Gavan Anderson

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Gavan J. Anderson
Gavan Anderson - 2.jpg
Born 1950-09-14
Birth Place Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Australian   Australia.svg
Aliases Gavin Anderson
Beam Software

Gavan Anderson (often misspelled as Gavin Anderson) was the second main composer at Beam Software. He joined Beam Software in 1988 and left in 1999. His music for Back to the Future is his best known game soundtrack. Gavan not only did music for games but also did some digitized voices in them, too. When Gavan began working too hard, he asked Tania Smith to join Beam and she accepted. He knew Tania through Marshall Parker, a friend of his that he toured and played with in bands. When Tania and Marshall joined, he started only working on sound effects because of Tania and Marshall already handling the music, and he eventually left Beam in October 1999. Gavan had previously played in a band called Bluestone. Below is Gavan's description about his job at Beam Software.

Gavan is also one of the unique video game musicians, as he never composed music for games and only ported music or used public domain music. However, he did create his own sound effects which were used in many Beam Software titles for the NES and Game Boy.



I had been working as a professional musician since around 1966. I had also worked for the ABC as a tech/tape op in their recording & broadcasting studios for about three years around 1969.

Analog and Digital Electronics had been my hobby and I had been writing assembly code for sprinkler systems and designing computer control interfaces in my spare time. When my daughter was turned 2 in 1988 my wife said she needed me home more often and the touring would have to be scaled back, so I applied for a job at BEAM software as an assembly language programmer. They had just employed a guy as their music programmer and had discovered he couldn't read or write music. They then found out who I was (a professional working musician who could read and write and play various instruments) so they gave me the position. As I had all the electronics background I got the hardware & engineering positions as well. Then when they found out I knew about modems and BBS systems I got the communications position added on to what I was already responsible for. Later on when we networked the company I wound up as the System Administrator/Network Engineer too. By mid 1989 my workload was out of control and the directors agreed that I needed assistance. I was still playing some local gigs and needed a keyboard player. I had toured with Marshall as part of the support band on the Kenny Rogers Australian tour in 1984 and I asked him who was available. He said there was a young lady from Tasmania who was fantastic and would like a playing gig as she had only recently come over to the mainland. She was fabulous so I asked her if she wanted to write some games music, offered her the job and she said - YES.

So from mid - to late 1989 we both worked on things but she eventually took over the whole lot. We were reverse engineering the Game Boy and the NEC PC Engine so that side of things was keeping me occupied. I had also written and implemented the BBS system for the company using Frontdoor and Remote Access so that the US clients such as LJN, Activision, etc. could call in and pick up the latest versions of their games development ROM files.

As the company kept expanding and employing more staff, I just didn't have the time to be involved in the music side of the games titles that BEAM was producing.

Music Development


Gavan used the Beam Software sound engine and wrote the music in Music Macro Language. Gavan also made impressive digitized samples for NES games. During the development of Aussie Rules Footy, his voice can be heard saying, "Out of Bounds. On the Full." When Gavan was doing this, he had to record both sentences in different files, which were then put together by Marshall Parker.

Gavan used XTREE originally to create music and sound effects for the NES, but he eventually started using Qedit which evolved into The Semware Editor (TSE) since it was a programming editor and he was learning to program in C.


Released Title Sample Notes
1989-??-?? Road Runner (NES)
With Tania Smith.
1989-09-?? Back to the Future (NES)
Arranged Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.
1989-09-?? Bad Street Brawler (NES)
Arranged Neil Brennan's music with Tania Smith.
1989-10-?? The Three Stooges (NES)
Arranged computer score.
1990-01-?? RoadBlasters (NES)
Arranged Brad Fuller and Earl Vickers' music with Tania Smith.
1990-03-?? Fisher Price: I Can Remember (NES) Arranged public domain music.
1990-03-?? Fisher Price: Perfect Fit (NES) Arranged public domain music.
1990-09-?? Back to the Future Part II & III (NES)
Sound Effects
1990-09-21 Boulder Dash (GB) (バルダーダッシュ) Sound Effects
1990-11-?? The Punisher (NES) Sound Effects
1991-??-?? Aussie Rules Footy (NES) Sound Effects, Voice acting
1991-??-?? Smash T.V. (NES)
Sound Effects
1991-??-?? Star Wars: Lucasfilm Games (NES) (スター・ウォーズ)
Sound Effects
1991-01-?? The Hunt For Red October (NES)
Sound Effects
1991-05-?? The Hunt for Red October (GB) (レッド・オクトーバーを追え) Sound Effects
1991-10-?? Bo Jackson Baseball (NES) Sound Effects
1992-??-?? Fire Fighter (GB) Sound Effects
1992-??-?? International Cricket (NES) Sound FX
1992-06-10 Power Punch II (NES)
Sound Effects
Unreleased Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch (NES) Sound Effects

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