Q & A: Nes or SMD

Nintendo Entertainment System

Snake Rattle And Roll

MIKA@parsnippu asks:

Hey Dave, I’m curious if you have a favorite between the NES and Mega Drive versions of the soundtrack? Or a favorite track? 🙂

When I composed the soundtrack for the NES, the Mega Drive didn’t even exist.

Sega Mega Drive

The NES used an 8-9-10 chip with 2 pulse waves, a triangle wave and a noise channel. All of the data had to be typed in to an editor and assembled.

Whereas the SMD had 4 operator FM synthesis – I could play the parts on a midi keyboard – and I could take sounds from my DX21 and modify them to work on the mega Drive. It could also use samples, although this took memory and processing away from the game-play.

I’ll be doing 2 advanced, in-depth videos for Nerdy Computer Musicians like me. The first on how we got the NES to sound acceptable. And the other on 4 operator FM synthesis. I’ll be looking at which VST instrument emulators can get you to sound like a Retro Video Game Composer- without all of the blood, sweat and tears from yesteryear.