This is the soundtrack to the first Wing Commander game by Origin Systems. I was asked by the game's producer, Chris Roberts, to write something that sounded something like Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture. My Team Fat writing partner, Dave Govett, had this little tune (the fanfare/theme) in his head already. It took him about a day to get finished music to me--and with that one tune, game music took what is perhaps a bigger step than it had taken before or has taken since. If you don't believe me, do the research. Try to find a soundtrack with stronger musical sensibility, better composition, or better arrangements. This game supported the then-new MT-32 sound card--this was pre-General MIDI, and most games had just used the internal FM sound card--which was considered high-quality at the time! In addition, Chris Roberts insisted on making the soundtrack interactive. There have been other soundtracks before and since, but this one stood out. Wing Commander was the hit of the CES show that year. These days, game soundtracks that attempt to imitate John Williams are commonplace. I don't like to do it anymore. But to my knowledge, this is the first one, and compositionally remains one of the better ones. I believe that for several years after this, game composers were still not asked to imitate John Williams. They were asked to imitate David Govett and Wing Commander.
You will hear the authentic, original MIDI files, playing back on a Roland MT-32 sound module, as you would have heard if you were playing a Brand New Wing Commander game on The Best Game Sound-Equipped Computer Available At The Time. A touch of Roland Sound Canvass (in MT-32 emulation mode) was added just because it was easy to do and made the tones just a tad-bit richer. Other than that...Welcome To The State of the Art in PC Audio, circa 1990!!!!
Amazing! The service is a little strange. You can listen to music at any time or sign up and buy downloads like iTunes... but until a track is popular the songs are very cheap (or, in this case, free)! I was able to download all three of the current pieces after registering but without entering any sort of payment information. Get in there and make this music popular!
A very special thanks to LeHah, who has shepherded this thing from day one - he's gone above and beyond to make sure this music is released. He, in turn, forwards this message from The Fatman:
Govett is now a full-time cop. Perhaps he will do the full orchestration someday, but let's let fly with this for now:
Three little tracks posted. I'll try to add a track a day or so until it's all up. There are about 25 tracks total.
Please apologize to the Fans for our tardiness, and let them know that they have our deepest, most heartfelt THANKS FOR THEIR PATIENCE--and especially, THANKS for their interest in the music that we tried very hard to make as good as we could...for them, at a time when it was considered kind of, well, silly to put effort into game music.
Thank You For Listening!!!!
You can find The Fatman's entire Amie Street portfolio (which includes several non-Wing Commander albums) here or the Wing One album here. He's also created some amazing cover art -- look at the image closely, it isn't what you think! We'll keep you updated as soon as new tracks are added! I sure hope there's a way to buy physical copies of this thing someday...
Everyone loved the tournament... and now you can revisit it by checking out the news coverage of the other sixteen sites involved in the battle! We've collected all the announcements, updates and wrap-ups written by the participants thus far in a nice fat list, located below. The winner's wrap-up is here, which is pretty cool - written in a pseudo in-continuity style. The coolest of these articles, though, is Achieve360Point's training article which gives a day-by-day breakdown of how they prepared for the tournament. It begins on release day with "At first, I think this game is horrible, but the more I play it the better it gets. Kind of one of those games that starts off slow then ends in a positive note."... and three days later: "I didn't play WCA at all today. I really wanted to though." Fantastic. Another notable entry is the Kotaku wrap up, which includes a video of the start of the tournament. Here's the whole enchilada: