Gunnar Madsen

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Gunnar Madsen
Gunnar Madsen - 03.jpg
Birth Place Palo Alto, California, USA?
Nationality American   USA.svg

Gunnar Madsen is an American musician who worked at Atari. He studied music at UC Berkeley. He has composed for many types of media including film and television.

Atari Games hired Gunnar, believing that his experience as an acapella singer and arranger would be good for video game audio. Gunnar left Atari 3 years later to pursue his own music ventures.

He currently runs his own freelance music business. Besides audio, Gunnar also is experienced in writing, film-making, and acting.

Audio Development

Gunnar talks about San Francisco Rush on his website:

When I set to work on San Francisco Rush, I didn’t want that standard bleepy-bloopy music – I wanted more. So I figured out that if I tossed out the standard model of a written score using bloopy sound samples, I could still fit a bunch of short 1 and 2 bar loops of audio – real drums, real guitars, real vocals – and piece those together like building blocks into songs. Since the songs only had to be in the background at a noisy arcade, and only had to last 2 minutes or so (and the player could change the song via a radio button), it worked nicely. The background music had a more organic feel than all the other games out there. The only caveat came 2 years later, when the game was adapted for Nintendo 64. When played at home on the TV, the game could go on for 15 minutes or more (no quarters required…) and my little 2 minute songs would repeat ad nauseum, causing many players to turn off the music entirely. Live and learn…


Released Title Sample Notes
1996-12-?? San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (ARC)
1997-10-?? San Francisco Rush: The Rock - Alcatraz Edition (ARC)
1997-11-08 San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (N64) Arranged by Doug Brandon.
1998-??-?? San Francisco Rush: The Rock - Alcatraz Edition (W16) Composer?
1998-02-28 San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (PS1) Arranged by Matthew Simmonds.
1998-03-?? California Speed (ARC) With Kevin Quinn, David Zabriske, Chris Granner, John Paul, Joe Lyford, Richard Carle, and Todd Modjesky.
1999-02-28 California Speed (N64) Arranged by Barry Leitch and Pablo Buitrago.
1999-05-?? Road Burners (ARC)

Image Gallery