Bomb Jack (GameBoy) – PA183

In this bite-sized installment we’re exploring the soundtrack from Bomb Jack on the Nintendo GameBoy composed by the legendary DMG DJ, Alberto José González.

Bomb Jack released on the Game Boy in the UK in 1992 and Sweden in 1993. Adapted to the handheld  by Bit Managers and New Frontier; published by Infogrames. Bomb Jack has had dozens of ports derived from the Tehkan Arcade game from 1984. CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 16, 64, Amiga, PC88, SG1000, ZX Spectrum, and even things like Java ME.

Alberto José González is a Spanish video game graphic artist, music composer, designer, and pretty much everything else. Notable games from French publisher Infogrames helped shed light on his early career and eventually helped found Bit Managers and later Abylight.

TwitterYouTube | SoundCloud

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LIVE: MAGWest 2023 with George Sanger – PA182

Another titan of the game industry, George “The Fat Man” Sanger, joins us live at MAGWest! George has done so much to shape the course of game audio in America that the best we can hope for is scratching the surface with this post. During his career he’s worked on numerous games, alongside his legendary group of cowboy composers under the moniker “Team Fat” which consisted of himself, Dave Govett, Joe McDermott and K. Weston Phelan.

A short list of projects that George and Team Fat worked on: Thin Ice for Intellivision, Maniac Mansion and Rad Gravity for NES, Zombies Ate My Neighbors on SNES, a litany of computer games including Loom, The 7th Guest, The 11th Hour, Wing Commander I and II, Ultima Underworld, Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, Pajama Sam 3, and many other games. He’s done work for so many companies it’ll be faster to just link to his Wikipedia or Mobygames pages.

His influence in PC game music is especially strong. He’s created think tanks and collaborated with audio companies which led to the adoption of hardware like the MT-32, General MIDI, and even redbook audio as data on CD-ROM games like the 7th Guest. In the 1990s, he was also one of the first to bring American VGM composers together through “Project Barbecue”, an early precursor to events like GameSoundCon, MAGWest and others.

We loved every minute of talking with George and hearing his hilarious stories; from his humble beginnings, to his lengthy career and accomplishments, to his work with Team Fat. He is a larger than life character in a suit and cowboy hat and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you haven’t got your fill of George yet, check out a few more things:

And a few plugs from George for good measure

Show notes and track list

Castle in the Clouds with g3ntlebreeze – PA181

Today we’re joined by composer g3ntlebreeze for a unique behind the scenes look at his work on Castle in the Clouds, a Castlevania-inspired hentai game (NSFW – not safe for work). The game was developed by Libra Heart and pixel-teishoku and published by Critical Bliss. Castle in the Clouds is a 2D pixel art platformer released on Steam in 2021 with lovingly crafted art and an incredible soundtrack. This “hornyvania” puts you in control of bounty hunter Lily on her quest to defeat hordes of monsters and maybe get a little something extra.

Critical Bliss is a rapidly growing developer/publisher that focuses on international releases of raunchy, fun, and unique erotic games that started around 2016. Libra Heart is a developer best known for their work on this game as well as the “Succubus” series, with additional help on Castle in the Clouds from pixel-teishoku.

g3ntlebreeze mixes together sultry sounds, nostalgic chiptune vibes, jazz and some truly wicked solos in this and other erotic games. He’s worked on Tower & Sword of Succubus, Midnight Castle Succubus, Avaria: Chains of Lust and many other games that are best looked up with safe search on. We had a great time chatting about his musical background, composing for h-games, and some of the games and VGM composers that continue to inspire us. As always, we hope you enjoy the show!

Show notes and track list

Masters of VGM 2 – PA180

Pixelated Audio is back for the second annual Masters of VGM (@MastersofVGM), an event every June where podcasts come together to highlight some game music composers, either personal favorites or some that deserve a bit more attention. The event was created by bedroth, host of Very Good Music and BGMania podcasts. Check out some of the other participating shows in Masters of VGM and see what people are up to, or discover some new VGM podcast favorites!

We picked a selection of 8 more VGM Masters, all of them amazing women composers, covering a mix of music from the 80s to today.

Show notes and track list

Emily Reese – PA179

We’re joined today by Emily Reese; Minnesota Public Radio newscaster, VGM podcast legend and co-creator of the Level with Emily Reese and Top Score podcasts with Sam Keenan.

She is a trumpet player, and studied music education and jazz studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder and received her master’s degree in Music Theory from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Emily is an avid gamer (RPGs and FPS games are a favorite), and a lover of music with jazz and classical in particular.

Today’s show began as an interview with Emily but quickly turned into the three of us talking shop about the inner workings of creating the best possible podcast. All the discussion of audio editing and interview planning you can handle, as well as some career highlights from the trio. It’s not our typical show format, but we had a great time talking with a fellow podcast host and kindred spirit.

Show notes and track list

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.

Show notes and track list