With every industry comes enterprise – possibilities for trendsetting that rise from the efforts of those willing to branch out from the norm.
David Lloyd, an entrepreneur within the video game industry, is more often recognized by his online moniker, djpretzel. By day, he is a software-coding programmer who spends long days in a cubicle, attending meetings and listening to the din around the water-cooler.
But as soon as this ends, he makes his way home to focus on his brainchild for the better part of the last seven years: OverClocked.
A website that started as a simple comic about djpretzel and a few friends who shared an interest in emulated gaming, OverClocked had a good two-year run, with djpretzel amassing fans who enjoyed his clever satire. As time progressed, djpretzel turned to another of his pastimes, digital music composition, into a part of the OverClocked community. This separate site, now the primary focus of the OverClocked community, is called OverClocked ReMix. The name OverClocked, says djpretzel, was used from the early days of the comic strip “simply because it sounded cool," and the term “ReMix" was a hip way of describing the rearrangement of a musical piece from a video game. More than a mere remix, tracks from video games are given extreme overhauls, rearranged by a member of the OverClocked community and submitted for review by djpretzel. If a piece meets his standards for quality and originality, they are given a review and then posted on the main site, www.ocremix.org.
”I work full time as a software developer for my local government, so my usual day involves a lot of coding – see the film Office Space and you"ll get a general idea," djpretzel said. “I"m a really musical person, so whether I"m coding, commuting or even sitting in a meeting, I"ll always be listening to or thinking about music in my head. It occurred to me that combining the two would be a great way to express appreciation for games and game music while also getting better at producing music myself."
This fascination with digital composition has seen the OverClocked community flourish into a fully functional host for anyone seeking to share their work. While djpretzel is adamant about keeping OverClocked a strictly non-profit interest – the revenue generated via advertising and merchandise sales are barely enough to pay for the enormous bandwidth the site requires – he admits that the work involved is both recreational and vocational.
”It definitely feels like both at times," djpretzel said. “I"ve learned a boatload about MySQL, PHP, and various web technologies in working on the site, and I can apply all of that to my job as a software engineer. While OverClocked doesn"t pay the bills directly, it"s like a form of training, as I learn quite a bit."
With the attention djpretzel pays to programming, it seems as though his work options are limited, though he isn"t without contingency. On the contrary, he followed the lead of his two older sisters and earned a degree in English.
”Something involving writing has always interested me," he said. “Perhaps as a film critic, since there seem to be so few decent ones left. As far as working on different websites, I can"t imagine putting as much time into anything other than OverClocked, because it"s unique. It"s paid back in getting to hear dozens of great submissions and in the appreciation visitors express."
The video game interests of this Fairfax, Virginia native are many and varied, though lately it"s been all about fighting titles.
”Street Fighter Alpha 3, Guilty Gear XX, Soul Calibur III, Last Blade 2, and the original Street Fighter 2 have all chewed up huge amounts of my time," djpretzel said. “I think I was four or five when my whole family got hooked on ColecoVision."
He has a respectable library of games for each of his many consoles, with his favorite system being either the Sega Master or Genesis system. “Phantasy Star I and II were my first real RPGs, and while I haven"t played a lot of games in the genre, those two were fantastic," djpretzel said.
He hasn"t shown much interest in PC gaming, however. “I realized early that I could easily get addicted to online gaming in particular, and that it would take too much time away from things that I not only enjoyed but also considered productive and creative. I"m still going to buy Unreal Tournament 2007 the nanosecond it comes out, mind you."
A Democrat and atheist, djpretzel has never been one to set store by tradition or standard, as is reflected in his work. In addition to the OverClocked community, he hosts a personal website (www.djpretzel.com) which boasts his considerable talents with writing, art, anime, film review and, of course, musical composition. This site is also djpretzel"s blog, which generates plenty of readers interested in learning more about him and hearing his missives and ravings about almost everything. On a side note, he won a spelling bee in sixth grade.
When asked if he had anything to say to PSU students, he replied, “If you haven"t checked out the OverClocked community yet, and this all sounds terribly geeky, just clear your mind of preconceptions and check out www.ocremix.org – there are many different musical styles are represented, there"s something for everyone, and you don"t really even need to be into gaming to appreciate it. All that"s required is a love of music."