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*NO* 3D Pinball: Space Cadet "Into the Black Hole"


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Main ReMixer name: TheManPF (User ID: 35318)
Additional artists: Zach Chapman; Ian Martyn
Game: 3D Pinball: Space Cadet
Name of arrangement: Into the Black Hole
Songs arranged: Main Theme (https://youtu.be/Zyyn5rvmJ9I)
Original composer: Matt Ridgway
System: Windows
Year: 1995
Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves... we're going to SPACE
This track was arranged in October 2022 for Dwelling of Duels, theme Maxis games, I thought it would be fun to try to cover something that doesn't have "Sim" in the name, then I found out Maxis developed the space cadet pinball game that came with my Windows pc all the way back in the late 90s, I used to be a computer games kid, so I played this a lot, along with a lot of other small, shitty computer games. I never knew this game had music though.
I expanded on the original motif a lot, and even sprinkled a few references to other pieces of music, namely "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss (more commonly known as that one song used in 2001: A Space Odyssey), and "Sun of Nothing" by Between the Buried and Me, I only changed the key so as to fit with the space cadet's theme (SIKE, they're actually in the same key already, what are the odds????). Everything else in the arrangement is developed from the motifs of the main theme of the space cadet, the melody is very fast, so in a lot of parts I break it down into smaller chunks or use it as a background element so as to not overwhelm, since I try to go for more of a slow burn with this. I also used a bunch of NASA recordings (they're publicly available on their website) for the intro and outro.
In this story, an astronaut is tasked to explore the first ever black hole, and slowly starts up their spaceship, and blasts off into the void of space. Slowly but surely, they get closer and closer to the black hole, but just as they're about to make it, they get scared, and decide to turn around and float into the sun instead (where Sun of Nothing comes up). During this reflective moment, they try to collect themselves and decide if this is a task worth doing, but eventually, they get motivated, and regain their strength back, turning around and once again flying into the hole, getting closer and closer until everything gets distorted into a big crunch. The ending reflects that this astronaut reached the black hole, but whether they survived or not is up in the air.
I actually came up with this story long after the song was done, which is a super fascinating thing to me, how you can come up with interpretations for pieces of music that weren't necessarily thought about when they were made, this is the image this song brought to me, but anyone else is free to have their own interpretation! Yay!
This song placed 3rd out of 13 tracks in Maxis month, with the help of my awesome friends Zach and Ian, who played bass and synths respectively. I did everything else aka arrangement, sequencing, mix, and electric guitars.
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Mixing's was feeling indistinct until 1:41; nothing hugely dragging it down, but it wasn't ideal. Also didn't like how the source melody on strings got buried by the lead synth at 2:02; at least the bassline's registering the theme as well.

Piano sample at 2:40 is thin and mechanical-sounding; yes, at 2:57, please, go away, piano, don't come back. :-P Better guitar stuff after that. Mixing on the strings at 3:34 is too soft and doesn't let that part be audible enough, but the overall treatment of the theme remains strong.

4:14 seems like this may be the section referencing "Between the Buried and Me", at least all the way 5:08, maybe until 5:45.

"3. Any incorporation or arrangement of source material not from games (mainstream, classical, etc.) should be extremely limited."

Also taking the Strauss into account from :24-:59, I've gotta go NO just based on that guideline, which is unfortunate, but one of the fun things about DoD entries (invoking other rock songs) that's only cool at OCR in smaller doses.

The arrangement's a pass otherwise, so maybe like 30 seconds of non-VGM arrangement would be cool with me, but going beyond that's a non-starter. :'-( It's a solid track; if you were open to an OCR edit, would love to have it posted in some form!

NO (resubmit)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2023/12/09 - (1N) 3D Pinball: Space Cadet "Into the Black Hole"

had no idea this game had music. i don't know if i had speakers on the computer that i played this on.

sfx to start. the reference to ASZ is overt, but i'll note that ASZ has entered the zeitgeist for some time now so i don't feel too bad about the inclusion here. track kind of starts at 1:21, and we start to get a beat at 1:41 which is solid. love the the chordal approach here, and the lead is a perfect patch. agree with larry that the melody could have been clearer in that section.

lead guitar at 2:55 is pretty treble-heavy, i found it to be kind of grating, especially in the chorded parts of this section. the subsequent section does indeed quote Sun of Nothing for quite a while. it's not quite a minute. as i am part of the reason this policy exists, i can just say i feel you ? that said - this is a track that is nearly eight minutes long (if you include the sfx elements, which i do, since it's integral to the concept), which makes the quote ~12% of the track. i'm actually ok with the length of the reference. 

the track continues trucking through some really great shreds until we get back to some more sfx to finish it out over some piano.

this is an awesome concept. if indeed it does get rejected, i'd love to hear a version that trims enough of the reference elements from Sun of Nothing to be allowable here. really neat work.




