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The Monkey Bob

What is wrong with people?

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Video game music has pretty much become mainstream in Sweden. Anyone here who is geniuenly interested in music is bound to be at least a bit familiar with it, and find it appealing. There was a show on national radio a few years ago dedicated to VGM and chiptunes, and there are nightclubs playing it occasionally. Though the radio show is over, I still hear Mario and Mega Man music being used as jingles every now and then.

I wish I knew this back when I was in that far off land. I would have been pumping up the volume. :-P

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I simply only tell most folks who made it. Then, when they're really into it, and are asking for more, I drop a small hint. Not much, just enough that they're suspicious. That's sufficient for me - if they like it, they'll now seek it out themselves.

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I think listening to movie soundtracks is weird :<

Maybe because most hollywood soundtracks are just generic orchestral ambient garbage. Very few movie soundtracks are memorable to me.

Same can be said for VGM as a whole.

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Video games? Too nerdy. Anime? Too Wapanese. Indie music? Too obscure. Television shows? TVSSUCKNOWADAYSHURRR.

I agree, the prejudice people have with all sorts of media wholesale is annoying. Either say you are not acquainted with them or simply never got in touch with them instead of finding excuses to bash it. Also, people who come up with those kinds of putdowns should realize how unoriginal and unreasonable they're truly being.

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most peepz haven't grown the respect for the uematsu' or mitsuda's and they don't realize how high the quality can be.

A few issues here: First, we don't need the public to appreciate only a few "great" artists -- movies have had this problem for a long time. Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Williams, Elfman...they're all great composers, but they're individuals out of hundreds.

Similarly, even though it might be easier to get people started with Jeremy Soule and Nobuo Uematsu, we need to continue to seek out new names to add to the collective list of what's "good." If you haven't heard anything by an older American VG composer, go check them out (Mazedude's American album is a good place to start if you're looking for names). Find a young guy that's only done one game, but done it very well -- play that music to people instead of the big names.

Oh, and if you think playing VG music to friends and peers is difficult, try playing a track or two for a musicology (history) professor. He even grudgingly admits to me that orchestral music is moving out of concert halls and into movies/games, and as a result he doesn't care for much music from any entertainment media.

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You know, as much as people criticize, I can assure you that a bunch of those who dislike vg mixes solely because they are game music still would be able to recognize the first seven notes of the Super Mario theme. Everyone knows the Mario theme, and a logical extension of such widespread popularity of a piece of music is the arrangement thereof. In pop music, a song that is really good (or even really mediocre) gets covers from other artists, or reversions from others in the industry. They start with a song they like and rearrange it. The same applies to OCR, but the source material is different. Should that make such a difference as to render this music without purpose? No. I think the only purposeless music is that which espouses views demeaning women and glorifying the drug/violence culture. Some people like it, but I have the same feelings about that as those who dislike VG music in all of its iterations.

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A few issues here: First, we don't need the public to appreciate only a few "great" artists -- movies have had this problem for a long time. Max Steiner, Bernard Herrmann, Williams, Elfman...they're all great composers, but they're individuals out of hundreds.

Similarly, even though it might be easier to get people started with Jeremy Soule and Nobuo Uematsu, we need to continue to seek out new names to add to the collective list of what's "good."

just to clarify, i was referring to all the top composer's out there. I totally agree with you about adding more names to the collective.

i think that we all can't deny that the genre has come a long way in the last decade. Its only going to get better and more respectable as we see more quality music coming out. people will get over it and games WILL have a certain level of respectability as hollywood, we're just not there yet.

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Had a conversation today with a friend, he showed me some great guitar intro he had on his phone. I said I don't listen much to bands nowadays, more to vgm remixes. He said he wasn't into trance.

...after which I showed him Wanderer on the Offensive and Not So Ordinary People. He liked 'em.

Start by wrecking their preconceptions.

Should have shown him Blue Vacation too.

