"Well, [legend]'s a fitting term, because I'm probably not what I'm cracked up be, just like a legend isn't."
As a 17 year old schoolkid in 1983, Martin Galway used to write music for the BBC Micro, while some of his friends made games. Soon Martin realized that they could even make money, and approached Ocean. They liked the game (a Pac-Man clone), and Martin offered his skills as a musician.
Ocean were so impressed with his tunes that they let him borrow a complete assembly language development system, and he started composing right away.
During the eighties, Martin made music for many of the popular Commodore 64 games, and became one of the most famous SID chip artists. His perhaps most famous song is the title-piece for Comic Bakery, a sweeping 3-voice masterpiece. This is also arguably one of the most pirated C64 songs, as it was featured in several intros (what crackers used to put before a pirated game to give shout-outs and brag) and on music discs. Another song that most Commodore 64 users surely remember is his adaptation of the Rambo II theme used in the game.
Martin also made music for one of Origins first adventure/roleplaying games, "Times of Lore", with several tunes that fitted the medieval setting well. As he was also a programmer, he even wrote an algorithm that randomized the chords that the guitar voice plays, making for a very long and varying piece.
He was also the first musician to get published with sampled sounds on the Commodore, with the theme for the Arkanoid conversion:
"Q: How did you get involved with using sampled sounds?
MG: I figured out how samples were played by hacking into someone else's code... OK, I admit it... It was a drum synthesizer package called Digidrums, actually, so you could still say I was the first to include samples in a piece of music. [...] Never would I claim to have invented that technique, I just got it published first. In fact, I couldn't really figure out where they got the sample data, just that they were wiggling the volume register, so I tried to make up my own drum sample sounds in realtime - which is the flatulence stuff that shipped in 'Arkanoid'. [...] After the project was in the shops I gained access to some real drum samples, and I slid those into my own custom version of the tune. The one that's in the shops is kind of a collage of farts & burps, don't you think? [...] Later I was able to acquire some proper drum samples and by 'Game Over' it got quite sophisticated."
Martin has said that he will never remake his songs, as they were made for the SID chip and would sound wrong on real instruments. However, he says that he could possibly start making music for real instruments...
Martin is in fact the nephew of famous flautist James Galway.
Ludography (sorted by year, publisher, title):
- Swag (Micrmania, 1984)
- Daley Thompson's Decathlon (Ocean, 1984)
- Yie Ar Kung Fu (Imagine, 1985)
- Hyper Sports (Imagine/Konami, 1985)
- Kong Strikes Back (Ocean, 1985)
- Neverending Story (Ocean, 1985)
- Ocean Loader (The two different songs were actually used in several games released by Ocean) (Ocean, 1985)
- Roland's Ratrace (Ocean, 1985)
- Mikie (Imagine, 1986)
- Ping Pong (Imagine, 1986)
- Comic Bakery (Imagine, 1986)
- Terra Cresta (Imagine, 1986)
- Green Beret (Imagine/Konami, 1986)
- Helikopter Jagd (Ocean, 1986)
- Highlander (Ocean, 1986)
- Hunchback II (Ocean, 1986)
- Match Day (Ocean, 1986)
- Miami Vice (Ocean, 1986)
- Parallax (Ocean, 1986)
- Rambo: First Blood Part II (Ocean, 1986)
- Short Circuit (Ocean, 1986)
- Arkanoid (Imagine, 1987)
- Athena (Imagine, 1987)
- Game Over (Imagine, 1987)
- Rastan (Imagine, 1987)
- Slap Fight (Imagine, 1987)
- Yie Ar Kung Fu II (Imagine, 1987)
- Combat School (Ocean, 1987)
- Wizball (Ocean, 1987)
- Microprose Soccer (Microprose, 1988)
- Times of Lore (Origin, 1988)
- Insects in Space (Sensible Software, 1989)
- Wing Commander 2: Vengeance of the Kilrathi (Origin, 1991)
- Ultima VII: The Black Gate (Origin, 1992)
- Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (Origin, 1992)
- Strike Commander (Electronic Arts/Origin, 1993)
- Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom (Electronic Arts/Origin, 1995)
- The Kilrathi Saga (Electronic Arts, 1996)
- Starlancer (Crave Entertainment/Microsoft, 2000)
Sources: HVSC/STIL, MobyGames.com, JerboaKolinowski.
Audited July 4, 2002