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Everything posted by Mini-Me

  1. My current TV can operate in 120Hz without any frame interpolation. Instead, interpolation is a menu option (defaults to "on" unfortunately). Without interpolation, a 60Hz source has each frame simply repeated twice, a 30FPS source has each frame repeated four times, and a 24FPS source has each frame repeated 5 times. (Technically, I'm not sure whether the refresh rate is slightly lower than 120Hz or whether 29.97FPS NTSC and 59.94FPS ATSC are very slightly sped up, but whatever.) 120Hz+ TV's are the only ones that can play 24FPS film sources back correctly. 60Hz TV's still have to do a progressive form of 2:3 pulldown, where even and odd frames get played back a different number of times. This creates judder, which is not seen on projectors in movie theaters. If you're interested in a theatrical 24FPS presentation of movies, you need a TV with a refresh rate that's a multiple of 24. Long story short: Unless recent TV manufacturers have removed the option to disable interpolation, you want a 120Hz/240Hz TV. (IIRC the purpose of 240Hz is to allow perfect playback for all 3D film sources too.)
  2. I hesitate to even write anything else after noiseordinance's poignant post, but something he (she?) said made me come to a sudden realization about Balance and Ruin: The vocals are fantastic in every song that has them. When it comes to video game music remixes, I usually consider English-language vocals to be a distraction on average and a cringe-inducing dealbreaker at worst. There have been exceptions in the past where I've enjoyed them, but most of the time English lyrics impose a foreign meaning on the song that I don't associate with the underlying music, or they seem too trite or shallow in comparison to do anything but detract from the overall package. A lot of the time, I find myself trying to "filter out" the lyrics in my mind, like they're an unwelcome noise layer I need to effortfully pretend doesn't exist. I've been listening to Balance and Ruin almost exclusively for the past few days, and noiseordinance made me realize that I never even considered "filtering out" the lyrics from any of the vocal tracks in Balance and Ruin. It never got to the point where I had to consciously ask myself whether I liked the vocals or not, because this time around, they don't sound or feel foreign or "tacked on" at all. They're an integral part of the music in Balance and Ruin, and these remixes just wouldn't sound complete without them. It's probably just a personal thing, but it feels like a bit of a watershed moment.
  3. Someone mentioned Final Fantasy VIII, which reminds me... Anyone else get a cool "Lunatic Pandora" vibe from parts of Flexstyle's "13th Floor Demonstration (The Magic House)" mix?
  4. You might already know this, but if the relative volume levels of tracks within an album bother you, you can run a ReplayGain implementation on it (specifically mp3gain if you're using mp3's) to embed metadata into each track, then set your player to follow its track-gain settings. This will set a consistent average volume level for each track. It's better to use album-gain when the relative volumes within an album are appropriate, especially if you're listening to something with gapless playback like classical or Pink Floyd, but track-gain is good for radio-style individual song playback, car playback, playing songs on shuffle, playing songs from an album with erratic levels, etc. mp3gain also has a mode that directly modifies the mp3 stream too, but it's mostly a last resort in case you're using a player that doesn't recognize ReplayGain metadata. (It's technically reversible as long as you don't tell it to clip your levels, but it's easy to accidentally lose the information needed to reverse it.) Then again, you referred specifically to mixing, not mastering...so if your problem is with the dynamic range of different instruments in specific tracks, you're pretty much up a creek unless you want to selectively apply dynamic range compression.
