Earlier this month, the game audio community lost Brad Fuller, a man who was both a pioneer and an inspiration. We reached out to some who knew him to share their thoughts and memories of Brad, and to celebrate his life and contributions to our community.
From Don Diekneite:
“Brad Fuller, 62, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer on January 2nd. His early love for music became a calling and he enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston, followed by the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. In 1982 Brad joined Atari as Director of Audio where he built and managed Atari’s audio team which was responsible for the sound of all of Atari’s coin-operated games. During this time, he pioneered technologies and creative audio practices whose impact is still being felt today. Among the many titles he personally created sound for are Donkey Kong, Marble Madness, Klax, Paper Boy, Toobin and many, many more.
Though he was particularly passionate about jazz, Brad loved just about every kind of music from blues and country to rock, classical, electronic, and experimental. Combined with an equal regard for the magic in code and technology, he made 1s and 0s come to life in sound.
Brad was one of those rare individuals who excelled in several areas. His exceptional technical competence in both software and hardware is hard to find in someone who is also so expert in the creative realm. As a sound designer and composer, he not only created great material but also leveraged technical knowledge to find creative solutions others often missed. His experience combined with a genuine care for people made him an extraordinary manager with a unique ability to balance the business, the technical, and the creative.
Working for Brad at Atari Games was a daily lesson in learning by doing. He did not manage by insisting on a specific way to solve a problem or accomplish a task. Instead, he taught you the tools, explained the goal, said, “go,” and then gave you his unconditional support – the operative word here being, “unconditional.” He worked for those on his teams as much as they worked for him.
If one measure of a man is his ability to impact, influence, and even change the lives of others, then Brad measures up big time. Because of Brad’s influence, those whose lives he touched often found their lives taking a new direction, with new choices being made. Some seemingly small, some huge, but all having unquestionable impact. Many of those who worked with Brad credit him with the acquisition of greater knowledge and understanding of the technical (how things work) and the creative (how things are made). All leading to nothing less than truly artful results. To this day, sound designers and composers of interactive media owe him for pioneering efforts in adaptive audio for games, toys, and other interactive products.
Not to mention the millions of people all over the world who felt such delight in the countless games they played that were strengthened by the sounds, voices and music Brad created.
But most of all, so many of us owe the simple but heartfelt sharing of warmth and friendship from a guy who did not draw a line between co-worker, colleague and friend.
Thank you Brad, your spirit lives on in all of us.“
From Leonard Paul:
“I first met Brad during the IA-SIG party in San Jose in 2006. We chatted for a while before I found out that he had worked on the music for Marble Madness, which was a favourite game of mine on the Amiga. He always had a warm personality and I had fun corresponding with him by email and catching up with him over the years at the Game Developers Conference. The Level 2 music from Marble Madness will always be a classic for me.” – Leonard Paul