|George Alistair Sanger
George Alistair Sanger, AKA The Fat Man is a highly successful video game music composer and audio consultant. His work ranges all the way back to 1983 and continues on to this very day. He has composed music for over 200 games. Often seen sporting a cowboy hat, this Texan has an entire sound team (Team Fat) to help him with his work in the video game market. Aside from his work composing music, George also does consulting work for audio and has written a book about multimedia music called "The Fat Man Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness". Some of his best known works include The 7th Guest, The 11th Hour, and Wing Commander. Sanger has also composed music for several platforms.
Sanger started his career in video game music when his brother Rick was roommates with David Warhol. Warhol was programming the Intellivision game Thin Ice. Sanger, already fascinated with video games at the time begged Warhol to let him write music for the game, and Warhol accepted his pleas. Later, David Warhol founded Realtime Associates, which George Sanger worked for, as well as a great deal of other composers.
One significant contribution Sanger made to the video game industry was the standard OPL3 patches for the FM synthesis chips used throughout the DOS era, which he did with K. Weston Phelan.
While George is not a sound programmer, he designed instruments for the AdLib sound card which were used in many games along with Team FAT member Kevin Phelan. These can be heard in the Midpak sound driver.
For his work with Realtime Associates, he would do the music in an identical fashion to his NES music; he would write MIDI files in Performer for the Macintosh. Said MIDI files were given to David Warhol, which he would arrange in Cakewalk for DOS, then converted into his sound driver.
For the game Track Meet (GB), Sanger gave his MIDI files to Rebecca Heineman who arranged his music for the Game Boy in the handheld's modified Z80 assembly. She did this with an Apple II computer she developed the entire game on.
Sanger used a 4-track tape recorder to record his composition for Thin Ice (INTV). He then transcribed his composition to sheet music on manuscript paper, which was then handed over to David Warhol, who programmed Sanger's compositions into the game in assembly. Though Sanger wrote the main theme, Warhol stated in an interview that he composed the rest of the songs in the game. Sanger talks about working on the music in this video.
George used Performer for the Macintosh, and David Warhol would arrange his MIDI files in Cakewalk which were then converted into 6502 assembly code using a driver that Warhol wrote. His MIDI files were meant to be played back on a Roland MT-32.
For Tecmo Super NBA Basketball, George used Sculptured Software's sound engine known as BMUS. According to Paul Webb, George had a negative reaction to the software because the program suffered many flaws.
Rocketeer uses a custom sound driver, possibly by the game's programmer Steven Bjork or the sound designer John Brooks. The instruments sound like they were taken from the MT-32.
To see a list of games George has worked on, go to: http://fatman.com/faqs.htm
George Sanger was credited in many games by his pseudonym, The Fat Man. Sanger wishes not to reveal the etymology of the name.
Staff photo from The 7th Guest (DOS).