  5. zircon, thanks for your thoughtful and extended response! I'm going to expand on some of my earlier comments, since we seem to agree on more than I let on earlier. I'll bold my core argument so it's not lost in the sea of exposition. On the level of individual tracks, I totally agree with you that Balance and Ruin sets a new standard: The quality control was excellent, and you and McVaffe both deserve a great deal of credit for that. Thank you also for elaborating on the things you and McVaffe did to unify the album. I mentioned before that a lot does "happens to work together well," and it seems that was less an accident and more the result of careful work than I realized. On the subject of diversity, I want to come out right away and agree with one of your major points: Final Fantasy VI had a long soundtrack including a diverse mixture of styles, so no one style would have been appropriate for all of the tracks. Trying to fit "Terra" and "Devil's Lab" into the same genre and instrumentation for instance would probably be a train wreck. If you had tried to shoehorn all of Final Fantasy VI into a singular orchestral style, metal style, electronic style, etc., the result would be largely inferior to what Balance and Ruin actually is. I'll agree that the entirety of Final Fantasy VI shouldn't be forced into a single genre, but I think it's important to precisely define why that's the case: Is it simply because an album composed in a singular style would be boring, or is it because some styles are simply less naturally suited to specific source tracks than others? One of the premises of OC ReMix is that video game music is versatile, and the same source tune can be remixed into a broad variety of styles. This has been achieved countless times with countless tracks. Taking Locke for example, you have "Demake Some Money," "Locke's Theme for Brass Quintet," and "Smoke and Clouds." Theoretically, this same concept can be extended to create a death metal or orchestral or trance remix of every chiptune ever. By extension, that implies you could pick any arbitrary genre and make the entire Final Fantasy VI album conform to it...but we both know it wouldn't feel natural. Why is that? Why can't "Terra" and "Devil's Lab" be successfully remixed in the same style in the same album? Is techno/electronica/metal/industrial simply more definitive and naturally suited to "Devil's Lab" than orchestral? Is orchestral simply more definitive and naturally suited to Terra than techno/electronica? If either of those are the case, what does that say about e.g. Cyan? Is ethnic/orchestra better suited to him than dance club techno viking ("Dark Blue Substance (Cyan)"), or are they equally definitive? (I understand that particular track was a bonus track, but the point I mean to make is a general one.) What about Locke? My position is that the premise of OC ReMix is correct to a degree: These source tunes are quite versatile, and practically any style can squeeze new insights from a source tune...but they're not all equivalently accessible or definitive. Some styles are more naturally suited to certain tracks than others. Other styles might be equally valid, but they might have to dig deeper to gain subtler insights, and these won't always be readily accessible if the style is a drastic departure from the source material. Writing everything in the same genre is one approach to consistency, but I agree it wouldn't be the best for Final Fantasy VI. What if you combined "Orchestra Terra" with "All-Flute Orchestra Devil's Lab" in the same "all orchestral" Final Fantasy VI album? The genre would be consistent, and both tracks would provide valid insights at the individual remix level...but the two pieces would be at two totally different levels of accessibility. Terra would capture the tone and feel of the original piece, and it might be plausibly definitive, yet Devil's Lab would be an avant-garde interpretation aimed at gleaning new and subtle insights from the source material that more obvious genre choices drown out. For that reason, I'll agree with you that the comparisons to Chrono Symphonic, Random Encounter, and Blood on the Asphalt are not very helpful: The Final Fantasy VI soundtrack is simply too diverse to be effectively captured by a single style without sacrificing something more important. Instead, I think a better measure of creative consistency would be whether the album adheres to clearly defined interpretive and thematic goals that apply to the album as a whole. If the genres and styles differ, does the contrast follow some clearly defined set of interpretive "rules" that apply to the whole album consistently, or do some tracks follow their own rules entirely? Otherwise, is the album meant to capture the tone and feel of the original pieces? Is it meant to showcase avant-garde interpretations of the source tunes that showcase those characteristics in a completely new and mind-bending way? Is it an arbitrary mixture of the two? While Chrono Symphonic et al make for poor comparisons to Balance and Ruin, I do think the approach taken with Humans + Gears might have served as a model for a successful "tapestry:" The idea with Humans + Gears seemed to be to more heavily use natural instruments for the more human elements of the soundtrack and more heavily use electronic/synthetic sounds for the mechanical elements. The rules were also bent a bit at times, such as choosing the electronic style for "Dazil, City of Burning Sand," but they served as a guiding focus for the project, and they kept it strongly cohesive. The approach taken with Humans + Gears was risky of course, and its divisiveness was probably more coarse-grained: As XPRTNovice noted, it didn't work for everyone, and it was bound to essentially alienate anyone