tracks from Final Fantasy VI, which are epic sounding orchestral/choral pieces based on the music from that game's final boss fight (one of the pieces I once had on a cassette tape, incidentally); and Bladiator and The Orichalcon's "Final Doom Clairvoyant Elegy", which features some beautiful piano playing over an electronic beat.

With somewhere in the vicinity of 2000 songs available, the few songs I've mentioned obviously only scratch the surface - I'm sure that after you've spent a few hours listening to some mixes, you'll have your own list of favourites, based on some combination of your own taste in both music and video games. Happy listening!

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