The 'Addams Family Values' OST for Super Nintendo Slaps

A look back at the game's visionary composer Keith Tinman and some of his other work.

Born in the UK in 1966, Keith Tinman started making music for fun with a Roland SH-101 keyboard and a tape recorder. He broke into computer and video game composition at age 18 with the Commodore 64 release The House Jack Built. Though the score was the first of his prolific career, Tinman’s chiptune efforts sound more like the work of a seasoned veteran than an inexperienced novice.

As impressive as his early creations for the Commodore 64 are, Timan really started to flex his skills a few years into his career. The epic score for the 1986 Commodore game Hypa-Ball gave him a place to showcase a unrivaled depth and range of sound, with the end result working as both a standalone recording and the perfect compliment to the retro game’s visuals.

Though Hypa-Ball became one of is early successes that he was most widely-recognized for, Tinman also noted a special pride in his work for the games Scary Monsters (1987) and CABAL (1988) in a 2002 remix64 interview with Neil Carr.

After joining Ocean Software at the beginning of the 1990s, Tinman’s work began to feature more prevalently on a variety of Nintendo and Super Nintendo games. Tracks like the “Winner’s credits” finale from The Untouchables (1990) demonstrated an continually evolving sound.

Though the game itself received lukewarm reviews, the 1995 Super Nintendo version of Addams Family Values may be one of Tinman’s true masterworks, providing listeners with a deliciously dark and catchy soundtrack. On the somber, creeping “Dark Dungeons,” Tinman played with layering while adding and subtracting textures throughout the song to give the music the desired dramatic effect.

The synth sounds on “Creepy Creatures” give off retro cult movie vibes that work perfectly as a pithy, punchy bit of music.

Meanwhile “House of the Dead” features Tinman doing an excellent riff on the late Fred Myrow’s oft-sampled “Intro and Main Title” from Don Coscarelli’s horror classic Phantasm. Fans of the movie will appreciate his ability to pay homage to the film while creating something compelling and original.

If you dig the Addams Family Values vibes, make sure to check out Tinman’s carefully crafted numbers on the 1997 PC game Last Rites. The score makes a nice listening companion to his darker SNES numbers.

Though Tinman’s page on the indispensable wiki resource Video Game Music Preservation Foundation notes more recent video game scoring work, it seems like he started to move towards other artistic outlets in the early and mid-2000s. His current website lists an impressive resume of post production sound service work for film and television, but his equally notable video game career is completely absent.

Keith Tinman’s contributions to computer and video game music were vast, varied, and important. With London’s Data Discs doing a wonderful job reissuing classics like by Yuzo Koshiro’s score for Streets of Rage, it would be much-appreciated to see them or a like-minded label give Tinman’s soundtracks some of the same care and attention.

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