who didn't like the style(s) picked for the album. However, I think Humans + Gears epitomized the strengths of the album format by sharing a comprehensive artistic vision of the Xenogears soundtrack that simply couldn't be done in standalone OC ReMix format. I don't exactly mean to say that Balance and Ruin could have been replicated by standard OC ReMixes: It couldn't, and your comments about your process make that more clear. It adds a lot to the site, so what I'm really asking is just, "Could it have added more?" I mentioned in my earlier post, "The realm of coherence allows for plenty of variety, contrast, and stylistic dissonance, but it requires these elements to be meaningfully and thematically choreographed," and I think Humans + Gears achieved this by essentially choreographing two distinct aesthetics. Balance and Ruin was certainly more challenging, because it covered a much larger soundtrack more comprehensively, but - from the convenient standpoint of not having to do it myself - I think the same concept could be extended from two aesthetics to four, five, six, or however many were appropriate for such a diverse soundtrack. The point of a "fully conceptualized" Final Fantasy VI album would not be to eliminate stylistic contrast or force the soundtrack into a single genre, but to choreograph the contrast in a categorically structured and purposeful manner at a high level. There are a lot of "one-off" styles in the Final Fantasy VI OST, and "Spinach Rag" is a good example, but as you said, Uematsu's compositional sensibilities and production style maintained coherence throughout the soundtrack anyway. There's no way to fit "Spinach Rag" into the same narrow style as almost any other track, but that gap might be bridged by using a similar broad class of instruments and/or compositional techniques (e.g. "natural instruments") across the broad array of "playful" tracks. Similarly, imperial/Magitek-related themes might have their own style, Kefka-related themes might have theirs, battle themes might have theirs, situational epic/danger tracks might have their own, and character themes might be composed in a similar class of styles as well. Pieces that draw from multiple categories could be composed in a mixed or juxtaposed back-and-forth or textured style that ties the overall aesthetic together. There are probably an infinite number of ways to do a sensible breakdown, but I think the strength of the album format is that it presents the opportunity to do so meaningfully with an overall thematic intent. When I refer to character themes sharing a style, I don't mean it in a narrow sense either: Just because orchestral might naturally fit Terra doesn't mean "spaghetti western" is inappropriate for Shadow; spaghetti western is perfect for Shadow! It closely fits the tone and style of the original soundtrack, and it loosely fits the broad aesthetic used for most of the rest of the character themes in Balance and Ruin. You achieved respectable coherence in most areas most of the time...but some of the exceptions are so stark they're jarring, and that tended to "sharpen" a lot of smaller discrepancies in my listening. I'm glad you went into detail about the decision process "Smoke and Clouds (Locke)," because that was in my opinion the character theme that matched the others the least. (If we're including the bonus disc, "Dark Blue Substance (Cyan)" might top it.) Considering the track in isolation, I'd agree that it was intelligently constructed, and from a certain clever point of view it does capture Locke's adventurous and tragic qualities. Judging by the front page writeup, it seems a lot of thought went into every aspect of this...and yet it captures Locke and communicates the intent of his theme in a far more abstract and experimental manner than any of the other character themes, even Strago's. ("Aggressive Blue Magic (Strago)" was another track I thought was awesome but out of step with the rest of the character themes. To its credit though, it had a similar aesthetic to "Illusionary (Another World of Beasts)," which I tend to associate with Strago and Thamasa for story reasons.) "Smoke and Clouds (Locke)" is unabashedly avant-garde, completely unlike any other track on the album stylistically (especially the other character themes), and a departure from the source as well. Basically, it seems to follow its own unique rules of construction rather than any apparent album-level interpretive rules. This makes it perfect for OC ReMix, but like a number of other tracks following their own rules, it strongly contributes to what I'd consider the "patchwork quilt" feel of Balance and Ruin, as opposed to the "tapestry" design of Humans + Gears. I respect that you consider it an ideal fit for the album, but at the same time, its musical ties to the rest of the album are subtle enough that I have trouble recognizing them. (I suppose that's not surprising given I'm not musically educated, but still. ) To summarize, I agree that a Final Fantasy VI album shouldn't be composed in a singular style, and I don't mean to argue against a purposeful variety. Instead, I'm more concerned about the album format being weakened when individual tracks follow their own unique rules of composition/structure/instrumentation/etc. unlike any other album tracks (or the source), or when their similarities to other tracks don't follow any obvious structural or thematic pattern. Ultimately, I think the album format might benefit from more clearly defined compositional/interpretive rules on a categorical level, like expanding the concept of contrasting aesthetics used for Humans + Gears. Phew. Thanks again for your response! P.S. XPRTNovice, I'm definitely not referring to the clarinet here; I think it worked out great, actually.
