Mark Cooksey

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Mark Thomas William Cooksey
Mcooksey2.jpg
Gender Male
Born 1966-01-18
Birth Place Unknown
Nationality English   England.svg
Aliases Mr Cooksey
M.Cooksey
M Cooksey
Dr K
Tony Deaf
M.T.W. Cooksey
Mark
Firq
Website sites.google.com/site/mtwmusicsite/

Mark Cooksey is an English musician who has been working on video game music ever since the 1980s and is one of the better known game musicians.

Cooksey played the piano around age 5 and used computers at school around 1982. In 1984, he bought himself an Oric Atmos with 32k and left Shelfield Sports & Community College with A-Levels in Chemistry, Physics (his favorite subject) and General Studies. He then unsuccessfully looked for a job in electronics or physics.

In February 1985, Elite Systems were looking for programmers at the local job centre. Finding it close enough, Cooksey applied as a trainee games programmer and landed an interview with the boss, Brian Wilcox, the next day. At the end, Cooksey got the homework of programming a music driver in assembly for his Oric and arranging Airwolf Main Theme on it. Over the weekend, he did it using a very simple assembler he had programmed in the computer's built-in BASIC. On this basis, he got employed "more or less on the spot", tasked with arranging the same song on someone else's Commodore 64 music driver, and next, and unexpectedly, with scoring most of Elite's games.

Cooksey's employment changed several times:

  • Between 1986 and 1987, Elite made him freelance. Ever since, he also composes for competitors, several of whose programmers previously worked for Elite as well.
  • Between late 1987 and March 1989, Elite employed Cooksey again and got him much better equipment. Cooksey still moonlighted (by own admission) for competitors and could not be credited then. Cooksey created some sound engines at Arc Developments.
  • Between early 1990 and late 1991, Elite made Cooksey freelance for good, this time including their division Motivetime, which paid their employees bonuses for based on Elite's profits. However, the bonuses gradually got lower and eventually disappeared.
  • In spring 1994, Cooksey was employed at NMS Software, again founded by former Elite staff members.

Cooksey continues to compose game soundtracks to this day and even plays in a band. Cooksey says that writing music for video games inspired him to compose and play music.

As of 2001, Cooksey donated his Amstrad CPC and Sanyo 286 PC to a cancer charity, but still has his Oric and a C64. As of 2012, he no longer has any C64 paperwork or disks. He likes every genre unless taken to extremes. His brother Paul Cooksey plays multiple instruments and (unless he has another brother) composed one song in Battle Ships (C64).

Audio Development

During his second employment, Elite got Cooksey an Akai S950 sampler, a Korg M1, and Notator for the Atari ST. Programmer Richard Underhill remembered on 2003-12-24:

watching musician Mark Cooksey humming a tune, while tracing his finger through a load of hex digits. [...] He really shouldn’t have written his own music player though :)

Amiga

Four variants of Cooksey's second driver are known:

Amstrad CPC

Cooksey's two CPC drivers basically match his C64 drivers.

Atari ST

Cooksey's ST music is in two drivers:

  • The two games that credit "Audio programming" to P.M.S Systems sound just like on the Amiga.
  • A line-by-line port of his second Spectrum 128K driver, coincidentally tuned at 440 Hz again. It was also used by Andi McGinty.

Commodore 64

Over time, Cooksey used four systems:

  1. For 1985, he was given the music driver from Neil Bate's games and arranged existing songs at its usual 434 Hz. In 2001, he called Frank Bruno's Boxing (C64) his worst music ever.
  2. Novaload, a tape loader licensed to Elite. At least one programmer (including Chris Harvey) asked Cooksey to arrange their favorite songs.
  3. With Bomb Jack (C64), Cooksey started composing original songs on his first own driver. On its first three games, it is tuned at 424 Hz. Features include muting voices (allowing sound effects over 3-track music) and wavetables (months before Rob Hubbard popularized them).
  4. Inmidst of scoring Overlander (C64), he switched to a completely new driver already used on ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. On two games, he used samples:

Cooksey's most popular C64 soundtracks are Ghosts 'n Goblins (C64), Paperboy (C64), and Bomb Jack (C64). His personal C64 favorites are Title - Felix (C64) and Storm Warrior (C64).