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  • prophetik music changed the title to 2023/12/09 - (1YBOITSANAHAFR/1N) 3D Pinball: Space Cadet "Into the Black Hole"

I took a quick listen to this paying specific attention to the quoted section. I think djpretzel summed this up pretty well in the decision referenced by Brad above, and I think it still holds true. He wrote:


I suppose I'm the bad guy on this one, so let me throw in my two cents...


Problem is, it's not clearly, first and foremost, a game music arrangement. I don't want to open the floodgates to similar mash-ups, however well-crafted, where Mega Man is fused with Creedence Clearwater or Luther Vandross mixed in Final Fantasy or ABBA spliced with Sonic. It's not a direction I think the site needs to go in, and it's not a direction I want it to go in, either.

The submissions standards have been revised with the addition of the following text:

[url=http://www.ocremix.org/about/?artid=4 said:
Submission Instructions & Standards]Please ensure that submissions are primarily composed of arranged game music plus your own original additions. Any incorporation of non-game music (mainstream, classical, etc.) should be very limited and should never carry significant portions of the mix. For example, a Mega Man mix that used Beethoven's 9th symphony for its chorus, where 15-25% of the mix was not from the game itself, would likely be rejected.

This does indeed suck for the mixers, who've put together some good, enjoyable music, but I simply feel that posting this would be setting a precedent for even more liberal mash-ups, and the idea is to honor game music by reinterpreting it - while melding it with external sources is a creative and musical act, or at least can be as these artists have shown, in my book it doesn't jive with the site's mission statement, and is similar to our existing rule that popular movie themes like Star Wars which happen to be used in games don't "count" either.

More than two cents, I know, but the music was good and the mixers deserved a more thorough explanation.

In full agreement here, and while Dave was referencing a different work, it holds true here: I think this is a good arrangement but the non-VGM quotes are too substantial, IMO. The brief Strauss quote is fine, but the extended BTBAM quote just takes up too much of the piece. It'd be nice to see a revised version for OCR, but also I get the artistic choices at play here. As it stands though, it's a NO.

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2023/12/09 - (1YBOITSANAHAFR/2N) 3D Pinball: Space Cadet "Into the Black Hole"

Thanks to Shariq for going back to the original context of when this Standards revision came into place. I'll just say for the record that it's up to the panel to interpret and even potentially revisit or reshape the guidelines; I'm OK with the rough usage limitations we have now and don't want to change them.

I want to be clear in my POV that while the Strauss quote is legendary (big Ric Flair/wrestling fan here), and I could potentially let that cameo go on its own (or a BTBAM cameo quote on its own), we shouldn't be making many exceptions saying that any non-VGM is so popular/ubiquitous that we could overlook extensive usage. The Strauss usage being 30 seconds already feels to me like it's more than "extremely limited" usage; even if it were used for a minute, and even if the arrangement is 8 minutes long, I'm choosing not to look the non-VGM cutoff as a proportion, but more of a time limit.

It'll sound like I'm saying there's 0 wiggle room/flexibility, and I'm sure you can find ReMixes posted since this added guideline that could run afoul of this (one of which we'll revisit). But "extremely limited" feels to me like cameos only, not dedicated or extended non-VGM sections.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Took me a while to find the problem, because the part of Sun of Nothing that's referenced doesn't start until 7:50 in that song.

I'm actually borderline on the Strauss; it's very obviously derived from Also sprach Zarathustra, but there are differences. They're not major differences, but they are differences. If I had to make a judgment call about it, I'd be waffling a lot. Fortunately I don't have to, because the Sun of Nothing reference is much longer and closer to the original, as well as more complex. I don't like rejecting this, and it's a real shame that we have to.


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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2023/12/09 - 3D Pinball: Space Cadet "Into the Black Hole"
  • 4 weeks later...

Well, I wasn't a fan of the Strauss intro - far too overt usage, but then good on you for clueing us in to the Sun of Nothing usage, because chances are low any of us are familiar enough with that song to make the connection. Imagine if someone stuck a minute's worth of Stairway to Heaven in the middle of their track... it's not gonna fly unfortunately, so thanks for pointing out the reference material, however obscure it may be.

If you do revisit this one, could you do something about the oscillating panning on the strings and subsequent synth from 1:45-2:39 and then 2:58-3:34? It's so distracting having them move around like that - better to keep them in one place, or drastically reduce the amount of movement.

Would love this one to get on the site in some form, but it'll need a major rework. Great track and concept, though!


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  • Liontamer changed the title to *NO* 3D Pinball: Space Cadet "Into the Black Hole"
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