The Sultans of SID: #14: Andrew Rodger

Our fourteenth SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

He composed most of his SID tunes for Zeppelin Games in the early 1990s.

Our fourteenth fellow SID symphonist is…

Andrew Rodger

Back in the twilight of the Commodore 64’s commercial life, the budget games scene was buoyant. Alongside Codemasters were a few smaller budget labels like Hi-Tec Software and Zeppelin Games. He did most of his SID tunes for the Houghton-le-Spring-based software house.

His stint at Zeppelin coincided with the label’s fetish for cheap and cheerful sports simulators. Enter stage left International Tennis, International Truck Racing, and the awful International 5-a-Side. His other footnote in C64 history was the musical score for Acclaim’s Alien3 game – the Commie’s last film licensed game.

Essential Tunes

i. Sleepwalker

Not to be confused with Ocean Software’s title for Comic Relief, this was an original game where you tried to protect a sleepwalker. The title music, to use 21st century phraseology, got you right into the zone. I still haven’t seen a game like Zeppelin’s Sleepwalker on any other format (if someone knows different, please fill me in).

ii. Carnage

By far, the sonic highlights of Zeppelin’s Super Sprint clone is the title music, followed by separate tunes for menu screens and the Game Over screen. What is most apparent is his musical influences, with a nod to The Maniacs of Noise’s works. As for the sound effects, I would mute the sound (sorry, Andrew).

iii. Alien3

The third piece was written for the Commodore 64’s last film tie-in game. Released on the Acclaim label (Mirrorsoft’s successors, post Maxwell), Andrew’s SID tune was a conversion of the Sega Mega Drive version. Though a polished piece, he wasn’t happy with the compromises he had to make. This due to the memory/raster time by developers, Probe Software.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

Once again we shan’t divulge who our next SID legend is, but we can give you a clue as to whom the fifteenth one may be. The clue is as follows:

His credits include the music to Klax and some of the Commodore 64’s worst arcade conversions.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 14 December 2016.


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