Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Mar 24th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Australia, nintendo, nes, snes, sega, genesis, game gear, gameboy, game boy

In the middle of the 1970s, there were small game development studios popping up all over the world. In Melbourne, Australia; in 1977, one of those companies was Beam Software. Their initial games were developed for the home computers of the early 1980s, and they scored a whopper of an early hit in 1982's The Hobbit. At the tail end of the 80s, they finally made the move into home console development for the NES. A couple early stinkers in the two Back to the Future games did not slow the company down, and they started to get contracts to port arcade games to the console. In the early 1990s, there was a shift in the company's audio staff which saw Gavan Anderson and Tania Smith working on music and audio, but Tania ended up leaving to go on a world tour, and she asked Marshall Parker to be her replacement. Marshall was already 38 years old when he joined Beam Software in 1990, making him one of the older composers even at that time.

The first game Marshall worked on was the NES game, Star Wars. In 1991, the music was spread between a few games for the NES and Game Boy, such as Aussie Rules Footy, Bo Jackson Baseball, and Smash TV for the NES, and Bill & Ted's Excellent GameBoy Adventure and Choplifter II: Rescue - Survive for the Game Boy. In 1992, the SNES and Genesis were added into the mix. Marshall worked on Super Smash TV and the NES, SNES, and Genesis versions of George Foreman's KO Boxing. Projects for the NES kept releasing as well, such as International Cricket, Power Punch II, and Nightshade.

Beam continued its spread out efforts into 1993, with games continuing to release even on the NES, such as Mickey's Safari in Letterland and Last Action Hero being the ones to feature Mr. Parker's music. For the Genesis, the woefully underrated Blades of Vengeance released with another series of compositions. On Nintendo's super gray box, the world was blessed with the soundtrack of Super High Impact. On the other hand, some major Super Nintendo releases from Beam in this year would be the ones that left a mark on the industry: Marshall Parker composed the music for Mechwarrior, and the original soundtrack for Shadowrun.

This breakneck pace continued into 1994 before cooling off in the following years. Beam Software released Choplifter III for the Game Boy and Choplifter III: Rescue - Survive for the SNES. The SNES saw a few other releases featuring some Aussie music such as Super International Cricket, WCW Super Brawl Wrestling, Super Solitaire, and Radical Rex. The Genesis and Sega CD releases of Radical Rex also released the same year. 1995 was the first year to really cool down, with only all the versions of True Lies having some compositions from Mr. Parker. In 1996, only The Dame Was Loaded, a point and click adventure game, featured his compositions. The following 2 years only saw Krush, Kill 'N Destroy, Krush, Kill 'N Destroy Xtreme, and KKND2: Krossfire with his mark on the audio. After that, Parker took a long hiatus from composing.

In the early to mid 2000s, Marshall Parker was involved as a sound designer or director for only a handful of games. Looney Tunes: Space Race, Wacky Races, Transformers, and he received a production credit for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In later years, he only directed Test Drive Unlimited and did sound designing on Hellboy: The Science of Evil. In modern days, he's taken a position as one of the audio designers at Ubisoft, primarily working on Assassin's Creed games. On top of this, he returned to compose music for Shadowrun Returns, which featured some remixes of some of the SNES game's music.

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Thanks for bringing this series back, SP.  I really enjoy these not just because I dig game music, but because you always present something that I've never heard of before.

This guy looks like he had a nice career.  I especially like the Blade of Vengeance track.  Funny, but even though they were composed on very different sound hardware, I swear I can hear a little bit of similarity with Blades of Vengeance and Shadowrun.
Great article. I always find information on these composers very interesting.
Interesting history of this composer.  I feel like his stuff, at least based on the examples you presented, is kinda hit & miss.  The Nightshade track was good, and the Blades of Vengeance track had the right atmosphere, based on the game.  The Shadowrun tracks were also good, but the other stuff was pretty unmemorable and unremarkable.  Still, cool to find out about folks like this.  Thanks for continuing to highlight composers!
I always love some great game music, thanks for showcasing it. I'll always have a soft spot for that Smash TV track, such a classic.

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