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I think it's the same reason that when people see an average movie they have to go on about how terrible it was... people convince themselves that they have good taste and high standards by putting down art that doesn't match their narrow tastes exactly. They declare themselves experts and try to make themselves feel important by stereotyping certain groups together and declaring it all to be crap.

On a broader level, it's the same problem that is at the root of things like racism. The only real difference is that most people have recently come to realize how ridiculous that line of logic is... but only in one particular situation. They will continue to judge and stereotype art because frankly, art isn't as quantifiable as skin color and art can't fight for it's rights.

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Hmm, I've had a lot of people look down on my music. I guess most people here listen to a combination of vg music and the more typical stuff, but I overwhelmingly listen to the former. More recently, when I started going out with my girlfriend a few months ago, she hated everything about games, thinking that they are a waste of time, and the fact that they are so central to my life almost jeopordized "us" ever even happening. One day on a trip to Washington state, I showed her the minigames in New Super Mario Bros., and now we sometimes play video games literally all day.

The point in this little story is that people change, and I feel it is important for us as patrons of sites like this one to not get discouraged when we hear negative things being said, and to introduce people to the medium and its branching components. Eventually people will come around. That being said, however, I still haven't been successful in convincing her about game music. She just doesn't like music without words, and game music isn't really saturated with that stuff yet. She did, however, admit that the songs from Donkey Business had better beats than the originals, and she DID like "Toxic Caves" from Sonic Spinball, so you never know.

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With all this discussion, it makes me wonder if making VG remixes more acceptable to society will be of any benefit. I guess I'm being too much of a pessimist, but considering how prejudice people can be, is it worth it to really try to open peoples' eyes to every individual variation from the styles and "norms" they accept, when we're all going to die anyway?

Let's just save ourselves the trouble and take a nap, eh?

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Well when people haven't played a game system since the NES and someone mentions VG music, they're probably wondering why you like 8-bit chiptune-ish music.

The sad fact is that many people aren't aware of the countless arrangements, rearrangements, rock overs, and orchestrations of game music that has already progressed leaps and bounds in the past decade or so, let alone the game industry itself. For many folks, it all just means Nintendo or Atari.

Of course then we have those like my older brother who makes humorous comments such as "Guitar Hero is a game kinda like that DDR thing, but with real music."

It goes both ways. There are people who are genuinely ignorant of the medium's progress, and then there are dumb assholes. However I have had favorable responses to my music of choice. While the Aria di Mezzo Caratere was playing on my speakers, both my mother and sister(who is an opera soprano) instantly fell in love with it. My mother and a few other girls I know like Ayumi Hamasaki after listening to "Depend on You" from back when I bought Thousand Arms, and my aunt loved "Opening" for Xenosaga Ep.II as well as the entire soundtrack for Ep.I. My sister kept on singing the melody to "Umi no Kiseki" from Record of Lodoss War a long while back as well.

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I guess I'm imagining a whole scenario where you kind of have to trap them.

When they express an interest and ask "Who is this by?", first respond with some questions of your own: "Do you like it?" And even more specifically: "What do you like about it?"

Once you have these answers, only then tell them it's a game remix/from a game soundtrack. If they then nevertheless suddenly perform an about-face and express contempt/disinterest, move on to the next set of questions:

"I thought you said you liked it? Specifically because of (insert reason given here)?"

"Why has the context in which the music appeared suddenly altered your opinion of it? Does it still not sound exactly the same as when you told me you liked it?"

"Why, in your view, does the fact that it was composed for a game negate the talent and skill of the composer, which you praised mere moments ago?"

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If you talk like that in casual conversation your friends have a right to call you a dork, OCR or no.

I wouldn't be so negative on that. If you're dealing with an otherwise logical individual, you can end up opening their eyes further to greater understanding. If you're dealing with someone who refuses to be logical over such an ultimately trivial matter, you probably have better people you can deal with.

I catch flak from some of my friends initially when I tell them the majority of the music I listen to is instrumental game music or remixed game music. Usually then I express my opinion that most pop music is dreck and the songs are always about either love or other inane, cliche topic. While I certainly have no problem with love, I get really sick hearing about it lyrically all the goddamn time. Usually expressing that sort of opinion opens the door to further discourse and normally leads to acceptance.

