Rob Hubbard

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Rob Hubbard (born 1955,[1][2] Kingston upon Hull, England) is a British composer best known for his composition of computer game theme music, especially for microcomputers of the 1980s such as the Commodore 64. His work showcased the potential of the Commodore 64's sound hardware and provided many examples of how appropriate music can improve the gaming experience.

Early career[edit]

In the late seventies, before scoring games, he was a professional studio musician. He decided to teach himself BASIC and machine code for the Commodore 64.

Gremlin Graphics[edit]

Writing a few demos and some educational software for learning music, he approached Gremlin Graphics in 1985 with samples of his work, in an attempt to market his software. Gremlin was more interested in the tunes than the software, and he was asked to create the soundtrack for Thing on a Spring, a platform game.

Hubbard went on to write or convert music for over 75 games between 1985 and 1989 such as Monty on the Run, Crazy Comets, Master of Magic and Commando. Some of his most popular tunes include also Warhawk, Delta, Thrust, Lightforce, Spellbound, Sanxion, Auf Wiedersehen Monty and International Karate. The game Knucklebusters includes Hubbard's longest tune: a 17 minute opus. Hubbard has mentioned his personal favourites are Kentilla, WAR and Sanxion. He has stated that he had many musical influences including Jean Michel Jarre, Synergy and other synth bands.[3]

During this time Hubbard mainly composed for the Commodore 64's SID sound chip.

Move to Electronic Arts and the USA[edit]

After working for several different companies, he left Newcastle in 1989 to work for Electronic Arts in America as a composer. He was the first person devoted to sound and music at EA, and did everything from low-level programming to composing. One of his most famous compositions during his period at EA is the music featured in the loading sequence of the C64 version of Skate or Die, which features samples of electric guitar. Playback of samples was facilitated by exploiting a flaw in the SID sound-synthesizer chip: altering the volume register produced an audible click, and altering the register thousands of times per second enabled a crude form of sample playback.[4] He eventually became Audio Technical Director, a more administrative job, deciding which technologies to use in games, and which to develop further.

After the Commodore 64 period he wrote some soundtracks for games which appeared on the Amiga, Atari ST, IBM PC and Sega Mega Drive.

Recent activities[edit]

Hubbard recently contributed a few re-arrangements of his themes to Chris Abbott's C64 tribute Back in Time Live. Hubbard has performed several times with the Danish C64 cover-band PRESS PLAY ON TAPE who have covered many of his early tunes using a full rock-band arrangement.

Hubbard has also performed his old music on piano with the support of violinist and fellow chiptune composer, Mark Knight aka TDK / madfiddler.

In 2005, music from International Karate was performed live by a full orchestra at the third Symphonic Game Music Concert. The event took place in Leipzig, Germany. Hubbard arranged and orchestrated the piece.

Hubbard left EA in 2002 and returned to England. He has recently resumed playing in a band, and has even revisited his past game music work in concert. Recent composition jobs have included music for mobile phone games.

His original SID music can be found from The High Voltage SID Collection though emulated SID music occasionally sounds quite different compared to authentic SID sound.

The SOASC=[1] collection offers the HVSC#49 files in .mp3 format which were recorded on real C64 machines.

Compositions[edit]