  6. This thread has been enthusiastic and positive for the most part, so I hope I'm not out of line posting some constructive criticism. If there's any real problem with Balance and Ruin, it's a shortcoming shared by most OC ReMix albums: It suffers from a lack of overall creative direction and vision. Taken individually, the vast majority of pieces are gorgeous and eminently replayable, and I think this album has produced the most "five star" tracks yet...but taken together, I can't help but think the overall structure is somewhat disorganized and aimless. Ideally, a definitive reenvisioning of the Final Fantasy VI soundtrack would weave each piece into the fabric of a thematically cohesive greater whole. Instead, each piece stands alone here as a musically separate work, and the album as a whole fails to transcend the sum of its parts, however excellent they may be. Balance and Ruin is a comprehensive collection of great remixes from the same game soundtrack, but they include such an eclectic and disparate mixture of styles that they don't constitute a coherent album, let alone a definitive reenvisioning of the Final Fantasy VI soundtrack. Don't get me wrong: The realm of coherence allows for plenty of variety, contrast, and stylistic dissonance, but it requires these elements to be meaningfully and thematically choreographed. There's a lot in Balance and Ruin that happens to work together well, but overall it more closely resembles a patchwork quilt than a singular masterpiece. Each remixer was apparently free to independently remix each source track for arbitrary styles and genres. I understand this was probably a conscious choice, and there are advantages to this approach: It allows all of the artists to do what they do best, and it helps ensure there's something here for everyone. There's something to be said for that, but regular OC ReMix postings already serve that purpose well, and the prevailing disadvantage of adopting the same ethos for albums is that it inevitably fails to make the most of the format: Each song/piece is ultimately compartmentalized, much like randomly assembled Final Fantasy VI OC ReMixes would be. Aside from their release date, source game, and community of authors, what do these pieces really share in common? More specifically, what do they share musically? How do they take advantage of the album format, aside from giving a deserving game soundtrack a deluge of simultaneous (and comprehensive) high-quality coverage? "On the Run (The Returners)" is a great example of this incoherence, and I'm not singling it out here because it's "bad" in any sense. I'm actually singling it out because it's among my favorite "misfit" tracks, and I won't be tempted to criticize its individual quality in the slightest: It was awesomely creative, and I would have been thrilled to see it on the OC ReMix front page with a gushing write-up from DJP. However, I didn't listen to it as an individual remix. I listened to it as part of OC ReMix's definitive Final Fantasy VI remix project, and I kept thinking, "As cool as this is, does a piece from Final Fantasy VI: The 1980's Movie Soundtrack really belong here? Is there anything that musically ties it to the rest of the album?" Granted, the stylistically experimental "Smoke and Clouds (Locke)" had already dispelled any illusions I had about the album's consistency, and there are so many other pieces that don't fit with the tone of the original soundtrack or with each other that it's pretty much impossible to judge what belongs and what doesn't...but that's kind of the point. If pretty much any individual Final Fantasy VI ReMix would belong stylistically and thematically, can you really call it an album, or is it more of a compilation? It seems like a lot of project directors are consciously choosing the latter, but isn't a lot of potential lost in that choice? Since OC ReMixes already take the form of a massive compilation, wouldn't albums with a more unified thematic approach add the most to the site? I don't like writing criticism at all, because I know that everyone involved in this project poured their heart and soul into it and made outstanding music. More than a few of the tracks in Balance and Ruin are masterpieces in their own right, and I have too many favorites to reasonably list.* When it comes down to it, I'll probably be listening to tracks from Balance and Remix for as long as I live. Moreover, enough of them do work well together that I hesitate writing this critique. Still, I can't help but wonder what further greatness this album and so many others could have achieved with stronger and more specific high level creative/thematic direction. Chrono Symphonic, Random Encounter, Humans + Gears, Blood on the Asphalt, SSFIITHDR, Threshold of a Dream, and a few others rose above compilations to "fully conceptualized album" status. These albums proved it can be done with even such a diverse mix of artists, but some of the most highly anticipated projects with the richest source material continue to stumble in this area. I would love to see future albums overcome this limitation and rise to new heights by fully embracing their format and expanding upon the successes of more cohesive albums. Zelda Reorchestrated's Twilight Symphony recently set the bar for me in this area, and even though it's a challenge to coordinate so many artists, I was hoping Balance and Ruin would floor me again and set a new standard across the board. As it stands, I love the tracks individually, and many of them DO floor me...but I'm still left longing for what a fully conceptualized and definitive Final Fantasy VI OC ReMix album could have been. I haven't done anything here to earn anyone's respect, and I don't have any known musical talent anyway, so I'm in no position to command influence, nor should I be. Still, I'm hoping this critique might provoke some thought from people invested in OC ReMix about how future album projects might benefit from a more unified approach that takes advantage of the album format in ways that regular OC ReMixes cannot. Either way...thank you everyone for putting so much work into such great music! *I will however single out one for special praise: I never fully appreciated the Fanatics' Tower source tune, but Argle's "The Endless Stair (Fanatics)" remix is so deliciously creepy that I'll never look at the source the same way again. That, and I can never get enough of Oren/Robson collaborations...or enough of...actually, I'm going to stop before I reference more than half the album.