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Intelligent, rational discussion is one thing. Speaking like a psychiatrist is another. (I am mainly referring to the last couple of sample "questions.")

Also, be careful what you say. There is a difference between popular music and "pop music." A great deal of the "indie" bands I like, such as Voxtrot, write what are essentially pop songs, but they are far from formulaic. Pop boils down to a focus on harmony and melodic hooks, not any particular subject matter, and a lot of it can be very engaging, lyrically.

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Take it as a precisely worded written template, and feel free to apply the dialect which best suits your region, social class, level of familiarity, etc. e.g. "Why you be hatin' on my music, man," or "Thou wretched knave! Verily, mine game music doth rock."

I write like a text book in order to avoid the ambiguities of meaning which can arise in a more conversational style.

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Intelligent, rational discussion is one thing. Speaking like a psychiatrist is another. (I am mainly referring to the last couple of sample "questions.")

It can be done to humorous effect, effectively. It makes the whole situation awkwarder for the hypocrite/narrow-minded individual because they realize how they are getting royally grilled for their change of heart, perhaps giving them a sense of indebtedness because of how obvious their change was.. but of course, that approach is not for the faint of heart, nor for someone to be doing on those other than friends... it smacks of pretentiousness and, lulz, it wouldn't really get your argument anywhere if you sound like a twerp about it.

....unless.. you were a real psychologist/psychiatrist.. then you could charge them for your services afterward :D

Or if you were doing a commercial about it. I can see this whole conversation between two fairly calm, quiet, rational individuals taking place outside a residence next to a car take place, and it would be the perfect segue into a whitewash Chinese restaurant plugging.

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I'll tell you exactly what's wrong with people.

There's six and a half billion of us on this planet, and we all want the same things. Naturally, we get in each other's way and hold each other back by stepping on the heads of the people who can help us get ahead and then stabbing them in the back once we're up there. Generally I think we all have the opinion, deep down, that everyone else sucks and is totally deserving of contempt. Irrational, unfounded contempt, but contempt nonetheless. Just take what happens when you have to share the road. A few other cars, no problem, you're cool. Things pick up a bit, you can maybe see three or four cars immediately ahead of and immediately behind you, you start to get a little irritated. And then as things escalate to actual traffic, whether it's moving at a steady pace or standing still, and you're ready to bite someone's head off.

Same thing in the workplace. A few people, a tightly-knit group that meshes well, stuff gets done. A larger group, you might not know everybody as well as you like, a little bit of tension and that one asshole who never seems to do anything all day. Fifty or more people and you're in Office Hell.

We don't work well in groups unless someone's blowing our shit up.

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Take it as a precisely worded written template, and feel free to apply the dialect which best suits your region, social class, level of familiarity, etc. e.g. "Why you be hatin' on my music, man," or "Thou wretched knave! Verily, mine game music doth rock."

I write like a text book in order to avoid the ambiguities of meaning which can arise in a more conversational style.

First of all, this post amused me greatly. More people need to speak in Ebonics and bastardized Dungeons and Dragons dialects.

Hmm, I've had a lot of people look down on my music. I guess most people here listen to a combination of vg music and the more typical stuff, but I overwhelmingly listen to the former. More recently, when I started going out with my girlfriend a few months ago, she hated everything about games, thinking that they are a waste of time, and the fact that they are so central to my life almost jeopordized "us" ever even happening. One day on a trip to Washington state, I showed her the minigames in New Super Mario Bros., and now we sometimes play video games literally all day.

The point in this little story is that people change, and I feel it is important for us as patrons of sites like this one to not get discouraged when we hear negative things being said, and to introduce people to the medium and its branching components. Eventually people will come around. That being said, however, I still haven't been successful in convincing her about game music. She just doesn't like music without words, and game music isn't really saturated with that stuff yet. She did, however, admit that the songs from Donkey Business had better beats than the originals, and she DID like "Toxic Caves" from Sonic Spinball, so you never know.