DOS

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Game Boy

Cooksey composed his music on Notator on an Atari ST and wrote a tool that converted the MIDI files to his sound driver.

Game Boy Advance

Cooksey reprogrammed his Game Boy sound driver to support the GBA's DirectSound channels. He presumably wrote MIDI files in a sequencer (possibly Notator) and wrote a tool that would convert the files to his driver.

On Tringo, Matchbox Missions, Kerplunk! - Toss Across - Tip It and Deal or No Deal, Cooksey used Nintendo's MP2K sound driver.

Game Gear/Sega Master System

Cooksey wrote the music in Logic and Notator on an Atari ST. He would then convert his MIDI files to the Game Gear and Master System using his own conversion tool and sound engine.

Genesis / Mega Drive

Cooksey composed MIDI files which were converted to his 68000 sound driver. Cooksey said he had a very difficult time programming instruments on it. During the development of Paperboy (GEN), Cooksey had Sega send him instruments.

NES

All of Cooksey's NES music was composed in Notator on an Atari ST. He then converted the MIDI files in Notator to the NES. According to Cooksey, he was primarily trying to get "flutey" sounds out of the NES. His music was played back from a memory box from Spidersoft.

Cooksey's NES music is in two drivers:

  1. The first one, used in Hoppin' Mad (NES) (music credited to him) and Cybernoid: The Fighting Machine (NES) (which he doesn't think is his), is a mod of his second C64 driver (used in games like Space Academy) and even has a leftover output to the C64's master volume. Both drivers use the respective hardware envelopes.
  2. His second one looks like a simplified port of his second Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum 128K driver. All three use software envelopes. Joe & Mac (NES) uses digitized drum samples, which Cooksey says may have been supplied by Richard Frankish.

Nintendo DS

For early games, Cooksey used custom sound driver. For later games, Cooksey used Nintendo's Nitro Composer sound driver.

PlayStation

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SNES

Cooksey programmed his own driver for the SNES and used a tool that would convert MIDI files (possibly from Notator) to his driver. For Dragon's Lair (SNES), Cooksey used Motivetime's sound driver by Richard Frankish.

ZX Spectrum

Games were separately released for the 48K and 128K.

Cooksey's two 128K drivers match his Amstrad CPC drivers except for being tuned at 390 Hz (two semitones lower), most likely as a porting simplification.

The 48K driver uses fast pulse width modulation.

