Cover Songs in 8-Bit Video Games

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Information about Cover Songs in 8-Bit Video Games

Published on April 25, 2008

Author: collinsk

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Conference presentation-- 8-Bit video game cover songs-- for IASPM Canada 2008

Cover Songs in 8-Bit Video Games CONFERENCE PRESENTATION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE STUDY OF POPULAR MUSIC (IASPM.CA). Karen Collins, University of Waterloo

Why so many cover songs,and why did they disappear?

8-Bit ? Isn't that like, so... 1984??

8-Bit Games = Revolutionary + Influential The Apple II was designed around games

Commodore brought PCs to the home market through GAMES 8-Bit Games = Revolutionary + Influential

Techniques developed by composers led to the creation of modern sequencing software . 8-Bit Games = Revolutionary + Influential

Not covering... “ artist”-based games

Not covering Chiptunes

FOCUS Uses of other people's music (cover versions) in 8-Bit Games for seemingly “random” reasons....

What is 8-BIT? Bit = Binary Digit (a 1 or 0) “ X-bit” = number of simultaneous 1s or 0s the CPU can handle an 8-bit computer can process 8 bits of data at the same time. Approx 1970-1990

Bit = Binary Digit (a 1 or 0)

“ X-bit” = number of simultaneous 1s or 0s the CPU can handle

an 8-bit computer can process 8 bits of data at the same time.

Approx 1970-1990

I Am 8-Bit

I Am 8-Bit

I Am so NOT 8-Bit

A Few Examples of Cover Songs in 8-Bit Games licensed tracks unlicensed pop covers unlicensed film covers traditional songs classical music

licensed tracks

unlicensed pop covers

unlicensed film covers

traditional songs

classical music

California Games (1987) (licensed Kingsmen)

Frantic Freddie (1983) (unlicensed pop)

Int'l Karate (1986) (unlicensed film)

Buffalo Bill (1989) (traditional)

Acid Drop (1992) (classical)

So, why covers?

8-bit sound chips 2 or 3 tone channels (usually + 1 noise) subtractive synthesis some had envelope generators some had set waveforms coded in assembly or BASIC Limited frequency ranges

2 or 3 tone channels (usually + 1 noise)

subtractive synthesis

some had envelope generators

some had set waveforms

coded in assembly or BASIC

Limited frequency ranges

Up ‘N Down (Sega 1983) Arcade Version

Up ‘N Down (Sega 1983)

Atari VCS (2600) Up ‘N Down (Sega 1984)

Up ‘N Down (Sega 1984)

Editing the track to the technology... Remove or substitute vocals Loop track Remove instrument parts Simplify parts (e.g. Harmony) Substitute notes

Remove or substitute vocals

Loop track

Remove instrument parts

Simplify parts (e.g. Harmony)

Substitute notes

And that's just the hardware!

Making a “beep” in assembly Beep   PROC USES AX BX CX     IN AL, 61h  ; Save state     PUSH AX           MOV BX, 6818 ; 1193180/175     MOV AL, 6Bh  ; Select Channel 2, write LSB/BSB mode 3     OUT 43h, AL         MOV AX, BX         OUT 24h, AL  ; Send the LSB     MOV AL, AH         OUT 42h, AL  ; Send the MSB     IN AL, 61h     ; Get the 8255 Port Contence     OR AL, 3h             OUT 61h, AL  ; End able speaker and use clock channel 2 for input     MOV CX, 03h ; High order wait value     MOV DX 0D04h ; Low order wait value     MOV AX, 86h ; Wait service     INT 15h                 POP AX ; restore Speaker state     OUT 61h, AL     RET BEEP ENDP From Using Assembly Language by Allen L Wyatt From Using Assembly Language by Allen L Wyatt

Beep   PROC USES AX BX CX     IN AL, 61h  ; Save state     PUSH AX           MOV BX, 6818 ; 1193180/175     MOV AL, 6Bh  ; Select Channel 2, write LSB/BSB mode 3     OUT 43h, AL         MOV AX, BX         OUT 24h, AL  ; Send the LSB     MOV AL, AH         OUT 42h, AL  ; Send the MSB     IN AL, 61h     ; Get the 8255 Port Contence     OR AL, 3h             OUT 61h, AL  ; End able speaker and use clock channel 2 for input     MOV CX, 03h ; High order wait value     MOV DX 0D04h ; Low order wait value     MOV AX, 86h ; Wait service     INT 15h                 POP AX ; restore Speaker state     OUT 61h, AL     RET BEEP ENDP

What this meant ... Writing music was VERY time consuming. Game developers didn't have time: product lifecycle short, competitive Music was done by programmers *

Writing music was VERY time consuming.

Game developers didn't have time: product lifecycle short, competitive

Music was done by programmers *

Geeks...

... are not Rock Stars.. .

The time to development... and the lifecycle

In the game world, The programmer was God . (Larson)

Note there was no tying of music to content of the game...

or a rather spurious connection at best... ...uh, Water Music?

Captain Comic (Color Dreams 1988)

Captain Comic ’s songs: Borrowing from classical music. SHEET music. Thanks to Will Gibbons at UNC for this note

Captain Comic ’s songs:

Borrowing from classical music.

SHEET music.

Grey Areas are Great

Copyright's “grey areas” in the age of 8-Bit

A Summary: Why Cover Songs? programmers were not musicians the programmers made the decisions there was very little time the technology made it difficult copyright's grey areas made it easy

programmers were not musicians

the programmers made the decisions

there was very little time

the technology made it difficult

copyright's grey areas made it easy

So... Where have all the covers gone?

A Changing Industry ...

Nintendo...a Conscious Effort to be Different

A New Game Music Aesthetic

An attempt to adapt ...(or emulate)

New Technology... Redbook Audio in Games

 

 

 

2007 Tarriff 22A

A Summary: Why did covers (mostly) end with 16-Bit? game industry had changed game music had matured and developed its own aesthetic (s) technology had changed Copyright laws more rigid

game industry had changed

game music had matured and developed its own aesthetic (s)

technology had changed

Copyright laws more rigid

Still want more?? Ashgate, UK 2008 MIT Press, US 2008

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