My parents did not let me play Duke Nukem 3D until well into the late 2000s. There are strippers in that game, and also the main character is a walking template for toxic masculinity, a very poor example for a young boy. I remember the classic ’90s big box from back then though, and that iconic theme music, “Grabbag” coming through our family computer’s tinny speakers in the other room.
The composer of that tune, D. Lee Jackson, has left quite a mark on classic shooters. In addition to “Grabbag,” he collaborated on the rest of the Duke 3D OST, as well as that of Rise of the Triad, with Bobby Prince. Jackson himself took the lead on the classic Shadow Warrior soundtrack.
Jackson announced on November 20 via his personal website that he is opening commissions for new music, having already previously contributed to several projects on the DoomWorld forums in his retirement. He began this current push in order to secure funding for the remaining parts for his PC build, something painfully relatable in this time of shortages and price gouging.
You can get a sense of Jackson’s post-3D Realms work over on his Bandcamp, where he has uploaded some full albums of quality work, stuff that really wouldn’t sound out of place in a 2010s boomer shooter revival.
It’s very cool to get a sense of the individual behind a truly iconic piece of music, let alone have something crafted by him just for you. Jackson is looking to cover $529 worth of parts left on his new build, including motherboard, CPU cooler, and case fans. Looking at his PCPartPicker list, he has, perhaps wisely, opted to avoid the new DDR5 standard for now. Check out his commissions page if you’re looking for an extra bit of spice for your twitch channel or next Doom WAD.
As it happens, PC Gamer commissioned its own cover of Grabbag for a special album to promote the PC Gaming Show at E3. Here’s that rendition from Austin Green.