The Sultans of SID: #12: Jonathan Dunn

Our twelfth SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

A Dunn deal for Ocean and Imagine.

This gentleman was Ocean Software’s go-to SID supremo for their film tie-in games. He also composed the music for the fourth and fifth versions of the Ocean loader theme. Halfway through our trail of SID specialists is…

Jonathan Dunn

Jonathan was one at two Dunns based at Ocean’s Central Street offices (David being the other). He also worked on music for NES, Atari ST, Amiga, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC games. His music was written on a self-coded 6502 Assembler, which was ported into the Commodore 64’s 6510 assembly code. Music Macro Language was used to compose his tunes.

Jonathan’s music was synonymous with late-1980s to early-1990s Ocean and Imagine software titles. His most famous work, the theme music from Robocop (Gameboy version), was used in an Ariston advert.

Essential Tunes

i. Ocean Loader Theme, version five

Imagine you’re firing up Bad Dudes versus Dragon Ninja on the ol’ bread bin (joystick in Port 1 rather than 2, by the way). The fifth version of the Ocean Loader Theme, Jon Dunn’s, was the heaviest version. It gave you the feeling that the game you was going to play had some serious oomph. This was used on releases from 1988 to 1993.

ii. Robocop

Alongside the 1989 Batman licence, the very first Robocop game was a massive hit for Ocean. Across all formats, it sold the best part of a million copies. Dunn’s tunes were ported to the Nintendo Gameboy, the ZX Spectrum (128k version music), and the Amiga. The one version that stands out is the Commodore 64 version.

iii. Operation Wolf

The C64 conversion of Taito’s crosshair shooter made for an impressive game. In the arcades, this led to three sequels (of the sequels, only Operation Thunderbolt made it to the C64). The icing on the cake of this playable conversion was Dunn’s meaty sound effects and title music.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

For our thirteenth SID legend is, we cannot tell you who the musician is but we can give you a clue. The clue is as follows:

His arcade conversion was the beginning of a fantastic story.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 12 December 2016.

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