Gameography

Released Title Sample Notes
1985-0?-?? Airwolf (C64)
Arranged Sylvester Levay's Music
1985-0?-?? 911 Tiger Shark (C64)
1985-09-?? Frank Bruno's Boxing (C64)
1985-1?-?? Commando (C64)
Tape loading song.
1986-04-?? Bomb Jack (C64)
1986-06-?? Ghosts 'n Goblins (C64)
1986-??-?? 1942 (C64)
1986-1?-?? Ikari Warriors (CPC) Same driver.
1986-1?-?? Paperboy (C64)
1986-11-?? Scooby Doo: Elite (C64) Same sound effect driver. Sound effects?
1986-12-?? Space Harrier (C64)
Partially arranged Hiroshi Kawaguchi's music.
198?-??-?? Bomb Jack II (C64)
198?-??-?? 1942 (CPC) Same driver.
198?-??-?? Space Harrier (CPC) Same driver.
198?-??-?? Commando 86 (C64) a.k.a. Duet (C64)
1987-0?-?? Duet (CPC)
1987-0?-?? Starforce Nova (C64)
1987-0?-?? Airwolf II (CPC)
1987-07-?? Cataball (C64) a.k.a. Hoppin' Mad (C64)
1987-0?-?? Great Gurianos (CPC) Same driver.
1987-07-1? Airwolf 2 (C64)
Released previous winter without audio (despite credit).
1987-07-1? Great Gurianos (C64)
1987-0?-?? Pirates in Hyperspace (C64)
1987-09-?? Scare Bear (C64)
1987-09-24 Ikari Warriors (ZXS) Same driver.
1987-??-?? Battle Ships (C64) a.k.a. Battleship (C64)
1987-1?-?? Buggy Boy (C64) a.k.a. Speed Buggy (C64)
Listed on his incomplete gameography, but potentially false memory due to the unique and simple music driver.
1987-1?-?? Ramparts (C64)
1987-??-?? Dead or Alive (C64)
1987-1?-?? Jackal PAL (C64) Arranged Jackal (ARC).
198?-??-?? Jackal (CPC) Same driver.
198?-??-?? Ramparts (CPC)
1988-0?-?? Ikari Warriors PAL (C64) Loading song.
198?-??-?? Ramparts (ZXS)
Arranged by Jason Brooke.
1988-0?-?? Buggy Boy (ZXS) Arranged Buggy Boy (ARC).
1988-0?-?? Charlie Chaplin (ZXS) Composer? Arranged by Unknown.
1988-0?-?? Charlie Chaplin (CPC) Same driver.
1988-0?-?? Hoppin' Mad (CPC) Same driver.
1988-0?-?? Hoppin' Mad (ZXS)
Same driver.
1988-07-?? Salamander (C64) a.k.a. Lifeforce (C64)
1988-0?-?? Overlander (ZXS)
1988-0?-?? Overlander (CPC)
1988-09-?? Battle Island (C64)
1988-??-?? Overlander (C64)
1988-??-?? Live and Let Die (ZXS)
1988-??-?? Live and Let Die (C64)
1988-??-?? Live and Let Die (AST)
1988-1?-?? A Question of Sport (C64)
1988-??-?? Live and Let Die (CPC)
198?-??-?? A Question of Sport (AST) Audio composer. Audio programming: P.M.S Software.
198?-??-?? A Question of Sport (ZXS)
198?-??-?? A Question of Sport (CPC)
198?-??-?? 4x4 Off-Road Racing (CPC) Same title song driver.
198?-??-?? 4x4 Off-Road Racing (ZXS)
Same title song driver.
198?-??-?? Live and Let Die (AMI) a.k.a. Aquablast (AMI)
198?-??-?? Wanderer (ZXS) Same driver.
1989-0?-?? A Question of Sport (AMI) Audio composer. Audio programming: P.M.S Software.
1989-0?-?? Wanderer (CPC) Same driver.
198?-0?-?? Wanderer (C64)
1989-0?-?? Forgotten Worlds (ZXS) Same driver.
1989-0?-?? Forgotten Worlds (AMI)
1989-0?-?? Forgotten Worlds (CPC) Same sound effect driver. Sound effects?
1989-0?-?? Forgotten Worlds (AST)
1989-0?-?? Mike Read's Home Computer Pop Quiz (ZXS)
1989-0?-?? Mike Read's Computer Pop Quiz (AST) Audio composer. Audio programming: P.M.S Software.
1989-0?-?? Mike Read's Computer Pop Quiz (AMI) Audio composer. Audio programming: P.M.S Software.
1989-0?-?? Mike Read's Computer Pop Quiz (C64)
