Project Hubbard: Rob's Life

Posted by Chris Abbott on

Rob's Life

Project Hubbard has always been about celebrating Rob's entire career (the lion's share of attention always falls on the SID years), but he has a long and productive career either side of that, and also a second career as "Robb Hubbard - 8-Bit Zzap!64 celebrity".

So, it seemed like fate then when the idea came up: "Hey, why don't we put Rob in a game? He's never done that before." and pitched it to Trevor "Smila" Storey (graphician of too many games to mention), he said "Why don't we put him in the game "My Life" and call it "Rob's Life"? "Stick in some classic C64 enemies and put Ben Daglish in", I said, "and we've got a deal!".

So was born: an NTSC/PAL cartridge from Psytronik as an add-on into the Project Hubbard Kickstarter. Not the main event, just a fun little thing.

Lovely art by Trevor here.

Of course, if it was a game really based on Rob's Life, it would be more "To Be On Top" (a pop artist simulator for the C64 with music by Chris Huelsbeck). In fact, an "8-bit video game musician's career simulator" would be a lot of fun to play, but less fun to write.

So, "Rob's Life" was born. Of course, it wouldn't be a Rob Hubbard game without a title tune and loading tune composed by the man himself. So, in they went: a new SID called "Casio" for the loading tune, and "Don't Step on My Wire" for the title tune. 

Casio Capers - the loading tune

"Casio" has a long history, first appearing as a synth recording in the early-80s and forming the basis of one of Rob's first SIDs: Tune #1 in the SID "Synth Sample III" (which contained most of the tunes Rob had done up until that point, including Razzamatazz).

It also featured prominently in the Project Sidologie campaign:

and the album "Robdez-Vous".

Before that, it was in a co-production with Max Hall and appeared as a bonus track on the "From Bedrooms To Billions" soundtrack. (Casio isn't on this below video, but I thought you wouldn't want to miss Rob and Ben working with Max in the studio!!)


So, it's not exactly a "lost" SID: but the team thought that it had suffered from being implemented too early in Rob's career to do it justice, and that a full-length version done in his 1986 style would be mighty fine.

Don't Step on My Wire - the title tune

Another early 80s SID with a distinctly blues-y feel. One of the distinctive things about Rob's music from the beginning was the appearance of extended, almost free-form solos and a jazz/blues feel even creeping into non-jazz tracks (sometimes through the harmony).

You will hear this SID in the Project Hubbard Kickstarter page, and it's seriously funky.

OK, that's "Rob's Life". Paying tribute not to "Dr. Rob Hubbard, serious musician", but more to "Robb Hubbard, 8-bit Zzap!64 personality".