Jake Kaufman

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Jake Kaufman
Jake Kaufman in December 2009
Background information
Birth name Jacob Kaufman
Also known as virt, virtjk
Born (1981-04-03) April 3, 1981 (age 34)
Occupation(s) Composer, remixer
Years active 2000–present
Labels Big Lion Music

Jacob "Jake" Kaufman (also known as virt or virtjk) (born April 3, 1981) is an American video game music composer. After starting out creating arrangements and remixes of video game soundtracks, he began his commercial composing career in 2000 with the score to a port of Q*Bert. He continued to compose music for games for the next couple of years, working primarily with handheld video games. In 2002, he set up the website VGMix, which hosts video game music remixes, and continues to administrate it. His career began to take off over the next few years, resulting in him transitioning jobs into a full-time freelance composer by 2005. Since then he has worked on several big-name projects such as Contra 4, Red Faction: Guerrilla, DuckTales: Remastered, and Shovel Knight. In 2015, he and Jessie Seely formed CSP Industries and launched a Kickstarter for [NUREN] The New Renaissance, a project that they call "the world's first virtual reality rock opera."[1]


Jake Kaufman was born on April 3, 1981. Kaufman dropped out of high school, with what he describes as "a total lack of work ethic and no concept of timeliness or organization".[2] He spent the next few years composing arrangements and remixes of video game music under the alias "virt". In 2000, Kaufman broke into the video game industry as a composer, with his first work being the Game Boy Color port of Q*Bert.[3] Over the next few years, he composed the music to several Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games. In 2002, Kaufman was one of the co-founders of the website VGMix, which hosts video game music remixes.[4] VGMix has been described as being just as influential as OverClocked ReMix, the other major video game music arrangement hosting website.[5]

During 2002-2005, his career as a video game music composer began to take off. By 2005, he was a full-time freelance video game composer.[6] He continues to compose music to increasingly big-name projects, such as Contra 4 and TMNT in 2007 and Red Faction: Guerrilla in 2009; he describes composing the soundtrack to a Contra game and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game as his "lifelong dream".[7] Kaufman contributed a track to the official arranged album of music from Ketsui: Kizuna Jigoku Tachi.[8] He was a full-time employee of Volition, Inc. while working on Red Faction, but in January 2010, he left the company to become the "lead audio guy" for WayForward Technologies, for which he had already composed several soundtracks such as those of Shantae and Contra 4.[9] For WayForward he first composed the soundtrack to Shantae: Risky's Revenge, the sequel to the game he worked on ten years prior.[10] Original Sound Version named Kaufman their Composer of the Year for 2011, based on his work on BloodRayne: Betrayal and Mighty Switch Force, as well as several other soundtracks and arranged albums.[11] Kaufman is married to Kristi Kaufman, and lives with her and their puggle Nugget in northern Los Angeles where WayForward Technologies is located.[7][9]

While working at WayForward, Kaufman composed music for the Shantae series, the BloodRayne series, and nearly a dozen other games. During this time he also composed music for independent games such as Shovel Knight. On November 1, 2014, Kaufman announced that he was leaving WayForward on mutual terms to work as a freelance composer and sound designer from his own studio, in order to be able to set his own schedule and choose his own projects.[12]


Video games[edit]


Other work[edit]

  • FX3 (2006)[13]
  • Kwakfest (compilation album, 2008)[14]
  • FX4 (2012)[15]
  • FX3 Remastered (2013)[16]
  • Choice Nuggets (compilation album, 2013)[17]


  1. ^ "[NUREN] The New Renaissance". Kickstarter. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, Jake. "Big Lion Music - Stuff I've Done". Big Lion Music. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Jake. "Big Lion Music - Q*Bert (GBC)". Big Lion Music. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  4. ^ Mieszkowski, Katharine (2002-03-18). "Hot Salsa Tetris". Salon.com. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  5. ^ Maragos, Nich (2005-10-12). "Gaming's Rhapsody: Fifth Movement". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  6. ^ Kaufman, Jake. "Big Lion Music - Game Soundtracks". Big Lion Music. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  7. ^ a b Kaufman, Jake. "Big Lion Music - About". Big Lion Music. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  8. ^ Carl, Larson (2009-10-06). "CAVE Music Interview With KETSUI Arrangers". Original Sound Version. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  9. ^ a b Kaufman, Jake (2009-11-20). "Big Lion Music - Wessiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide". Big Lion Music. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  10. ^ Greening, Chris (2010-09-28). "Jake Kaufman Releases Shantae: Risky's Revenge Album". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  11. ^ Napolitano, Jayson (2012-02-23). "OSV Composer of the Year Award 2011: Jake Kaufman". Original Sound Version. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  12. ^ Greening, Chris (2014-11-01). "Jake Kaufman becomes freelance composer and game designer". Game Music Online. Retrieved 2014-11-15. 
  13. ^ "Virt: FX3". 8bitpeoples. 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Kaufman, Jake (16 November 2008). "Kwakfest". Bandcamp. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Kaufman, Jake (1 March 2012). "FX4". Bandcamp. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  16. ^ Kaufman, Jake (4 June 2013). "FX3 Remastered". Bandcamp. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  17. ^ Kaufman, Jake (28 August 2013). "Choice Nuggets". Bandcamp. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 

External links[edit]