1989-0?-?? Mike Read's Home Computer Pop Quiz (CPC) Sound effects. No music despite credit.
1989-06-2? Storm Warrior (C64)
1989-07-?? Forgotten Worlds (C64) Arranged Forgotten Worlds (ARC).
1989-0?-?? 4x4 Off-Road Racing (MSX) Same title song driver.
1989-08-?? First Strike (C64)
1989-0?-?? Paperboy (AMI)
1989-0?-?? Storm Warrior (CPC) Arranged by Unknown.
1989-??-?? Jackal NTSC (C64) Arranged Jackal (ARC).
1989-??-?? Space Academy (C64)
1989-??-?? Paperboy (AST)
1989-??-?? Spitfire (ZXS) Composer? Arranged by Unknown.
1989-??-?? Commando (AMI)
1989-??-?? Spitfire (C64)
1989-??-?? Commando (AST)
1989-12-?? Cybernoid: The Fighting Machine (NES)
Same driver.
198?-??-?? Paperboy (CPC) (4-color version only) Same driver.
1990-0?-?? Crack Down (ZXS)
Same driver.
1990-0?-?? Overlander (AMI)
19??-??-?? Crack Down (AST) Same driver.
1990-0?-?? Crack Down (AMI) Similar driver.
1990-0?-?? Grand National (AMI)
1990-04-?? Crack Down (C64) Arranged Crack Down (ARC).
1990-0?-?? Crack Down (CPC) Same driver.
1990-0?-?? Ghosts 'n Goblins (AST)
1990-06-?? Felix (C64)
1990-0?-?? Ghosts 'n Goblins (AMI)
1990-??-?? Gremlins 2: The New Batch (AMI)
Arranged Jerry Goldsmith's Music
1990-??-?? Gremlins 2: The New Batch (AST) Same driver.
1990-1?-?? Gremlins 2: The New Batch: Elite (DOS) Same driver.
1990-12-?? Dragon's Lair (NES) (ドラゴンズレア)
199?-??-?? World Championship Soccer (ZXS) Same driver.
199?-??-?? Tournament Golf (AMI)
1991-01-?? Dragon's Lair: The Legend (GB) (ドラゴンズレア)
199?-??-?? World Championship Soccer (AST)
1991-0?-?? Mighty Bomb Jack (AMI)
199?-??-?? World Championship Soccer (AMI)
1991-0?-?? Mighty Bomb Jack (AST)
1991-03-?? Gremlins 2: The New Batch (C64)
Arranged Jerry Goldsmith's Music
199?-??-?? World Championship Soccer (CPC) Same driver.
1991-0?-?? World Championship Soccer (DOS)
1991-0?-?? Ice Runner (AMI) Arranged by Florian Strauch with or without permission?
1991-0?-?? Mighty Bomb Jack (DOS)
1991-0?-?? Tournament Golf (DOS) Same driver.
1991-??-?? Paperboy (GEN)
Arranged Hal Canon's and Earl Vickers's music.
1992-01-?? The Addams Family (GB)
1992-0?-?? Potsworth & Co. (ZXS)
1992-0?-?? Potsworth & Co. (CPC)
1992-09-?? Ferrari Grand Prix Challenge (GB) (フェラーリ)
1992-11-?? Prince of Persia (NES)
1992-11-?? Star Wars (GB)
Arranged John Williams and Marshall Parker's music.
1992-11-?? Super Off Road (GB)
Arranged Sam Powell's music.
1992-12-?? WWF European Rampage Tour (C64)
1992-12-?? Lethal Weapon (C64)
1992-12-?? Nick Faldo's Championship Golf (C64) Sound effects.
1992-12-?? Dr. Franken (GB) (ドクター フランケン)
1992-??-?? The Addams Family (SMS)
1992-??-?? Arch Rivals: The Arcade Game (GEN)
1992-??-?? Arch Rivals: The Arcade Game (GG)
1992-??-?? Knightmare (DOS)
Arranged by Unknown.
1992-??-?? The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (GEN)
1992-??-?? The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (GG)
1992-??-?? The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (SMS)
1993-01-?? Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (GB) Arranged John Williams's music.
199?-??-?? WWF European Rampage Tour (AST) Driver.
1993-02-?? Dragon's Lair (SNES) (ドラゴンズ マジック)
1993-0?-?? Bart vs. the World (AST)
Driver.
199?-??-?? McDonaldland (AST) Driver.
