Composers and producers hit the musical jackpot scoring for WMS Gaming’s slot machine games

Composer/sound designer Ralph Beerhorst said with a laugh if WMS Gaming were to become a jingle house, “we could rule the world.”

He wasn’t kidding. Some of the city’s very best music makers have gone to work composing music for multi-billion-dollar WMS Gaming’s popular assortment of video reel, mechanical reel and poker games.

Located in a low-slung, plant-like building on the Near Northwest Side, the music department writes and produces music for more than 140 ever- evolving electronic games.

The company holds licenses to the Monopoly, Men in Black, Match Game, Hollywood Squares and Clint Eastwood games. Its video and mechanical reel games have names like “Money to Burn,” “Double Powerball,” “The Big Money Show,” “Houdini Reels of Mystery” and “Dr. Jackpot and Mr. Wild.”

Beerhorst, who joined in May after three years as a partner at the Rhythm Caf?, said his assignments “are like scoring for commercials or a movie.”

For the three or more bonus rounds of games, for instance, such as one with a Clint Eastwood “Fistful of Dollars” theme, “we write one-to-two minute pieces to put the player into that experience.”

Musical themes for new and existing games and extensions are decided by the creative teams in whose development studios in Las Vegas, Reno, London and Sydney the composers rotate their talents.

Jim Trompter, a well-known composer and former music house owner, scored a “Monopoly” game with a big band of session players, who are discovering a new and thriving clientele.

Trompeter recorded in WMG’s studio, consisting of one large main room and three smaller iso rooms. Engineering is often handled by the multi-talented staff or by freelancers.

On the music department’s staff of eight are director of audio and international production, Eric Pryzby, a veteran composer of video games; Steve Zoloto, a Rhythm Caf? co-founder; lead composer Rob Berry; Vikas Deo and Mike Connelly, also from the video game side, and Kevin Xue, who works on the international side with Pryzby, in addition to Trompeter and Beerhorst.

Beerhorst feels he’s found his niche in the music world. “I absolutely love it here,” he said. “What’s amazing is that this is a corporate business with funky, cool creative vibes, like a boutique creative shop.

“I don’t feel I’m being pigeon-holed, like we so often are in the adworld. With so many musical genres to work in here, I feel like I’m really flexing my creative muscles.”

WMS Gaming is located at 3401 N. California; phone, 773/961-1000. See .