  7. My first guess is that Zircon and Sixto wanted to thematically differentiate their take on Dancing Mad from some existing standout efforts, given Prince of Darkness covered a lot of the chaos with "Prancing Dad," and Derek Oren and Jeremy Robson still have an ongoing multi-year epic-in-progress with Cantata for Dancing (well, it's still ongoing as far as I know...I might kill myself if they permanently cancel it). EDIT: Nevermind, Zircon beat me to it with a firsthand answer, but at least I guessed right.
  8. I tried listening to Balance and Ruin twice, but it's terrible in its entirety. There's not a single good remix in the whole thing, and I feel like I have to shred my whole hard drive after this atrocity touched it. Would it be too much to ask for a do-over? Wait, nevermind...I must be thinking of Unbalanced and Ruined. (...which was actually pretty enjoyable btw.) Really though, I was still downloading Balance and Ruin when I went to bed last night, and I'm finally up and ready to listen straight through on repeat all day. I'm just about to start, and I just hope I can hear each piece over my screaming anticipation for The Impresario, among other things. I've looked forward to this album project since before it was ever officially conceived, and finally it's here...thank you guys SO much!
  9. I did a forum search here, and I was pretty shocked to see that nobody here seems to have discussed Zelda Reorchestrated's Twilight Symphony since sometime in 2011. It's a three and a half hour long reorchestrated version of the Twilight Princess soundtrack. ZREO released a couple thousand limited edition copies back in November 2012 (after which point it went up on torrent sites), and they originally planned to market digital copies with Nintendo's blessing, but that fell through as of April I believe. Now, their website is going to be shut down for good on June 12. Since their marketing plans fell through, the ZREO site is encouraging people to download a copy of their magnum opus to enjoy what they've been working on for so long. I have nothing to do with the project, but I feel terrible for them that so few people seem to actually know about their work outside of the hardcore Zelda fanbase: Twilight Symphony is a complete masterpiece that far exceeds their earlier efforts, and I really think it deserves a lot more attention from the game remix community as a whole. I'm nowhere near as critical as many of the musically educated people here, but the production values on Twilight Symphony seem top notch, and the arrangement quality seems consistently excellent throughout the entire three and a half hour long album. They even took some OC ReMix-like liberties with the source material. I never really appreciated the Twilight Symphony soundtrack all that much in the past, but this is just beautiful, and it's heartbreaking to see ZREO go out with so little fanfare and recognition for their completed final work. (Just check out how few views their Youtube videos have...ugh!) Anyway, I'm hoping to spread a bit more awareness for Twilight Symphony in ZREO's final days, and I strongly encourage everyone here to check it out! Here's a Youtube link to a video they put up from the opening track: ...and here's a time lapse video of their charcoal album art being created:
  10. Oh yeah, you can avoid them. You just have to be careful not to bump into them.
  11. I have a couple of Skyrim role-playing examples: When I played the Diplomatic Immunity mission, I made a point to kill all the Thalmor I could...but then I spent an extra half hour dragging all the Thalmor bodies into the best hiding spots I could find and making sure no limbs were poking out conspicuously. That way, other Thalmor making a quick inspection wouldn't notice anything obviously amiss, other than the quietness and lack of guards. (This was quite difficult outside, because the game didn't want to let me drag bodies uphill...) When one of them dropped his glass sword, I stuffed it in a cupboard so nobody would see it on the floor. Also, whenever I find an NPC who obtained their wealth dishonestly or otherwise wronged someone, I go in their house and take or eat all of their food...ALL of it, sparing nothing. I also take all of their "fine" clothes and jewelry, etc. Maven Black-Briar must be getting pretty hungry in my game, but I sadly don't have the right perks to steal her clothes off her back and replace them with a blacksmith's apron. I'm the head of the Thieves Guild myself though, so I need to be careful not to be a total hypocrite: Whenever I have to steal from good NPC's for the Thieves Guild, I make sure to compensate them with a ton of extra business or by dropping off extra valuables in their containers. I could also say that I always sniff the instruction booklet every time I get a new game, but...apparently that's really common here. Please say you made an exception for the poor Imps and Roly playing with each other and minding their own business in Truce Canyon. I have to talk with everyone too. In fact, I have to explore every possible non-mutually-exclusive dialog option, and if I'm allowed to give multiple answers to the same question repeatedly, I have to make sure I answer with the most polite option last, before I leave an NPC. If I die or forget to save after a conversation in a game like Skyrim or Mass Effect, I force myself to go through the entire dialog tree again, even if taking the "cut the conversation short" options the second time around would change nothing about the game.