1993-06-?? Cool World (GB)
1993-06-?? F-15 Strike Eagle (GB)
1993-06-?? Joe & Mac (GB) (Caveman Ninja)
1993-06-?? Joe & Mac (NES)
1993-06-?? StarHawk (GB)
1993-07-23 Jimmy Connors Tennis (GB) (ジミー コナーズ の プロテニスツアー)
1993-07-?? Speedy Gonzales (GB) (それゆ!けスピーディー・ゴンザレス)
1993-11-?? Cliffhanger (NES)
1993-11-?? Dr. Franken II (GB)
1993-11-?? Jimmy Connors Tennis (NES)
1993-12-?? Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Ubisoft (NES)
Arranged John Williams's music.
1993-12-?? RoboCop Versus the Terminator (SMS)
Arranged Mark Miller's music.
1993-??-?? F-15 Strike Eagle (GG)
Sound
1993-??-?? Poker Face Paul's Blackjack (GG) With Fletcher Beasley.
1993-??-?? RoboCop Versus the Terminator (GG)
1993-??-?? Sensible Soccer: European Champions (GB)
Arranged Richard Joseph's music.
1994-02-?? Dennis the Menace (GB) (Dennis)
1994-04-22 The Fidgetts (GB)
1994-06-17 Elite Soccer (GB) (ワールドカップストライカー)
Arranged Allister Brimble's music.
1994-06-24 The Addams Family (GG) (アダムス・ファミリー)
1994-07-?? Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (GB) (インディアナジョーンズ 最後の聖戦)
Arranged John Williams's music.
1994-09-14 Math Blaster: Episode 1 (GEN)
1994-09-?? Taz-Mania (GB)
1994-10-?? Cool Spot (GB)
Arranged Tommy Tallarico's music.
1994-10-?? Math Blaster: Episode 1 (SNES)
1994-12-08 Aladdin (GB)
Arranged Alan Menken's music.
1994-12-16 Newman Haas IndyCar Featuring Nigel Mansell (GEN) (ナイジェルマンセル・インディカー)
1994-??-?? Aladdin (NES)
Arranged Alan Menken's music.
1994-??-?? Lemmings 2: The Tribes (GB)
1994-??-?? Poker Face Paul's Gin (GG)
1994-??-?? Poker Face Paul's Poker (GG) Sound Driver?
1994-??-?? Poker Face Paul's Solitaire (GG)
1995-02-?? Pinball Fantasies (SNES) Arranged Olof Gustafsson's music.
1995-07-?? Jungle Strike (GB)
1995-10-?? Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos (SNES)
1995-12-31 Hyper 3-D Pinball (DOS) (Tilt!)
With Tommy Tallarico.
1996-10-31 Hyper 3-D Pinball (SAT) (Tilt!) With Tommy Tallarico.
1996-10-?? Disney's Pinocchio (GB) Arranged Allister Brimble's music.
1997-01-?? Hyper 3-D Pinball (PS1) (Tilt!) With Tommy Tallarico.
1997-03-27 Mass Destruction (SAT)
With Peter Connelly.
1997-11-11 Mass Destruction (DOS) With Peter Connelly.
1997-11-26 Mass Destruction (PS1) With Peter Connelly.
1998-12-?? Las Vegas Cool Hand (GBC)
Sound driver.
1998-12-14 Pitfall: Beyond the Jungle (GBC)
Arranged David Logan's title music. With Allister Brimble and Pete Frith.
1998-??-?? Cool Hand (GB) Sound driver.
1998-??-?? Judge Dredd Pinball (W32) With Chris Brighton.
1998-??-?? Pinball Soccer '98 (W32) With Chris Brighton.
1998-??-?? Outrage (W32)
With Chris Brighton.
1998-??-?? Roswell Pinball (W32) (Alien Pinball) With Chris Brighton.
1998-??-?? Team 98 Pinball (W32) With Chris Brighton.
1998-??-?? The Avengers Pinball (W32) With Chris Brighton.
1999-11-10 Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy (GBC)
1999-11-26 Les Visiteurs (GBC)
1999-12-13 Gex 3: Deep Pocket Gecko (GBC)
2000-04-30 Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado (GBC)
2000-07-09 Men in Black 2: The Series (GBC)
2000-09-15 Carl Lewis Athletics 2000 (GBC)
2000-09-15 Hype: The Time Quest (GBC)
2000-11-27 Ultimate Fighting Championship (GBC)
2000-11-?? Army Men: Air Combat (GBC)
2000-12-06 Playmobil Interactive: Laura (GBC)
2000-??-?? Papyrus (GBC)
2000-??-?? Spirou: The Robot Invasion (GBC)
2000-??-?? Pinball Mania Plus (W32) Arranged Martin Walker's music with Chris Brighton.
2001-03-16 Flipper & Lopaka (GBC)
2001-03-30 Robin Hood (GBC)
2001-05-30 Commander Keen (GBC)
2001-08-24 VIP (GBC)
2001-09-23 Gremlins: Unleashed (GBC)
2001-09-28 Men in Black: The Series (GBA)
Reused music from Men in Black: The Series 2 (GBC).
2001-09-28 Snood (GBA)
With Chris Brighton.
2001-09-?? Woody Woodpecker (GBC)
2001-10-09 Dracula: Crazy Vampire (GBC)
2001-11-14 Midnight Club: Street Racing (GBA)
With Chris Brighton.
2001-11-15 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (GBC)
2001-11-16 Kirikou (GBC)
2001-12-04 Top Gun: Firestorm (GBC)
2001-12-14 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (GBA)
2002-05-29 Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf (GBA) With Chris Brighton.
2002-09-18 Pinball Advance (GBA) Arranged Martin Walker's music with Chris Brighton.
2002-09-25 Smuggler's Run (GBA) With Chris Brighton.
2002-10-04 Worms World Party (GBA)
Arranged Bjørn Lynne's music.
2002-11-26 Top Gun: Firestorm Advance (GBA)
Original Music from GBC version.
2002-12-02 Medal of Honor: Underground (GBA)
Arranged Michael Giacchino's music with Chris Brighton.
2002-12-06 Worms Blast (GBA) Arranged Bjørn Lynne's music.
200?-??-?? The Adventures of Dr. Franken (NES)
2005-04-08 Killer 3D Pool (GBA)
2005-04-20 Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance (GBA)
2005-08-15 Millipede - Super Breakout - Lunar Lander (GBA)
2005-08-21 Connect Four - Perfection - Trouble (GBA)
2005-08-21 Risk - Battleship - Clue (GBA)
2005-08-21 Sorry! - Aggravation - Scrabble Junior (GBA)
2005-10-28 Snood 2: On Vacation (GBA)
2005-10-31 Sky Dancers: They Magically Fly! (GBA)
2005-11-07 Mousetrap - Operation - Simon (GBA)
2005-11-16 Snood 2: On Vacation (NDS)
2006-05-16 Tringo (GBA)
2006-08-30 Matchbox Missions: Air, Land and Sea Rescue / Emergency Response (GBA)
2006-??-?? Battleship - Connect Four - Sorry! - Trouble (NDS)
2007-03-16 Kerplunk! - Toss Across - Tip It (GBA)
2007-07-18 Deal or No Deal (GBA)
2007-07-23 Deal or No Deal (NDS)
2007-10-26 Power Play Pool (NDS)
2007-11-20 Clue - Mouse Trap - Perfection - Aggravation (NDS)
2008-??-?? Hoppin' Mad (NES)
2009-07-29 Garfield Gets Real (NDS)
2012-11-13 Rabbids Rumble (3DS)
2016-10-13 Charlie Chaplin (C64)
20??-??-?? Solitaire on Vacation (IOS)
Unreleased John Madden Football '93 (NES)
Unreleased Dragon's Lair (GEN)
Unreleased Blackjack-Poker (GB) With Fletcher Beasley.
Unreleased Home Alone 2 (GB)
Unreleased John Madden Football '93 (GB)
Unreleased Lemmings 2: The Tribes (GG)
Unreleased Poker Face Paul's Cribbage (GG)
Unreleased Network Q Rally (SNES) Sound driver.
Unreleased Rally: The Final Round of the World Rally Championship (SNES)
Unreleased Dino Crisis (GBC) Music for version by Fluid Studios.
Unreleased Kirokou 2 (GBC)
Unreleased E.T. Salerian Project (GBA)
Unreleased Garfield Gets Real (WII)
Unreleased Virtua Hamster (32X) Composer?

Aliases

He was sometimes called "Tony Deaf", in order to avoid prohibiting game credits from most developers.

Picture Gallery

Links