The Sultans of SID: #19: Steve Barrett

Our nineteenth SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

Instead of Hang On, Sloopy, it is more like Hang On, Dizzy with this tunesmith.

Hang On refers to the Electric Dreams coin-op conversion, Super Hang-On. As for Dizzy, Codemasters’ iconic ovoid character. Our nineteenth Sultan of SID is…

Steve Barrett

Most of Steve’s compositions were written in the mid to late 1980s with Codemasters and Electric Dreams the publishers he worked with. He cut his teeth on the SID chip thanks to a package called Electrosound. This was the same software package that John and Steve Rowlands played about with when they started out.

Besides the Commodore 64, he has also composed music for Atari ST and Amiga games. On the Commie, his most celebrated works were the signature tunes for Fantasy World Dizzy and Magicland Dizzy. Oh, and Super Hang-On, a truly appalling game with all the speed and excitement of a peak hour bus journey along Ashton Old Road. Or Audenshaw Road when you get stuck at those stupid traffic lights beside the M60.

Essential Tunes

i. Fantasy World Dizzy

Fantasy World Dizzy was my introduction to the ovoid character. Steve’s SID tune captured the spirit of the game. In all fairness, listening to the tune as long as possible (for me) was a great priority than trying to dodge the Armarog’s Den screen. The musical score for this game was also used in the nutritionally incorrect Pac Man clone, Fast Food. Believe it or not, Fast Food was originally going to be a tie-in for Happy Eater’s restaurants.

ii. Super Hang-On

Oh dear, what an awful conversion. I found Super Hang-On on the C64 as the slowest racing game I had the misfortune of playing (till I discovered Hard Drivin’ on an emulator). The one saving grace was Steve Barrett’s in-game music. You had a choice of four tunes which gave the game some lastability.

iii. Frosty The Snowman

Quite an oddity but worthy of note. Not least the fact Christmas day is less than a week away. Frosty The Snowman, the computer game, was originally released on a Your Commodore cover-mounted cassette in 1990. The split-screen dual-player game was also rereleased on the Christmas edition of its successor magazine, Commodore Power (in 1992). As for the music, a rockier version of the Christmas song. Good for a while.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

Again we shan’t divulge who our next SID legend is, but we can give you a clue. The clue is as follows:

With you, I’m Korn again.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 19 December 2016.

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