So many buttons
If you’re of a certain age and inclination, names such as Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway and Chris Huelsbeck will make you do a happy dance.
These pioneers of videogame music cut their teeth on the Commodore 64, somehow squeezing epic chip-tunes out of the little brown breadbox.
With the magic of SidTracker64, you can now do the same using your iPad.
What does SidTracker64 do?
In short, it’s a complete production suite for messing about with a virtual reproduction of the SID (Sound Interface Device) chip that was at the heart of the C64.
You can choose a preset and use the keyboard to play searing leads and booming bass, twiddle knobs and wavetables until your ears explode, or delve into the editor, in order to compose full songs.
Is it easy to use?
It's rather more involved than, say, GarageBand. If you’ve not used a tracker before, SidTracker64 will seem something of an oddball; and even if you’re well versed in trackers, limitations and idiosyncracies regarding patterns and how they’re combined might feel a bit weird.
But the interface is extremely friendly, and there’s a fairly extensive help section. Within only ten minutes, we’d crafted a truly terrible track that sounded like Giorgio Moroder had gotten stuck inside an 8-bit computer and was desperate to be freed.
We’re thinking of selling it to Codemasters should they reboot the company’s ‘simulator’ games series.
So will it turn me into Rob Hubbard?
Only a time machine and the means to grow an impressively bushy moustache could do that. However, Rob’s Commando tune is included in its entirety for you to experiment with. And in a slice of pure genius, SidTracker64 loves the future and the past equally.
It’ll happily output your compositions as .m4a and supports Inter-App Audio and Audiobus for integrating with other iPad music apps; but also it’ll output .sid files for Sidplayer apps, and .prg that can be used on a real C64. So find a working time-machine app for your iPad and a fake moustache and you’ll be all set!
SidTracker64 is available for iPad and costs US$12.99, which is only slightly more than we paid for a truly terrible version of Space Harrier, back in 1986. We much prefer SidTracker64.