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Team Fortress 2 Character Voice Remixes are a series of YouTube remix videos infusing audio samples from the Valve first person shooter Team Fortress 2. Initially starting as Bonk Songs, using the Scout character’s catchphrase to recreate songs, they evolved to include pitch-shifted or auto-tuned clips from all TF2 characters.
The idea of pairing popular songs with audio samples of Team Fortress 2 characters was discussed on the Team Fortress 2 Fort forums as early as October 23rd, 2007. Months later in early 2008, this idea was executed for the first time with a YouTube video titled “Bonk Song,” featuring the TF2 character Scout’s voice and the NFL on FOX theme song. Although the video was taken down after allegedly receiving a DMCA notice, it went onto inspire hundreds of other remixes bearing the same title and the audio sample. Meanwhile, similar audio-splicing techniques had been demonstrated prior to the creation of “Bonk Song,” most notably through YouTube Poop Music Videos as early as 2005.
Throughout the first half of 2008, “Bonk Song” remixes continued to surface on YouTube, pairing the TF2 character’s voice sample with popular songs by Lady Gaga and Ke$ha, as well as video game theme songs. On February 26th, 2008, one of the most notable “Bonk” remixes featuring the Mortal Kombat theme song was uploaded by YouTuber cyber046, which has received more than 2 million views as of July 2012.
The prolific creation of Bonk remixes eventually led to spin-off videos featuring other TF2 characters’ audio samples, one of the earliest instances being “Heavy Yells TF2 Theme” uploaded by YouTuber SlaughterDog on August 5th, 2008. The video paired various in-game voice samples of TF2 character Heavy with the the game’s main theme song, which made it sound as if Heavy is singing the song. As of July 2012, the video has 432,711 views and has been shared on Facebook 423 times.
Outside of YouTube, videos of TF2 songs have appeared on WN.com, PC Gamer and humor site Jest. Discussion about these types of videos have taken place on GameFAQs, GameSpot, the forums for the Divinity-X gaming community, the Escapist and GameTrailers. In August 2009, a mod for TF2 was uploaded to ModDB containing an auto-tuned voice pack for the game, making it easier for video remix artists to manipulate the characters into singing. In April 2012, YouTuber CombatBlackful started a series titled “Team Fortress Revolution,” using TF2 source material to recreate songs from the Dance Dance Revolution series. By July, the user composed four of these videos but none broke 1000 views.
As of July 2012, a YouTube search lists 2870 results for Bonk Songs and 2070 results for “Team Fortress 2 Sings.” However some of these videos in the latter search are lip dub-style, just using source material from the game instead of the sounds and voices.
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