  12. Ooooooooooooooooohh... This remix needs more views and comments! I'm not qualified to offer any kind of constructive criticism, and I'm not familiar enough with the source either...but IMO this mix is wonderful. EDIT: Oh, okay, I just noticed my time zone wasn't set properly, since I wasn't logged in. The OP was only a few hours ago, but when I first posted, I thought it was a full day ago. Still, this track is probably worth a "Y NO POSTS?" after only a few hours anyway.
  13. I noticed this thread was recently posted in, and nobody else mentioned this so far, so: If anyone's looking for pieces that used to be OC ReMixes but were removed from the "canon" for whatever reason, you can check out the OC ReMoved archive here: http://www.doulifee.com/Storage/OC_Removed/
  14. It's been a few years, but I remember enjoying Ninja Gaiden II a bit less than the first one too. I beat it (can't remember if I was on Path of the Warrior or Mentor), but I was kind of relieved when it was over. The worst thing about it was the camera angles: The game zoomed in a lot so you could see how awesome you were, except that meant you couldn't see the body parts that some werewolf behind the camera was about to throw at you. You'd think you're doing really well, and then all of a sudden...BAM! You get rocked in the face with a hefty torso that would have broken the speed limit on the Autobahn. It does a ridiculous amount of damage and knocks you off guard, and you immediately get torn to shreds afterward. If I want to die before I ever see it coming, I'll play a game that mimics real life war. When I play a ninja game, I want to play a total badass capable of defeating anything without a scratch...as long as I don't make a totally avoidable mistake, of course. Ninja Gaiden II didn't make me feel that badly though. At least it wasn't Barbie: That game frustrated me to no end when I was a kid, because it made me feel like a total moron getting trounced by a little girl's game. Anyway, the least satisfying games I've ever played were dissatisfying mostly because they didn't live up to my expectations: For instance, I've held for years that the worst purchase I ever made was Quest 64. I can't remember much of it, only that I beat it in 12 hours or so, but it was so generic that it felt long. I also received an early NES-caliber ending for my trouble. It probably wasn't actually bad enough to deserve my everlasting judgment, but I was ravenous for N64 RPG's by the time it came out, and it just couldn't deliver...disappointing. The runner-up would be the Halo Anniversary Edition: The original Halo multiplayer has been a minor religion in my extended family for years, and we were all so pumped to finally play it on Xbox Live after years of it being the most fun - and only online-incompatible - Halo game. (It was also the only Halo with a single human gun that I could fairly call futuristic: The "God" pistol. That's how video game guns are supposed to be in future settings with FTL travel...you know, more proficient than they are today, such that assault rifles don't take thirty shots to kill someone.) Anyway, all our dreams were cruelly shattered when it turned out the Halo Anniversary Edition would only include revamped single player (better graphics, narrower field of view, and strangely breaking some of the facial animation in cutscenes) and Halo: Reach multiplayer with cheap imitations of a few Halo maps. "Least satisfying" indeed, in the sense that they delivered everything but what we wanted. The most frustrating games I've ever played - in and of themselves - are probably all older games with poor play control. I've repressed many of my memories here, but the Castlevania series comes to mind: It's one of the most beloved and classic series in all of gaming, but the controls were always so restrictive (especially around stairs) that I never could got very far before gently putting down my controller before I snapped and murdered it. Medal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty would be a more modern game I can't play for the same reason. I don't know why they're so difficult for me to get the hang of though...so many gamers love both and have no issues. OH, WAIT: Speaking of issues, the most frustrating game of all for me is Portal, because it's such a fantastically good game...and I can't play it without feeling horrendously nauseous. I'll start to feel sick if I even WATCH it for more than a few minutes, and the feeling won't go away for a while either. Any game based on Valve's Source engine (except Counterstrike: Source IIRC) seems to do this to me...or at least, Half-Life 2 did as well. I only got an hour or two into that before calling it quits forever. It probably has to do with the narrow field of view. I can't change it in Portal (Xbox), and Half-Life 2 kept fighting me and reverting whenever I tried to change it back in the old days (wrong command series probably, but I just stopped caring before figuring it out). Regardless, I hate that freaking brown note of a game engine, and I used to play twitch shooters like Unreal/Unreal Tournament for thousands of hours (not in one sitting) without issue. There's another recent game that made me a little queasy too, and it surprisingly wasn't a Source engine game, but I can't remember what game it was. All I remember was it only happened once, and it wasn't half as bad. I never played E.T. though.