Compositions by Rob Hubbard
Title Publisher Release Notes
Commando Elite Systems 1985 based on theme from Commando arcade game
Rasputin Firebird 1985 features traditional Russian songs
BMX Kids Firebird 1985 the sampled voice saying "Go!" is actually Hubbard himself!
Monty on the Run Gremlin Graphics 1985 inspired by Devil's Galop by Charles Williams
Thing on a Spring Gremlin Graphics 1985
Confuzion Incentive Software 1985
Crazy Comets Martech 1985
Master of Magic MAD/Mastertronic 1985 inspired by "Shibolet and an End to History" from the Synergy album Audion
The Last V8 Mastertronic 1985
Action Biker Mastertronic 1985
Formula 1 Simulator Mastertronic 1985
Hunter Patrol Mastertronic 1985
One Man and His Droid Mastertronic 1985 inspired by Police Woman theme (a long version with strings) by Henry Mancini
Battle of Britain PSS 1985
Harvey Smith Showjumping Software Projects 1985
Up, Up and Away Starcade 1985 cover of a song by The 5th Dimension
Deep Strike Durell 1986
Bump Set Spike Entertainment USA 1986
Ninja Entertainment USA 1986
Chimera Firebird 1986
Gerry the Germ Firebird 1986
Proteus Firebird 1986 based on two songs from John Keating´s album Space Experience
Thrust Firebird 1986
Warhawk Firebird 1986 the same song as "Proteus", an intro added
Lightforce FTL 1986
Geoff Capes Strongman Challenge Martech 1986
Samantha Fox Strip Poker Martech 1986 credited as John York because as he said "[it] was such a cheesy title and they wanted that cheesy lame music along with it - I didn't want to admit that I did it just for the money". Contains "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin
Tarzan Martech 1986
W.A.R. Martech 1986
Zoids Martech 1986 based on the track "Ancestors" from the Synergy album Audion
Flash Gordon MAD/Mastertronic 1986
Spellbound MAD/Mastertronic 1986
Hollywood or Bust Mastertronic 1986
Human Race Mastertronic 1986
Kentilla Mastertronic 1986
Phantoms of the Asteroid Mastertronic 1986
Video Poker Mastertronic 1986 contains "Easy Winners" by Scott Joplin
Knucklebusters Melbourne House 1986
International Karate System 3 1986 inspired by Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Forbidden Colours" from "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence"
Sanxion Thalamus Ltd 1986 in addition to Hubbard's famous loader song, this contains "Dance of the Knights" from Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet"
Jet Set Willy Tynesoft 1987 Atari 800 version
ACE II Cascade 1987
Saboteur II Durell 1987
Sigma 7 Durell 1987 Commodore 64 arrangement by Hubbard; Amstrad original by Julian Breeze
Thanatos Durell 1987 Commodore 64 arrangement by Hubbard; Amstrad original by Julian Breeze
Thundercats Elite 1987
Arcade Classics Firebird 1987
I-Ball Firebird 1987
Hydrofool FTL 1987
Shockway Rider FTL 1987
Auf Wiedersehen Monty Gremlin Graphics 1987 with Ben Daglish
Chain Reaction Kele-Line 1987
Mega Apocalypse Martech 1987 Re-arrangement of "Crazy Comets"
Nemesis the Warlock Martech 1987
Wiz Melbourne House 1987 contains a melody line from Premiata Forneria Marconi song Impressioni Di Settembre
Bangkok Knights System 3 1987
IK plus (International Karate plus) System 3 1987
Dragons Lair Part II Software Projects 1987
Star Paws Software Projects 1987
Delta Thalamus Ltd 1987 partially based on the title track of Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack by Philip Glass
Trans Atlantic Balloon Challenge Virgin 1987
Goldrunner Microdeal 1987 contains the same song as "Human Race"
19 Part One: Boot Camp Cascade 1988 an interpretation of Paul Hardcastle's "19"
Jordan vs. Bird: One on One Electronic Arts 1988
Kings of the Beach Electronic Arts 1988
One-on-One 2 Electronic Arts 1988
Power Play Hockey Electronic Arts 1988
Skate or Die! Electronic Arts 1988
Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble Electronic Arts 1990
Pandora PSI Soft Design/Firebird 1988
Ricochet Firebird 1988
Q-Ball Mindscape 1988
688 Attack Sub Electronic Arts 1989
Budokan: The Martial Spirit Electronic Arts 1989
Indianapolis 500: The Simulation Electronic Arts 1989
Kings of the Beach Electronic Arts 1989
Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs Electronic Arts 1989
Populous Electronic Arts 1989
Low Blow Electronic Arts 1990
Ski or Die Electronic Arts 1990
The Immortal Electronic Arts 1990
John Madden Football EA Sports/Imagineer 1990
PGA Tour Golf Electronic Arts 1991
Road Rash Electronic Arts 1991 with Michael Bartlow
Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf Electronic Arts 1991 with Brian L. Schmidt
Road Rash 2 Electronic Arts 1992 with Don Veca and Tony Berkeley
The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel Electronic Arts 1992
Desert Strike Electronic Arts 1992
NHL Hockey '95 Electronic Arts 1994
From Bedrooms to Billions 2014

References[edit]

  1. ^ ZZAP! 64, October 1985
  2. ^ Happy Computer 7/86
  3. ^ http://trondal.com/c64sid/rhubbard.html
  4. ^ Paulie's SID Music Page (A Fourth Channel section) (6 April 2008). "SID Music". 

External links[edit]