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LIKE: The music of Rare's David Wise

We pay tribute to the man behind some of Nintendo's most iconic tunes

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As Rare's most veteran employee, outlasting even its founding brothers, Wise saw his name attached to just four projects under Microsoft. Ironically, these were all released on Nintendo handhelds.

The composer continued to thrive under technical constraints, opting to create an entirely new and fantastic score for the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country 3, instead of downgrading the original to conform to the portable's limited hardware.

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On Nintendo DS the veteran was able to convert his infamously chirpy Diddy Kong Racing soundtrack with minimal changes, while Viva Piņata: Pocket Paradise required few additions to Grant Kirkhope's established Xbox 360 score.

With the latter marking six years since he was last able to compose one of the melodic adventure soundtracks Rare had become famous for, it's perhaps unsurprising that in 2009 Wise decided his music was no longer able to thrive at the studio he'd helped popularise.

Late that year the composer announced his resignation from the UK studio after more than 20 years behind the score sheet. With his personal life also changing, he said he felt it was the right time to recover and refocus - but he was never going to be gone for long.

"Game budgets, and development times have multiplied considerably since the SNES and N64 era," he explained this month. "The fact was that we were no longer producing the same number or similar style of games that had made Rare famous."

"The company was changing, which is vital if it is to survive.

"I've definitely not lost my passion for producing music or audio. Within hours of leaving Rare I'd had a phone call asking me to produce, rather than compose music; a different but still very enjoyable challenge."

Life After Rare

Soon after his departure it was announced Wise was remixing a track for Serious Monkey Business, an unofficial Donkey Kong Country 2 remix album. At the conclusion of his celebrated Rare career, he expressed an enjoyment in giving back to the fan community.

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"The collaboration I named Re-Skewed - a play on rescued, which worked on many levels. It was my final swan song whilst at Rare," he said. "A track that both Grant Kirkhope and Robin Beanland very generously contributed their talents towards too. And a very fitting way to finish that part of my career."

David's most recent venture is David Wise Sound Studios and Music Publishing, through which he continues to compose music and create sound design in games and digital media.

Fans need only glance at his latest project, the stunning Tengami, to see David's career is far from over. But almost certainly the highlight will remain the thousands of gamers and their love for game music which he, along with the other leading 8 and 16-bit composers from further afield helped consolidate with the Donkey Kong Country series.

"I think there is a huge combination of factors as to why the DKC series is fondly remembered," he told CVG. "I think primarily is the fact that Donkey Kong is such an iconic character. Also, that Rare were able to dig so much more out of the SNES hardware using the latest technological advances.

"I have many fond memories from this time."


David Wise Game Credits

Source: Wikipedia

1987: Slalom (NES), Wizards & Warriors (NES)
1988: R.C. Pro-Am (NES), Wheel of Fortune (NES), Jeopardy! (NES), Anticipation (NES)
1989: Marble Madness (NES), World Games (NES), WWF WrestleMania (NES), Sesame Street 123 (NES), John Elway's Quarterback (NES), California Games (NES), Taboo: The Sixth Sense (NES), Sesame Street ABC (NES), Hollywood Squares (NES), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (NES), Jordan vs. Bird: One on One (NES), Cobra Triangle (NES), Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II (NES), Wheel of Fortune Junior Edition (NES)
Jeopardy! Junior Edition (NES), Silent Service (NES)
1990: Double Dare (NES), Wheel of Fortune Family Edition (NES), Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition (NES), The Amazing Spider-Man (Game Boy), Captain Skyhawk (NES), Pin*Bot (NES), Snake Rattle 'n' Roll (NES), Wizards & Warriors Chapter X: The Fortress of Fear (Game Boy), NARC (NES), A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES), Super Glove Ball (NES), Cabal (NES), Time Lord (NES), Arch Rivals (NES), WWF WrestleMania Challenge (NES), Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship (NES)
1991: Digger T. Rock (NES), WWF Superstars (Game Boy), Battletoads (NES), Battletoads (Game Boy), Beetlejuice (NES), Super R.C. Pro-Am (Game Boy), High Speed (NES), Sneaky Snakes (Game Boy), Sesame Street ABC & 123 (NES)
1992: Wizards & Warriors III (NES), Beetlejuice (Game Boy), Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat (NES), R.C. Pro-Am II (NES), Championship Pro-Am (Mega Drive)
1993: Battletoads (Mega Drive, Game Gear), Battletoads & Double Dragon (NES, Mega Drive, SNES, Game Boy), Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (SNES), Battletoads in Ragnarok's World (Game Boy), X The Ball (Arcade), Snake Rattle 'n' Roll (Mega Drive)
1994: Monster Max (Game Boy), Battletoads (Arcade), Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
1995: Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy), Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
1996: Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (SNES)
1997: Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
2000: Donkey Kong Country (GBC)
2002: Star Fox Adventures (GCN)
2004: It's Mr. Pants (GBA) (additional sound effects)
2005: Donkey Kong Country 3 (GBA)
2007: Diddy Kong Racing DS (DS)
2008: Viva Piņata: Pocket Paradise (DS), War World (Xbox 360)


Further Highlights

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