The NES has a channel where you can load really low quality samples to play. Most often it's used for the purposes of percussion. The samples have to be tiny.

By 1992 I'd moved onto the Amiga. But my neighbour still had a NES which I'd play often. The first game where I really noticed the sample track was the timpanis that play on the flying ships in SMB3.

I was surprised because I hadn't noticed before that the system could do anything except the usual bleeps. So I said while one of the neighbours was there, "That music is really impressive, I'm surprised it can do that." 

Big mistake.

My 10 year old self didn't have the music vocabulary to properly describe that what I was surprised to hear was recorded samples. So when the neighbour pushed for details about why this was surprising to me all I could say was, "My Amiga can do sounds like that, but I didn't realise the NES could."

It got a bit awkward. It sounded like I was boasting about how much better my Amiga sounded when actually I was just excited about a new thing I'd learned about the NES. I was just getting into writing my own music and noticing more about how it was put together.

So, I remember hours of fun playing games on that neighbour's NES, in the abstract. But the one specific memory of that time that my brain has decided needs to be properly retained forever and ever is the one where I accidentally made myself sound like a sound chip elitist.

Thanks, brain.

Posted
AuthorPeter Silk