I believe the Great Pretzel realizes that a lot of people think like this. It's a big part of the site's mission, and it's one that we have become more and more successful in carrying out. I'm a cynic myself and realize that most people are full of crap when it comes to music. However, Hobo is right: people do change... you might not be able no convince some particular individuals, but you can't deny that the public is becoming more and more accepting of vgm in light of things like Video Games Live, the Chiptune scene, the success of "novelty" bands like The Minibosses, and this site. Even Timbaland has managed to get chiptune-esque music into the Top 40, however unethical it may have been.

I think this is why I'm okay that djp & co. set the bar for accepted remixes so high. Simply put, you can't (as the old mission statement used to say) prove that this music "is as intricate, innovative, and lasting as any other form" with stuff like a lot of the pre-1000 remixes. It has to be quality.

I've also noticed that this site (maybe not the judges, but a lot of the reviewers and remixers) has a bit of a bias against vocal remixes, which is a bad thing when dealing with people who only like songs with words. I'll be the first to admit that I actually prefer the remixes that have words over the ones that don't, but there really aren't that many. If you want to ease people into OCR, you've got to ease them into it with music that would sound good to their ears... and there a lot of people out there that our current remix selection doesn't reach. (Read: more vocal remixes plz)

EDIT: I for one, think ferret has some good points there... don't know if I agree with all of them, but in general, he makes a good case. If you've got a problem with what he said, then argue your point. Don't just throw insults and big words that make you feel smart.

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I'm sure I'm just echoing what some people have already said, but here's what I've been thinking today...

That people see the kind of music you like as a reflection upon the kind of person you are. You see this sort of stuff turn up as a 'getting to know you' kind of question - "What kind of music do you like?".

It may not necessarily be right, but people apply stereotypes. For example, if you say you like Classical, they may view as intelligent, old fashioned or even slightly snobbish.

Saying you like video game music indicates a kind of deep geekery, because you would go to the extent to not only play a game, but become so engrossed with it that you listen to the music from it outside of it's original context. As such, people generally don't want to be associated with it.

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I've also noticed that this site (maybe not the judges, but a lot of the reviewers and remixers) has a bit of a bias against vocal remixes, which is a bad thing when dealing with people who only like songs with words. I'll be the first to admit that I actually prefer the remixes that have words over the ones that don't, but there really aren't that many. If you want to ease people into OCR, you've got to ease them into it with music that would sound good to their ears... and there a lot of people out there that our current remix selection doesn't reach. (Read: more vocal remixes plz)

Totally agree with you here. Although I'd go further to say that when you do have a vocal mix that will appeal to people outside OCR, it's got to have lyrics that are relevant to the game itself (or irrelevant, it doesn't matter), but not directly expressing that they are from that game. Something with a deeper meaning than the words that are there. Nothing against vocal mixes that don't do this, I'm just saying that a remix like Hale-Bopp's Charade is more likely to appeal to people outside OCR than some others. This is a perfect example of how lyrics can be both relevant to the game remixed, but not so blunt that you know he is singing about playing Mario Kart.

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srsly Just don't tell people it's game music.

I've had friends listening to game music for years and I just told them the composer or arranger's name. Only for them to find out years later it's from a video game. Then you can't deny.

My friend is a massuse and I give her plenty of game remix CDs to play during massage. She says people will always say, "That's such nice music! Where can I buy that?" She just grins.

You don't have to tell people where it comes from. Leave it to their own devices.

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srsly Just don't tell people it's game music.

I've had friends listening to game music for years and I just told them the composer or arranger's name. Only for them to find out years later it's from a video game. Then you can't deny.

My friend is a massuse and I give her plenty of game remix CDs to play during massage. She says people will always say, "That's such nice music! Where can I buy that?" She just grins.

You don't have to tell people where it comes from. Leave it to their own devices.

Agreed, because in the end it doesn't matter where the music is FROM, but what the music IS.

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