  15. One of these years, OCR needs to make its April Fool's joke last a whole week...and escalate the "seriousness" of the change every day of that week. That might really freak someone out. Like Project R2K said, I always make a point to check out the OCR April Fool's joke. I know that the whole Internet goes ablaze on April 1st, but it's always OCR that I think of first. I'm still meaning to check for open suites at Koji Condo...
  16. I've seen the writing on the wall for a while, but I just wanted to voice my opinion that I'm really unhappy with this change. I spoke with the mods, and it turns out that the old tracks are not simply being redone to conform to the new standards: The original links are being taken down tomorrow morning until the new revisions are complete! I'd say this is unacceptable, but I know my opinion is pretty unpopular around here: I know that vocals are the way of the future, in the same way that FMV games revolutionized the industry after the release of the Sega CD. I just wish there was still room in the world for instrumental tracks. If anyone else is like me and likes the original ReMixes, I recommend downloading them from the site torrents ASAP: The seeders will be around for a while, but the links to the torrents are being taken down as we speak. Quick question: Is Cantata for Dancing still okay, or will it be retrofitted to have English vocals arranged in verse/refrain/verse/refrain/bridge/refrain structure?
  17. Thoughts? Stick to music, Jeremy Soule...not helping to repress people with dangerous and unconstitutional legislation written on behalf of lobbyists. Bills like this are a prime example of why Congress has such low approval ratings; the public is sick and tired of the corruption.
  18. Okay, I got chills when she sang the tune of the main theme. Great find!
  19. Wow, I seriously cannot believe it's already been a month and a half since the release date. I waited that long to praise this album? Geez. I'll keep this relatively short. This whole album was/is fantastic, and my only misgiving is that Theophany's haunting "Avien" and was released simultaneously but not as part of this great collection (well, that and Gabriel Terracciano and Shnabubula's Suite for Violin and Piano). Sam Dillard's gorgeous "Into a Green World" in particular is one of the best game remixes I've ever heard (but I guess everyone else has already said how much Sam Dillard came from out of the blue to make their heads explode with awesome; the video was cool too, btw ). For that matter, Mercury Adept's "In the Beginning..." is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard, period. Its understated but captivating tone makes it a perfect opener (much like Level 99's "Quickening" was the perfect opener for "Humans + Gears" two years ago). It floored me when I first heard it, and I felt sure that it would receive epic amounts of praise, but it doesn't look like there have been many reactions. (I think the whole album is similarly "underrated," but I'll focus on this one.) The first three quarters expertly convey the eerie theme of being all alone on a strange alien planet, and the timing and tension between each note is chilling. This dual sense of beauty and hidden danger is intertwined with more lighthearted playing, and it vaguely reminds me of the contrast between The Wingless's "One Girl in All the World" and "All the World in One Girl." The whole thing just carries so much nostalgia and emotion that I wish we could get a whole album of Mercury Adept playing the piano like this. It sounds like he put his whole heart into playing it. Either way, I couldn't help but to put my whole heart into listening to it. Excellent, excellent job.
