The Sultans of SID: #20: Ubik

Our twentieth SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

With you, I’m Korn again.

Korn does not refer to the thrash metal group noted for Life is Peachy. It refers to the surname of our Twentieth Sultan of SID, Dave Korn. He is better known as…


David Korn, known in C64 circles as Ubik, took the name from a Philip K. Dick book that was published in 1969. He adopted the name as (in 2016 terms) an avatar whilst on Compunet. Dave is also a programmer with Arcade Classics and Thrust II among his efforts.

He also made an influential contribution to the Public Domain scene with the creation of Ubik’s Music. The demo tunes would appear on numerous PD graphics demos and fully fledged games.

Essential Tunes

i. Ubik’s Music

The utility that launched a thousand PD libraries? Probably. Ubik’s Music was quite a popular sequencer for the C64. Billed in the manual as ideal for “amateur musicians”. Most infamously, both demo tunes were used in a rebadged ‘PD’ game known as Lunar Jailbreak. Which was an abandoned Hewson game entitled Breakout. Republished under its new name as a Commodore Format full game, it was the subject of a copyright breach at Manchester Magistrates Court. They ruled in favour of the coders with Future Publishing having to pay up.

ii. Thrust II

Alongside fellow colleague Rob Hubbard, Dave was gainfully employed by Firebird. The music for the follow-up to Thrust was done by Dave instead of Rob. Breathtaking? Most definitely. The title screen is based on The Persistence of Memory, a Salvador Dali painting. In spite of the spiffy graphics and meaty score, it didn’t get the same good reviews as the original.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

Apologies for this post being slightly shorter than the others. Again we shan’t divulge who our next SID legend is, but we can give you a clue. The clue is as follows:

Another Maniac of Noise, once big in the C64 demo scene.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 20 December 2016.


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