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Rob Hubbard

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Rob Hubbard


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Rob hubbard composing for c64

Rob Hubbard (born 1955 in 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.


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Rob hubbard monty on the run theme c64

Early life


He first started playing music aged seven. Whilst at school he played in bands. After leaving school he went to music college.

Early career

Rob Hubbard Rob Hubbard Final Synth Sample I Song 6 YouTube

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.

Music on the Commodore 64

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 a variety of publishers on 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. His least favourite was Sam Fox Strip Poker which he admitted to have done purely for money. He went under John York as an alias on the game credits. He has stated that he had many musical influences including Jean Michel Jarre, Synergy (Larry Fast) and other synth bands.

During this time Hubbard mainly composed for the Commodore 64's SID sound chip. He worked freelance and turned down some offers from companies to work in-house.

Move to Electronic Arts and the USA

After working for several different companies, he left Newcastle in 1988 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 an 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. 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

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.

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.

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.

In 2014, Hubbard appeared in and composed music for the documentary feature film From Bedrooms to Billions, a film that tells the story of the British video games industry.

In November 2016, Hubbard received an honorary degree from Abertay University for his contributions to video game music in the 1980s.


Rob Hubbard Wikipedia