|Absolute Entertainment, Inc.
|Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA
Absolute Entertainment was formed in 1986 by former Activision employees Dan and Garry Kitchen, Alex Demeo, John Van Ryzin and David Crane.
The company's original headquarters was in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and later moved to Upper Saddle River, but programmer David Crane worked out of his home on the West Coast.
Following in the naming strategy of Activision, the name Absolute was chosen to be the first in an alphabetical list of development companies.
Although the development house had pretty good titles early on, like A Boy and His Blob: Trouble On Blobolonia (NES), the bulk of the games released in their later years were movie and cartoon tie-ins that were rushed to the shelves, and were of predictable low quality.
Absolute also had an in-house development studio, Imagineering. (Not to be confused with the Japanese developer Imagineer.)
All of their NES titles besides Heavy Shreddin' and Fisher Price: Firehouse Rescue contained staff credits. The reason for Heavy Shreddin' not containing staff credits was due to the publishers (Parker Bros.) not allowing credits in their games. The company was doing financially poor at the time and needed another publisher.
Absolute's last-developed game was Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors (SCD). Though the game was finished, it ended up unreleased, but the ROM was found and is playable.
Absolute finally closed up shop in 1995 and sold their rights to Activision. Most of the development team would regroup and form Skyworks Technologies.
Mark Van Hecke's music was converted to GEMS.
Absolute's Game Boy sound driver was programmed by Stuart Ross, and similar to the NES music, MIDI files were converted to his sound engine.
The NES sound driver was programmed by Stuart Ross which took MIDI files and converted them to the NES. The DPCM samples were provided by Frank Covitz, though he was usually credited as a sound consultant. The only composers for Absolute's NES games were Mark Van Hecke and Scott Marshall, though Scott only composed two of their games (Ghoul School, Space Shuttle Project) while Mark composed the rest of them. Mark composed his music in Dr. T's KCS for the Atari ST. Scott composed his music on his Yamaha DOM-31. The source code for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has been dumped online from an old hard disk. Included with it was the music source. The source code revealed that the music files were run through a program called readmidi where the files were converted into a custom Music Macro Language, and read by the sound driver as code. It also reveals that Stuart Ross did the sound effects for most of Absolute/Imagineering's games. This is because the driver uses all of the same sound effects.
The company used Bitmasters sound driver, programmed by David O'Riva. It was modified for Absolute's needs by Jim Wallace. Unlike most composers at the time who sourced their SNES instruments from synths and keyboards, Jim made his instrument samples by himself. His personal favorite sample is the snare drum. According to Jim, Alex DeMeo, programmer of the company's NES sound driver taught him programming for the SNES sound driver.
Mark Van Hecke was still Absolute's primary musician, and composed in an identical approach to his NES music, using Dr. T's KCS. However, for his SNES games, he used the Macintosh version of the program. As the years went on, Mark started to be credited as an audio director while other sound designers took on the music and sound effects.
These composers worked at Absolute:
- Alex DeMeo (1989 - 1993)
- Billy Pidgeon (Producer for Hi-Tech Expressions; credited in Rev. 1 version of Barbie (NES))
- Danny Ray (credited in Rev. 1 version of Barbie (NES)))
- Frank Covitz (1989 - 1991)
- Gary Stockdale (Scored Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors (SCD))
- Glyn Anderson (Contractor for Activision, sound programmer for Stealth ATF (NES))
- Jim Wallace (1993 - 1995)
- Ken Kirschner (credited in Rev. 1 version of Barbie (NES))
- Mark Van Hecke (1989 - 1996)
- Michael Paternostro (Sound effects for Casper (SNES))
- Pete Wallesy
- Russell Lieblich (Contractor for Activision, scored Stealth ATF (NES))
- Scott Marshall (1989 - 1992)
- Stephen Melillo (1994 - 1996)
- Stuart Ross (1991 - 1995)