Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where are they now? - Mark Seibert

For today's "Where are they now?" I will talk a little bit about the man who was the driving force behind much of Sierra On-Line's music during the late 80s and 90s, and who eventually became a game producer in his own right. No, I'm not talking about Ken Allen (although similarly, he too got into producing games after a stint as a composer) but Mark Seibert who was his boss for awhile at Sierra On-Line. So where did Seibert come from and what is he up to nowadays?

Unfortunately there isn't too much information about what Seibert got up to in his youth although one thing you probably didn't know about him is that he is a devout Christian. During the late 70s and early 80s, he was a singer and guitarist for a Christian band called "Omega Sunrise" which saw some success in the local charts; they even managed to release a couple of albums! He also helped lead worship services at his church called the Fresno Vineyard during the late 80s and early 90s with his wife Debbie.

During the 1980s, Seibert attained a Bachelor of Arts (in Music) at California State University, Fresno, and also started on a second degree in Math in 1986. It was not long after that when in 1987, Seibert responded to a newspaper ad from Sierra On-Line for a composer. Seibert got the job and his first project was editing music on the 1988 game King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella.

Seibert would go on to work as a composer and music director on several Sierra games from that point onwards, including 1988's Police Quest II, 1989's Quest for Glory (which apparently borrows heavily from the Star Trek theme), 1990's King's Quest V and writing the (in)famous Girl in the Tower for King's Quest VI. During the early 90s, Seibert would take on more of a music director role, overseeing the development of music for games like Space Quest IV, Oil's Well, Police Quest III, Quest for Glory II and multiple VGA remakes.

In 1992, Seibert had his first taste in becoming a game producer with the first game he ever produced being released in 1993. It was an edutainment title called Pepper's Adventures in Time and has become a cult classic amongst point 'n' click adventure gamers. Seibert would work as a producer on a few more games such as 1994's King's Quest VII, 1995's Torin's Passage, 1996's Leisure Suit Larry 7 and 1998's King's Quest VIII. Shortly before he left in 2001, the last Sierra titles Seibert worked on were Arcanum and Throne of Darkness which were both released in 2001.

After Sierra, Seibert worked for a couple of years as Director of Development at Gentle Revolution Software before working for a few years at Breakaway Games as a Producer/AV Director. While working at Breakaway Games (on games such as the expansion pack to C&C3, Kane's Wrath) Seibert also completed a Masters in Education and in 2008, he left the company and retired from the games development industry for good.

Seibert is now a maths teacher at the Perry Hall Christian School in Maryland although the last note he left on his personal website mentioned him working with several composers in the Baltimore area in the hopes of publishing their music in early 2015. Well it's well and truly early 2015 now so hopefully we'll hear from Seibert and his fellow composers soon!

[ Mark Seibert's personal webpage ]
[ Wikipedia: Mark Seibert ]
[ MobyGames: Mark Seibert ]

Monday, April 13, 2015

Choicest VGM - VGM #177 - Frontier: Elite II - Baba Yaga

Composed by: Modest Mussorgsky
Arranged by: Dave Lowe

Dave Lowe must be a real fan of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's music as there are three tracks in the game based on his work: Night on the Bald Mountain, The Great Gate of Kiev and this one, Baba Yaga. I must say that some of Mussorgsky's work makes for great combat music so kudos to Dave Lowe for arranging his music for Frontier: Elite II. Another interesting bit of trivia is that two of the tracks by Mussorgsky also happen to be from the same suite: Pictures at an Exhibition.

Oh and where did I get the music? I recorded it directly from the game audio (using the Adlib/Sound Blaster option) while running the game through DOSBox. I did find MIDI files of the DOS version's music online but they just weren't the same as how I remembered. So there you have it :)

Thanks to Dave Lowe for composing such a memorable soundtrack!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spotlight Sunday - Week 16 - 2015

Spotlight Sunday is a way for Choicest Games to feature PC games that are scheduled for release on the following week - games that we consider worthwhile checking out.

This week (13th Apr to the 19th Apr 2015) there's quite a few games coming to PC that I think are worth checking out - a couple of famous franchises and two indie games:

Grand Theft Auto V

I'm actually not a big fan of the Grand Theft Auto series so for those who know me, adding the game here might come off as bit of a surprise. But there's no denying the popularity of this franchise. It's currently the most wanted game on my Steam friends list. 10% of them have already pre-ordered the game and almost a quarter of them have it on their wishlist. I've always found the fantasy of being a criminal causing wanton violence with with no remorse slightly off-putting which is why I think the more recent GTA games never really did it for me and I ended up preferring the sandbox games where you played a cop or a vigilante. I'm hoping there's some redeeming features in this most recent release but considering there's even a separate Wikipedia page for controversies surrounding the game, it seems unlikely. Anyway, that's not going to stop most people buying this game - I'm sure it'll be just as much a hit on PC as it was on console.

Mortal Kombat X

That is all.


  • Release Date: 16/04/2015
  • Availability: Direct $0, Steam $0
There are three reasons you should get this:
  1. The game helps explain why net neutrality is important in the form of a parkour-style computer game
  2. It's free!
  3. It has an awesome pun for a name

But that's basically it. The game is apparently a "3D playground runner influenced by the parkour running style in Mirror's Edge". While I confess that I've never played the cult classic Mirror's Edge, it does have many fans. This must also be one of the first games I've heard of where your humble Internet Service Provider is the antagonist trying to impede you from making any progress. Sounds like it's worth a look, especially considering it's free.

The Charnel House Trilogy

  • Release Date: Next week
  • Availability: Steam Pre-order unavailable
As many loyal readers know, I'm a big fan of retro point 'n' click adventure games. You know, the sort that look like they've been developed using Adventure Game Studio (AGS). Well here's another one of those sorts of games called The Charnel House Trilogy. The game is developed by Owl Cave who are the folks behind the game Richard & Alice which managed to get a 7/10 here on Choicest Games. Richard & Alice was also developed using AGS but funnily enough, that game looked nothing like your typical point 'n' click adventure whereas this latest offering does. The game is apparently a series of "horrifying" adventures, so I'm hoping when the say "horror" that it's not supernatural horror and is more like Richard & Alice which explores the darkness of the human psyche - that's more down my alley.

So are you interested or excited about any of these PC games being released next week? Which games are you looking forward to?