Jake Kaufman is a composer and sound designer in Los Angeles, with a truly heartfelt connection to game music. His versatility, charismatic style, and devoted following make him an essential part of any development team — large or small, epic or fluffy — who want to stand out from the crowd.

Click the navigation dots below for a quick overview, or feel free to explore.


As a freelancer and an in-house studio employee, Jake has held positions ranging from sound designer to audio director, and worked on over 50 games in his 10 year career. All this before age 30!

Meet Jake

Dynamic Music

Jake’s overall sound is generally “big”, with many layers of intricate harmonies. Continuing the traditions of his own favorite composers, even his underscore is filled with detail. For Red Faction Guerrilla (pictured), he joined forces with a team of composers to write 3 hours of huge and contrasting music, which changes in intensity as the player explores the barren landscape and gets into trouble.

The Composer with a Thousand Voices

Big band, Gypsy Jazz, Surf Rock, 50s Sci-fi, Disco, Bhangra, Mambo, Zydeco, Southern Hip Hop – Jake is able to take the integral harmonies and rhythms of a particular style of music and write strictly within them, or even combine them (often in hilarious or mind-bending ways!)

Sound Reasoning

Jake loves creating sound effects, designing atmospheric audio, and field recording new sounds, from footsteps to airplanes. Jake has created thousands of sound effects over the years, from alien blasters to cat warriors, from scripted noises on a Game Boy to cinematic foley for AAA titles.

Not just a rock star

Jake is himself a hobbyist game programmer, 3D animator, level designer, and visual effects enthusiast. This gives him the unusual ability to communicate with programmers and artists as easily as with other audio people.

For example, click the image to see a video he created to promote his recent soundtrack to IGN’s DS
Game of the Year, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge.

All true warriors

Anyone in the game industry knows that the best-planned project is still a minefield of stress. Jake’s professionalism is tempered by humor, a deep respect for Murphy’s Law, and above all, empathy for fellow developers.

When inspiration strikes and time allows, Jake will stay up way past his bedtime, making great stuff for your dev team to enjoy. Click the image to see an example.


Latest news


Here is a game I made entirely by myself, start to finish, in a single weekend for the Global Game Jam. I made it using Unity Pro, Luxology Modo, Photoshop, Cubase, Sound Forge Pro, and Adderall Pro.

Controls: WASD or Arrow Keys to fly around, and Space or LeftMouse to…. use your… weapon.
(The controls can be configured in the setup screen, and joysticks/gamepads are supported too)

Mac OS X Build
Tested on 10.8.2, may work on earlier versions

Windows Build
Tested on XP, W7, and W8

Original Soundtrack (MP3)

Watch out, the difficulty ramps up very quickly in the second half (after the mountains!)

FX4 Pre-Game Show!

FX4 will be released tomorrow night, at the fabulous chip net-label, Ubiktune! It’s been over 4 years since FX3 came out, and I’ve learned a lot of new tricks and techniques since then. This album contains all of them, and will actually run on a real Nintendo Entertainment System — my days writing soundalike NES music are over, because FamiTracker is awesome now.

Tomorrow night’s episode of Noise Channel is going to feature FX4, played in its entirety! WHOA!

We’ll talk briefly about the history of the FX albums, and about the creation of this latest one. Immediately after the show is over, we’ll unveil the full, free album over at Ubiktune, but if you want to hear it before anyone else gets to (and see the reactions of your fellow first-time listeners) join us in Arecibo’s chat room while you listen to the show! A podcast version will be available afterwards, as well.

Radio Overcoat: TrueStar Edition

Hello friends!
This coming Wednesday (August 24), at 8 PM PDT (11 PM EDT), you must tune your internet to Arecibo Radio and listen to the free live streaming radio as my wonderful geek bride, Kris (also known as TrueStar) joins my friend Scott (also known as OverCoat) on Radio OverCoat. She will be on location in Seattle, holding him hostage and taking over the microphone.

During the broadcast, stop by the Arecibo Radio chat room. There you’ll find friends old and new from the game music fan community, the chiptune scene, and the demoscene, listening together and talking about the show! Thanks to Scott’s massive, eclectic collection, you might find yourself falling in love with entire genres of music you didn’t even know existed. If that’s not enough to convince you, Kris will also play several new unreleased songs of mine, which you won’t be able to hear anywhere else for months to come!

Mighty Milky Way

Mighty Milky Way, WayForward’s latest and greatest downloadable game, is available right now on Nintendo DSiWare! I promise you’ll love it from the title screen onward; it’s a pretty addictive little game.

Then, once you’re madly in love with our new friend Luna and her planet-skipping escapades, head over to my brand new Bandcamp site, and pick up a copy of the Complete Original Soundtrack, which not only includes all the music from Mighty Milky Way, but ALSO all the music from our previous DSiWare game, Mighty Flip Champs! That’s two WayForward soundtracks at once. Can you handle it?

The best part of all: Just like my Shantae: Risky’s Revenge OST, this is another “pay what you want, IF you want” setup. You can download the MP3s for free, no strings attached (follow the link back here from the Bandcamp site) or name your own price. As before, all proceeds will go directly back into music gear for my studio.

I hope the soundtrack brings a smile to your face, because — fair warning — when Bloodrayne: Betrayal ships, you’re not going to have much of a face left after it EXPLODES WITH JOY.

I will remix anything for you!

MAGFest is awesome, and they are demonstrating this yet again by running several charity auctions to raise money for the victims of the recent earthquake / tsunami in Japan.

I had to jump in on principle, of course! I will make an arrangement of any song from any game, exactly to your specifications, if you win the auction in question. As of this writing, there are only 4 days left — so hurry up and bid! Not only do you contribute to a really good cause, but you ALSO get me as your personal musical rentboy, to do with as you please. Yes!

They’re also auctioning CDs (including autographed copies of Rocked’n'Loaded and the Kwakfest album) and other amazing stuff like tickets to Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concerts, and custom artwork by talented artists! Go! Bid on it all!

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