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"It's unbelievable, how he make the C64 sound like ten voices with only three."

Arguably the most popular game composer of the eighties (ask anyone who owned a Commodore 64 and they will mention the games he scored), and one of the greatest sources of inspiration in the industry. Rob Hubbard was a professional studio musician in the late seventies and early eighties who taught himself BASIC and machine code for the Commodore 64.

Writing a few demos and some educational software for learning music, he approached Gremlin Graphics in 1985 (29 years old) with some samples of his work, to attempt to market his software.

Gremlin were more interested in the tunes than the software, though, and he was asked to do Thing on a Spring, a bizarre platform game, where the protagonist was, well, a thing on a spring (sometimes, I miss the early days of computing). The theme, a fitting mixture of violins, electric guitars, and amusing basslines, was accepted. His unique talent for writing catchy, yet complex tunes was immediately discovered by Commodore-users everywhere.

Already in his first year in the business, he landed contract after contract, writing and covering themes for blockbusters such as Monty on the Run, Crazy Comets, Master of Magic and Commando, many of which are his most popular.

But Rob did not slow down, he continued, with International Karate, I-Ball, Auf Wiedersehen Monty, etc, etc, etc. In fact, he was so busy, he didn't have time to code an editor, and resorted to transcribing the music from keyboards to pure assembly (like so many others at the time). After writing the machine code, one had to create an interface for the other programmers, and at the same time keep the whole thing at (preferably) less than 10 Kb.

After working for several different companies, he went to America, leaving Newcastle, United Kingdom, to work for Electronic Arts in 1989 as a composer. He was the first person devoted to sound and music at EA, and did everything, as he says: "Music, programming, SFX, PCs, MIDI, Drivers, tools."

Not long after starting at Electronic Arts, Rob was promoted to Audio Technical Director, a more administrative job, involving deciding which technologies to use in the games, and which to develop further.

During the last couple of years, Rob has been short on time, and hasn't been able to compose anything. He did manage contributing a few re-arrangements of his classics to Chris Abbott's Back in Time C64 tribute. The Danish cover-band Press Play on Tape have covered many of his early tunes using a full rock-band arrangement with great success.

Oh, and by the way, don't call him Ron, he hates that - he is not related in any way.

Ludography (sorted by year, publisher, title):

  1. Commando (Elite, 1985)
  2. Rasputin (Firebird, 1985)
  3. BMX Kids (Firebird, 1985)
  4. Monty on the Run (Gremlin Graphics, 1985)
  5. Thing on a Spring (Gremlin Graphics, 1985)
  6. Confuzion (Incentive, 1985)
  7. Crazy Comets (Martech, 1985)
  8. Master of Magic (inspired by the Synergy album Audion) (MAD/Mastertronic, 1985)
  9. The Last V8 (MAD/Mastertronic, 1985)
  10. Action Biker (Mastertronic, 1985)
  11. Formula 1 Simulator (Mastertronic, 1985)
  12. Hunter Patrol (Mastertroic, 1985)
  13. One Man and his Droid (Mastertronic, 1985)
  14. Battle of Britain (PSS, 1985)
  15. Harvey Smith Snowjumping (Software Projects, 1985)
  16. Up Up and Away (Starcade, 1985)
  17. Deep Strike (Durell, 1986)
  18. Bump Set Spike (Entertainment USA, 1986)
  19. Ninja (Entertainment USA, 1986)
  20. Chimera (Firebird, 1986)
  21. Gerry the Germ (Firebird, 1986)
  22. Proteus (Firebird, 1986)
  23. Thrust (Firebird, 1986)
  24. Warhawk (Firebird, 1986)
  25. Lightforce (FTL, 1986)
  26. Geoff Canes Strongman Challenge (Martech, 1986)
  27. Samantha Fox Strip Poker (he's credited as John York in this one, because as he says, "[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") (Martech, 1986)
  28. Tarzan (Martech, 1986)
  29. W.A.R. (Martech, 1986)
  30. Zoids (Martech, 1986)
  31. Flash Gordon (MAD/Mastertronic, 1986)
  32. Spellbound (MAD/Mastertronic, 1986)
  33. Hollywood or Bust (Mastertronic, 1986)
  34. Human Race (Mastertronic, 1986)
  35. Kentilla (Mastertronic, 1986)
  36. Phantoms of the Asteroid (Mastertronic, 1986)
  37. Video Poker (Mastertronic, 1986)
  38. Knucklebusters (Melbourne House, 1986)
  39. International Karate (System 3, 1986)
  40. Sanxion (Thalamus, 1986)
  41. ACE II (Cascade, 1987)
  42. Saboteur II (Durell, 1987)
  43. Sigma Seven (Durell, 1987)
  44. Thanatos (Durell, 1987)
  45. Thundercats (Elite, 1987)
  46. Arcade Classics (Firebird, 1987)
  47. I-Ball (Firebird, 1987)
  48. Shockway Rider (FTL, 1987)
  49. Auf Wiedersehen Monty (with Ben Daglish) (Gremlin Graphics, 1987)
  50. Chain Reaction (Kele-Line, 1987)
  51. Mega Apocalypse (Martech, 1987)
  52. Nemesis the Warlock (Martech, 1987)
  53. Wiz (Melbourne House, 1987)
  54. Bangkok Knights (System 3, 1987)
  55. IK+ (International Karate +) (System 3, 1987)
  56. Dragons Lair Part II (Software Projects, 1987)
  57. Star Paws (Software Projects, 1987)
  58. Delta (inspired by Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon and Philip Glass - Koyaanisqatsi) (Thalamus, 1987)
  59. Trans Atlantic Balloon Challenge (Virgin, 1987)
  60. Nineteen (Cascade, 1988)
  61. Jordan vs. Bird: One on One (Electronic Arts, 1988)
  62. Kings of the Beach (Electronic Arts, 1988)
  63. One-on-One 2 (Electronic Arts, 1988)
  64. Power Play Hockey (Electronic Arts, 1988)
  65. Skate or Die (Electronic Arts, 1988)
  66. Pandora (PSI Soft Design/Firebird, 1988)
  67. Ricochet (Firebird, 1988)
  68. Budokan: The Martial Spirit (Electronic Arts, 1989)
  69. Indianapolis 500: The Simulation (Electronic Arts, 1989)
  70. Kings of the Beach (Electronic Arts, 1989)
  71. Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs (Electronic Arts, 1989)
  72. Populous (Electronic Arts, 1989)
  73. Hard Nova (Electronic Arts, 1990)
  74. Low Blow (Electronic Arts, 1990)
  75. Ski or Die (Electronic Arts, 1990)
  76. The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel (Electronic Arts, 1992)
  77. The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo (Electronic Arts, 1996)
  78. World War II Fighters (Electronic Arts, 1998)
  79. X Squad (Electronic Arts, 2000)
  80. Rumble Racing (Electronic Arts, 2001)

Sources: MobyGames.com. RobHubbard.co.uk, STIL/HVSC, Google, www.pressplayontape.com, my own shoddy memory

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