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The Sound of Musik




It is clear that not including the POKEY sound chip was not a good decision. The many "What Ifs" in the Forum and on people's blogs go on and on. It is kinda sad to see games like Ikari Warriors, Ninja Golf, Double Dragon and Summer Games with sound based on 70s technology.

Having said, at the end of the day no cares that car engine noises sound better on Forza on the XBOX One, or Gran Turismo or on the PS4. What console buyers care for are the selection of games (arcade ports certainly enticed buyers in the 80s and 90s), the graphics, and then perhaps the price. Sounds and expandability (computer keyboards, Laserdisc?!) never really persuaded anyone.

Well, I do have the Commando and Ballblazer cartridges. They do sound kick-ass especially when you compare it with all the cartridges in the 7800 library. It's lame to hear Summer Games and the national anthems compared to what they sounded on the Atari 800 or C64. Double Dragon sounds pretty much the same as the 2600 version, and terrible compared to the NES or Master System. Karateka's minimal sounds don't match even what the Apple IIe does.

Playing BB or Commando just makes it much more enjoyable to play the game, especially for the latter where it gets pretty close to the arcade sounds I remember. Good graphics and the exact same two-button control, and pretty much the same levels. BB is just an odd game that I can't really get into, but I will most of the time just plug in the cart and listen to the music.

When I plug in any other non-POKEY game, the 7800 just loses a lot of shine for me. I may as well turn off the sound in some cases, it just sounds painful.

It's cool to see a lot of POKEY-enabled homebrew games, so I at some point I may take a plunge and go on buying spree to get some of these cool games. Ideally, it would be great to see some of the SD cartridges or expansion HW for sale. That's a topic for another day ...



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