Brian Schmidt – PA178

How do you do justice describing Brian Schmidt‘s contribution to gaming? His impact on the global trajectory of games has been immense. There’s no doubt in our minds that Brian is one of the most important figures in videogame history, and we couldn’t be more honored to have him joining us on the show. This next paragraph is only a portion of what Brian has been up to for the last 35 years or so.

Brian Schmidt began his career in games at Williams around 1987. He soon began working on music and sound programming on iconic pinball games like Swords of Fury and Black Knight 2000, as well as the infamous arcade game NARC. He later went freelance and worked on mechanical and redemption games, dozens of licensed pinball games like Data East‘s Batman and many for Sega. Fun fact: the 1991 Batman pinball game was the first to use Brian’s BSMT2000 hardware board designed for sample playback which went on to see use in pinball games for around 10 years. He then went to Electronic Arts and did sound for a ton of console games like Crüe Ball, Desert Strike, Mutant League Football and a variety of sports games. He contracted with QSound to work on 3D imaging in stereo sound and helped create the hardware used for in a number of games, including many Capcom CPS2 arcade machines. Eventually he moved onto Microsoft where he created the audio architecture for the Xbox and Xbox 360, as well as creating the OG Xbox startup sound. In 2009 he created GameSoundCon, the premier conference for industry professionals to learn how to write and implement music for games. He has been the current president of Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) for over a decade, an network of audio professionals based around growing the influence and legitimacy of video game music globally. G.A.N.G. along with many other groups paved the way for the recent acceptance of videogame music as a Grammy category. He’s currently the audio director and composer for Digital Dreams Entertainment‘s recent games Mutant Football League 1 and 2, spiritual successors to the EA games he worked on all those years ago.

We had the privilege of talking with Brian about his entire career in games from the very beginning to the present. We cover tons of FM music, pinball, NARC, the Pixies, QSound, EA Games, the Xbox, and his current work on Mutant Football League. This is definitely an episode to catch and we are absolutely thrilled to share it with everyone. If you’d like to learn more about Brian, check out Brian Schmidt Studios where you can see his game credits among many other things.

Track List:

All tracks composed by Brian Schmidt unless otherwise stated

  • 0:00:02 Space Station – Main Theme (Pinball – 1987)
  • 0:06:25 Swords of Fury – Pre-launch, Main Theme, Ball Lock, Two Ball Lock (Pinball – 1988)
  • 0:13:05 (Excerpt) “Lionman vs. Balrog” Swords of Fury cover by Stemage
  • 0:26:58 Black Knight 2000 – Main Theme (Pinball – 1989) co-composed with Steve Ritchie
  • 0:37:42 Black Knight 2000 – Multi-ball composed by Dan Forden
  • 0:39:23 NARC – The Stick (aka K.R.A.K. Street) (Arcade – 1988)
  • 0:46:23 (Excerpt) “Theme From Narc” cover by the Pixies
  • 0:48:22 Batman – Main Theme (Pinball – 1991)
  • 0:55:09 Checkpoint – Jazz (Pinball – 1991)
  • 0:58:11 Checkpoint – Classical
  • 0:59:39 Checkpoint – Rap
  • 1:01:13 (Bedding) Checkpoint – Soul
  • 1:04:56 (Excerpt) “Virtual Haircut” binaural audio demo by QSound
  • 1:07:03 Crüe Ball – Stage 6 (Genesis – 1992)
  • 1:10:59 Desert Strike – Main Theme (Genesis – 1992)
  • 1:13:43 Madden 95 – Halftime (SNES – 1994)
  • 1:19:14 Madden 97 – Menu (PS1 – 1996)
  • 1:21:08 NBA Live 97 – Song 3 (Genesis – 1996)
  • 1:28:23 Xbox startup sound (Xbox – 2001)
  • 1:46:16 Mutant Football League – Cold Steel and Ice (Various – 2017)

Big thanks to ctr for his work on QSound support and ValleyBell for help with Checkpoint/Batman audio dumps. Appreciate it!

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