  20. I'm with a lot of people on this page: If the game designers put thought into making 100% completion a reasonable challenge, I'll sometimes do it. I don't know if I've ever beaten Super Metroid without first making sure to get 100%...it just seems wrong to let all those items go uncollected. The same goes for other Metroid games, Mario games (I still need to go back to Super Mario Sunshine before I'll be satisfied), and Zelda games. I made sure to unlock all the cheats in the original Goldeneye, I beat the weapons in FFVII, etc. With a lot of those older classics - and some newer Nintendo games - 100% completion is fun and rewarding. The problem is, developers have increasingly abandoned the idea that 100% completion should be for people who want to get a little extra out of their game. Instead, 100% completion is now for people willing to treat the game like a full-time job, and trying to attain it is usually a monotonous slogfest. Why would I want to spend hundreds of hours collecting spheres in Final Fantasy X to erase the whole sphere grid, replace the spheres with better ones, and complete the whole thing with all the characters again? That's not playing a game; that's working on a grueling project. There are so many collectibles in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl that it's not even worth attempting, and I'm tired of trying to get a Danjuro in Final Fantasy XII, too. The highest achievements in Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 games are usually in the same vein, and they're made so absurdly time-consuming to obtain that they make you feel hollow instead of proud after earning them. TVTropes has a good example: It might have taken me a month or more to get all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 back in 1996, but I knew that however long it took, it was dependent on my skill. If I had been good enough, I could have done it all in a day. It's just a totally different story with the "collect one million roses" kind of achievements (World of Katamari), which actually demand an excessive time investment no matter how good you are. Even though I rarely attain a true 100% though, I don't always stop at just "getting to the credits," either. I guess I create my own personal standards for "reasonable 100% completion." I wouldn't feel satisfied beating Mass Effect without completing all the side missions, but there's no way I'm going to play through a bazillion times to get all of the achievements (which are impossible to earn on a single playthrough). Speaking of Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 is probably one of the most reasonable modern games to get 100% completion in. Completing the loyalty missions, saving my whole crew, and completing all the side missions is just a given for me, and the only obstacles left in the way of 100% completion are relatively reasonable, e.g. beating the game on insane difficulty. I'm not actually going to DO that, but I can see why people consider it a fulfilling challenge. In short, I think it comes down to this: I have respect for challenges that reasonably test my skill or curiosity (i.e. thoroughness while exploring)...but I don't have respect for challenges that are constructed exclusively to test my patience or amount of free time. (I wouldn't have respect for unreasonable tests of skill either though, like "complete the whole game on the hardest difficulty level without getting hit once." ) This thread makes me think of the million hit combo in God of War 2...
  21. This all sounds great, but I do have a minor concern. In the first three months of 2011, OCR only released five albums, and there are 38 left to go according to the announcement. At this rate, only 20/43 will end up getting done by the end of the year. That's a sizable number, but it just doesn't cut it. I understand that the pace will probably pick up, but I worry that some of these projects might be rushed to meet the end-of-year deadline implicitly set by the press release. Are we more likely to see delays, or rushed projects and quality issues? Aside from quality concerns, it would be a shame if a whole bunch of these released at once. I've been waiting on something like Tiger Woods PGA Tour HD Remix my whole life (or a good bit of it at least). It's an underappreciated soundtrack, and I really think it deserves its time in the OCR spotlight before being bumped off by the next album. All that said, I'm really pumped about the rest of the year. Play!'s new Castlevania arrangement proves that Bloody Hell can be remixed at LEAST 100 more times before getting old, and hearing all of the arrangments back to back would be a fantastic. Next to underrated gems like ET: The Lost Tracks, the rest of this year should truly be something special!
  22. I'm not as familiar with the music from Link's Awakening as I am with music from other Zelda games (or other remix albums), but I have to say that this just might be the most polished and professional album project yet. From the beautiful tracks to the album art to the website, the entire project maintains a consistent personality, atmosphere, and style that's just overflowing with quality from all sides. I'm not a synesthete, and I'm not on drugs, but when I listen to this music and admire the album art, it feels like I can nearly taste them. This album greatly exceeded my expectations, and I really hope to see more done in this fashion. Combined with the artists' and web designer's talents, prophetik's direction and well-defined concept made this album into something truly special. It's a shame it didn't get the chance to spend a longer time in the front page limelight, but everyone involved should feel immensely proud.
  23. Wow! I usually lurk without commenting on mixes or even albums, but this one struck me with such force that I had to compliment it. It infuses me with so much energy that I wish I could bottle it up and sell it as a Powerthirst knockoff. I agree with Striker21 that the mix would have been even more fun and playful with the original snazzy time signature (not that I know anything about time signatures), but it's just too good to focus on my quibbles. If anyone's shopping for a new religion, this track just might be it.
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