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A legendary video games music composer: Allister Brimble

By: Tasha
Published: 24 March 2018, 10:02 am

When most people think of video games they might think of the people who programmed it, the company that developed it, or even the actors who did motion captures or voice-overs for it. But have you ever stopped and thought about the people who compose the musical scores?

Music is an extremely important part of any video game’s development. The music sets the mood, gets your emotions going, or just keeps you entertained while you’re playing. It's essential. I know that previously I have focused on game developers, but this time I thought I would try something a little different. This time I am doing incredibly accomplished composer Allister Brimble. The name might be familiar for some, but Mr. Brimble is the man behind the music on such major franchises such as Alien Breed, Mortal Kombat, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Driver and many more.

His game list is so long there is no way I could mention the more than 400 titles he has worked on without writing a painfully long article. However, I will try to mention all the important ones. If I miss anything let me know in the comments section.

A young Allister Brimble creating music
A young Allister Brimble creating music
Allister was born in Westminster, London and claims to have started his musical career around 18 years of age. He says his first days of music composing took place in his parent’s attic. When he was ready to take his show on the road, he responded to a magazine want ad that was requesting music. He was contacted by the company and landed the job. The rest, as they say, is history. He has enjoyed an expansive and impressive career, to say the least. He has worked for companies like Grandslam, Codemasters, Atari, and Team 17, to name a few. He has even composed what he dubbed “Brimble’s Beats” as a little giveaway with gaming magazines of the time.

According to his portfolio, Allister would compose his first game score while working with Grandslam for a game called Thunderbirds. The game itself would not be released until 1988 for multiple platforms. He would also score many of the ports for the game. For those unfamiliar, the Thunderbirds were a team of secret agent puppets that fly around saving the world. The game was an officially licensed product of the television show of the same name. Thunderbirds got some pretty good reviews from the public, which I’m sure was an awesome feeling for Allister himself.

Treasure Island Dizzy on the Amiga (1989)
Treasure Island Dizzy on the Amiga (1989)
In 1989 Allister would find himself doing some work for Codemasters. He did scores for such games as Miami Chase (1989), and Nitro Boost Challenge (1989). That same year he would begin working on his first franchise, starting with the Amiga music of Treasure Island Dizzy. This is actually the second game in the Dizzy series, the first one being Dizzy: The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure. Dizzy himself is a little egg guy that I thought looked like a baseball at first (sorry Dizzy). Dizzy finds himself in a magical island paradise and needs to find a way to escape. Dizzy will have to explore, solve puzzles, and trade with the locals to get the items needed for his escape boat. Aside from that, Dizzy must also manage to collect 30 coins as a bribe for save passage from the island. Dizzy went on to have a lot of sequels, of which Allister would also work on Fantasy World Dizzy, Spellbound Dizzy (1991), Dizzy: Down the Rapids (1991), Dizzy’s Excellent Adventures (1991), and Dizzy (1992).
Allister worked on all the titles of the Alien Breed series
Allister worked on all the titles of the Alien Breed series

Allister was a busy man in 1989 and would work on Time Soldiers, Terries Big Day Out, but most importantly he would score the first in the Alien Breed series. A quick rundown on the series is that they are predominately science fiction shooters that involve taking down an alien menace and saving scads of people. That’s a very skinned down version of the series created by Team17 and does not do it justice. For a more detailed description check out our downloads of the series featuring Alien Breed: Special Edition 92 and Alien Breed: Tower Assault. Both of which Allister worked on the score of.

Allister would move on to score many more games. They run the gamut from action, platformer, adventure, and everything in between. He has often created both the music and the sounds. This was the case of Dino Din's soccer sim Goal, Troddlers, a puzzle game inspired to Lemmings, Mortal Kombat, the famous beat-em-up and, most importantly, Superfrog, the iconic 2D platformer by Team17, one the best games ever created for the Commodore Amiga.

Superfrog, one of the most popular platformers for the Amiga
Superfrog, one of the most popular platformers for the Amiga

His collaboration with Team17 continued with Assassin, Assassin Special Edition, and ATR: All Terrain Racing, a fantastic racing game with a top-down view.

During the second half of the 90's Brimble continued working on a few other racing games, including Screamer, Grand Prix Manager 2, and Driver, the racing game by Martin Edmondson.

In 1999 Allister Brimble created the sounds and music for Chris Sawyer's RollerCoaster Tycoon. He also scored some music adaptations of my favorite games like Doom (Gameboy Advance version) and Ghosts n’ Goblins (Gameboy Color version), though I played both games on a different platform. Come to find out he also did the music for Alien Hominid, which I remember from this online gaming site when I was younger. I want to say it was called Newgrounds, but I’m not fully certain. If anyone knows what I’m talking about, please tell me, I am drawing a blank.

RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999)
RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999)

Allister has kept busy and has done work all the way up through 2017. He likes to keep himself up-to-date with the latest technological trends to keep himself in the forefront of the industry. He now works in formats like 3DS, PC, and Switch, among others. His music is also available on Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora. So if you’re itching to hear your favorite game themes, or discover something new, you know where to look.

Allister keeps working and doing his thing. You can also check him out on his website

amiga retrogaming video game music

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Latest Comments

Paul Bridger - 7 April 2018, 12:15 pm
Mortal Kombat was converted actually not made properly from scratch. Also I'm surprised this article doesn't cover any of the albums Allister worked on such as the successful Amiga Works as a documentary followed up after the release of his album under the same name.

Paul Bridger - 7 April 2018, 12:24 pm
Great article by the way :)

Tasha - 9 April 2018, 8:46 pm
Thank you, I really appreciate that.

Tasha - 9 April 2018, 8:46 pm
I do apologize that I didn't mention that. But I'm glad you did.

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