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Top Ten Video Game ReMixes
Since the dawn of video game music, there have been video game ReMixes. Well probably. Since as early as 1999, the gaming world has been blessed with the single greatest website and collection of video game music fan arrangements from a huge pool of talented artists and musicians. OverClocked ReMix continues to support game music and to date has a collection of over 2,700 songs and decades worth of games. Many ReMixers have become so well known as to garner their own following, and true connoisseurs help develop a rabid fanbase for their favorite artists. In celebration of OC ReMixes’ first commercial album release, we highlight some of the best arrangements on the site.
Top Ten VGM ReMixes
10) “Pirate Shout” (The Secret of Monkey Island)
Original Song(s): “Opening Theme,” “A Pirate I Was Meant to Be”
Artist: Jay “Audio Fidelity” Yaskin
You want Metal? YOU WANT #&!*% METAL!? How about what can only be described as Pirate Metal? This is a crazy awesome arrangement of the classic opening song to The Secret of Monkey Island – a whimsical island song full of flutes and marimbas that Audio Fidelity turns into an insanely headbangin’ metal tune for the Heroes vs. Villains album. The two year old album is a supremely excellent collaboration between OC ReMixers and the talented dudes of Bad Dudes that showcases two themes from some of the most classic video games – a hero and a villain. Check it out!
9) “Breaking the Ice” (Sonic the Hedgehog 3)
Original Song(s): “Ice Cap Zone: Act 1”
The Sonic series has its fare share of catchy and memorable themes, but none more so than the captivating “Ice Cap Zone” from Sonic 3. It’s one of those great songs that tends to make every ReMixed arrangement instantly enjoyable, but this mix from the two man team of Maurice Willems and Sanjay Sampatsing (known as Digital Element, more commonly DigiE) is above and beyond the rest, providing an excellent arrangement that’s fun and upbeat while also evoking a sense of wonder atop a snowy mountain.
8) “Jammin’ with my NES” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Original Song(s): “Hudson River Near the Holland Tunnel”
Artist: Samuel “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss
Of all the artists mentioned on this list, Schnabubula may just be the most well-known amongst VGM and ReMix fans. Last year he released the amazing NES Jams album, lovingly ReMixing many chiptunes classics, and recently he released an all-original album that reminisces some of the greatest offerings the SNES had for our ears in SNESology. The only song submitted to OCR from the NES Jams album, and likewise still available without some digging around, is an amazing arrangement of the infamous Underwater level in the original TMNT game. If you dig some really fancy piano work give this a listen immediately.
7) “Jethro and Vash at the Fair” (Chrono Trigger)
Original Song(s): “Guardia’s Millennial Fair”
Artist: David “DJPretzel” Lloyd
The founder of OverClocked ReMix is of course a talented ReMixer in his own right, and amazingly finds time to create some of my favorite songs while maintaining the site. My personal favorite of the beloved DJP is his cleverly named acoustic take on one of Chrono Trigger’s many great songs. The acoustic guitar and flute battle it out in happy and upbeat fashion that paints the scene of the Fair perfectly.
6) “Death on the Snowfield” (Final Fantasy VI)
Original Song(s): “Terra”
Artist: Sefan “AmIEviL” Ajax
Final Fantasy VI is one of the most ReMixed soundtracks ever, and “Terra” specifically has over a dozen arrangements on OC ReMix. “Death on the Snowfield,” is certainly the most hauntingly beautiful, particularly that melancholic intro as the piano sets up the despair. It’s the perfect subdued yet emotional melody to every hero’s last stand.
5) “Dreamer” (Chrono Cross)
Original Song(s): “Voyage – Home World”
Artist: Evan “Starblaze” Pattison
Not everyone on this list is a well-known ReMixing star. Starblaze only has three tracks on OCR, all from over ten years ago, but this arrangement of one of the best songs from Chrono Cross easily lands in this Top Ten list. Chrono Cross’s amazing symphonic soundtrack is ripe for ReMixing into all kinds of genres, but most of my favorite ReMixes are stylistically very similar to the original with some added instruments and perfectly laced percussion. Exhibit A is “Dreamer.”
4) “Super Mario’s Sleigh Ride” (Super Mario World)
Original Song(s): various tracks from Super Mario World
Artist: The OneUps
The OneUps are a talented group of musicians and ReMixers who are big fans of video games and make some rockin’ tunes. You can check out their impressive and diverse discography over on their bandcamp site, but my favorite is one of their earliest collaborations over ten years ago – this crazy cool blend of a classic (and zanily upbeat) Christmas tune with some well known (and equally zany) tracks from Super Mario World. The combination works so beautifully you can’t help but sit back in awe – except that you’ll be bopping your head and tapping your toes too fast to care.
3) “Terra in Black” (Final Fantasy VI)
Original Song(s): “Terra”
Artist: Sean “Ailsean” Stone
Music can be incredibly subjective; we all have our favorite genres and styles, and in the case of game ReMixes, our favorite games and tracks. That said, I’m confident that “Terra in Black” is on everyone – EVERYONE’s list of the best video game ReMixes ever made. It’s already been established that “Terra” is the greatest song, so when Ailsean adds in some real electric guitar it pretty much reaches gaming music nirvana. That guitar entrance at :53 still gives me goosebumps.
2) “Another Inspiration” (Chrono Cross)
Original Song(s): “On the Beach of Dreams – Another World”
Artist: Scott Peeples
One of the most beautiful arrangements I’ve ever heard, and of course it comes from a Chrono Cross song. Many of the tracks in the PS One classic evoke soothing and trance-like themes, and Scott Peeples takes this to unbelievable heights in this ReMix. It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite individual track from gaming’s best soundtrack, and given Chrono Cross’ release relative to the creation of OCReMix.rg, it’s been a very popular game to sample. “Another Inspiration” stands firmly above the rest, on a beach, watching the sun set as all your cares and worries melt away.
1) “Little Mac’s Confession” (Punch-Out!!)
Original Song(s): “Game Over,” “Get Up,” “Match BGM”
Artist: Game Over
One of the earliest titles on OCR to include original lyrics, this metal band exploded onto the ReMix scene with this incredible arrangement of classic Punch-Out!! music, including the amazingly haunting intro that served as the Game Over riff. Simply put, this song will rock your face off and make you wish that every single rock band would immediately begin incorporating game music into their lexicon. While none of the band’s follow-ups have managed to reach the height of awesome laid out by this track, “Little Mac’s Confession” continues to see endless rotation in just about all of my musical playlists, video game themed or not.
It’s no surprise that the most popular and well-regarded video game soundtracks make up a huge chunk of the sampled tracks. The Final Fantasy series, Super Mario Bros., Chrono Trigger/Cross, and other classic franchises like Sonic and Mega Man are big fan favorites (FF6, FF7, and CT have over 100 ReMixes each) and such recognizable and beloved songs make for popular ReMixes. Often the best songs will have dozens of arrangements, and it’s incredibly cool to listen to different artists’ interpretations of the themes and how they bend the song to suit certain genres and styles. Picking just ten from just a huge and diverse group is daunting, and I ultimately leaned heavily toward showcasing as many different artists, groups and styles as I could while still representing my favorites. Funny that your favorites tend to remain your favorites – most of the ReMixes on this list are over ten years old!
We love learning about new artists and ReMixes, so if you have any favorites please mention them in the comments!