Pirated Childhood

Very few people here in the States experienced the wonderful yet intriguing world of piracy and that’s due to the fact that companies were on top of each other for copyrights of certain games and what not. Well, where I’m from (Peru) there was no such thing and piracy was as abundant as there could be anywhere in the world. I found myself introduced to the Famicom which over there had various names such as Max Play or Micro Genius. These consoles would come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most of the mimicking the toaster NES console or the Famicom. I personally loved the Famiclones which would bring lots of mysterious games built in or even with a board inside of them. Sadly, I never bought any of them until recent years, I was one of the lucky ones that had the original NES console while everyone else had their awesome looking Famiclones and NESclones.

Why me?? It wasn’t that bad I guess since there were a lot of kick ass games for the original console like the Mario Brothers and Ninja Turtles (Yes, I like the first ones as well and beat that game when I was six years old!). Furthermore, I was one of the lucky ones to be introduced to the most obscure titles during the NES era.

See, there were these game lobbies where you would pay around $0.30 cents to play video games on any console you wanted for an hour. How great was that huh? But wait, it gets better! The games themselves were mostly pirated and the popular originals. Some pirate titles I came across that were engraved in my brain for years to come. One of these wonderful titles was the pirated version of TMNT 2: The Arcade Game. This game’s label art was so wacky I couldn’t ignore it. Below is a photo of what I’m talking about!

tmnt 2 pirated game
tmnt 2 pirated game

Now isn’t this something? I will never forget these turtles, that’s for sure! Not only do they all wear shades but one of them has a shield! It’s funny though, once I found them on eBay to purchase I would keep getting flashbacks of all the memories I had with this game. I bought not one nor two nor three but four copies of this game! The good thing about pirates is that they release this game with different colored pirates (gotta collect them all!). Playing the game with my Famicom sure brings back a lot of memories and joyful occasions. I even remember one time I was playing this game at the lobby and my mom came to pick me up, she wouldn’t let me finish the game and dragged me away from it and all I could hear was Donatello getting the beating of his circuit life while the ice level soundtrack was playing in the background… That memory still comes back to me every time I play that ice level (This “new” level sure made the game longer unlike the original arcade version).

There is another game that marked my childhood with cherished memories. Many of you never heard of it until the rom was available online and hopefully it’ll get well known for being one of the most strangest but correctly made Mario hacks ever! Behold, Mario 8!

Super Bros 8 for famicom
Super Bros 8 for famicom

This game was the entire reason why I went to the lobby every time I could. This game took me out my seat and brought me to a gaming world I have never experienced, and back. The so called Super Bros 8 is actually a hack of Don Doko Don 2 released by Taito. The whole game fits well for it to be a potential Mario title (if you ignore the storyline that is). You play as Mario holding a hammer and stomping evil looking mushrooms (sounds Mario-like?), as well as other creatures along your way including pigs! I think with some hacking by Nintendo, this could have been the better Mario 2 option rather than stealing Doki Doki Panic. I had to find this game when I had the chance and I did. I currently own two copies of it as well as a copy that’s unhacked for some reason. Once I got my hands on this game two years ago, I couldn’t stop playing it. I even had a Mario 8 marathon once where I beat the game five times in a row. I believe I have beaten this game over fifty times now and it never bores me.

I hope this was an enjoyable article for many of you interested in the obscureness of retro gaming… really you can’t get any more obscure than this! As a matter of fact, there are still many titles I can mention but it’ll have to be some other time. Until next time!

Gamer Culture: OverClock Remix

Overclocked Remix logo

OverClock Remix

In this new editorial series I wanted to go over different aspects of gamer culture. When video games you could play in your own home came on the scene a whole new world was created. Today there are so many different communities and groups within gaming that you could spend your entire life discovering and experiencing them. From blogs, to LAN parties to institutions dedicated to everything gaming, if you have a niche you can easily find a haven for it.

Now ever since the earliest games on the Atari as far as consoles and the Commodore as far as personal computers, music has been a very important part of the gaming experience. As gaming evolved the music did as well and entire scores were created for games performed by those self-defined as novice musicians to orchestra led presentations of music.

I personally became a fan of video game music after listing to some of the tracks from popular games such as Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog and Final Fantasy. In the past it was almost impossible to find the music from video games and if a soundtrack was created it was often only available in Japan.

Slowly but surely websites began to emerge that offered downloads of game music in the midi format. While it was not an exact representation of the music from the video game it at least gave fans something to keep of their own.

Later, more websites were born offering wav files of music. This was a golden age for game music fans as often the music was spot on and could be burned onto a CD. Almost at the same time specialty websites were created offering the direct sound file from a game meaning it was taken from the programing itself so it sounded exactly as it would on the game. For these files you would often need a specifically created program to play it although many created Winamp plugins so you could listen to authentic game music on your media player.

Then came something that for me personally changed the face of video game music. It started with a friend playing a song from Megaman 2 but it was slightly different with added beats and sound effects. When I asked what it was I was told it was a remix. From there I was introduced to the website Overclock Remix.

Overclock Remix was founded in 1999 and was created to showcase video game music as the art form that it is. OC Remix offers fans of video game music a place to remix and re-mastered their favorite video game music arrangements from all across the video game spectrum.  OCR showcases hundreds of re-mixers that have created thousands of remixed versions of video game music all free to download.

From there the site grew to what it is today, a place where fans, fanatics and students of video game music can go to listen, create, learn and remix video game music. You can even learn how to create remixes of your own and read the profiles of the original and remix composers.

I fell in love with this site and spent countless hours listening and downloading remixed versions of my favorite songs many that I play in my home, at the office and even in my car. OC Remix’s artists do not just take a song and make a few changes here or there. Sometimes a song is totally re-envisioned creating a completely new piece of music. These are true fans of video game music and offer it to the world free of change. In addition the remixes help preserve the essence of the original music and credit is always given to the original composer.

David “djpretzel” Lloyd is the founder of the site and after seeing many specialty music sites wanted to create a place where music from all gaming could be found so you can find music from platforms ranging from the Amiga to current systems today and everything in-between.

Music is undeniably a part of gaming culture and the remixes and mix masters from OverClock Remix have made their mark on it. If you like video game music you will love OC Remix and Obsolete Gamer recommends you check it out. They are an important part of gaming culture and gives us fans yet another outlet to enjoy our favorite past time.

Here is an arrangement of a few of my favorite OverClock Remixes.