Friday, 18 August 2017

Game Music #3

The time of the 16-bit console wars was a glorious time to be a gamer. The die-hard Sega and Nintendo fans spent more time arguing the virtues of their chosen system with their each other than they did actually using their chosen system, or so it often seemed, and the subject of these arguments included just about every single aspect of ownership. Everything from tech specs and graphical prowess to individual games were discussed, but one subject I often found myself focusing on was the respective audio abilities of each company's powerhouse.

It was a topic worthy of discussion too, in my opinion - both systems had distinctive yet quite different sounds. Sega's MegaDrive made use of the Yamaha YM2612, an FM sound synthesiser chip which could produce some cracking synth choons, while the Super Famicom was armed with Nintendo's S-SMP, a sampler that could pump out some impressive orchestrations with a highly recognisable style. One of the most common arguments I heard from Ninty fan-boys, in fact, was regarding the supposed superiority of the SFC's and how the mere MegaDrive would be hopelessly lost trying to replicate them, and I often felt compelled to concede this particular point.

Just recently, however, I stumbled upon this video on YouTube by Horus Curcino, and was immediately intrigued by its title which claimed the accompanying clip featured some of the SNES's best known choons, but played by the mighty YM2612! Could this settle the age-old arguments once and for all? Would the MD's hallowed sound chip be able to play decent renditions of SFC classics like Top Gear, Street Fighter 2, Final Fantasy V, Super Mario World, and F-Zero? Who knows, but if you're as eager as I was to find out, check out this splendid recording.

So, what do you think, Nintendo fans? No doubt the most die-hard among you would never acknowledge any version of the respective choons that aren't being produced by your beloved SFC/SNES, especially if the device in question has 'Sega' written on it, but surely most of us can agree that the YM2612 does a very spiffy job here with the help of the talented composer and/or lifelike pair of robot hands? Presumably these hands are attached to Señor Curcino himself (or were programmed by him), but whoever is responsible for the nimble-fingers, they've done a top job. I guess he/she/it must've enjoyed it too, as they have added a second video featuring the likes of Dracula X, Yoshi's Island, and Mega Man! Check check check it out!

Pretty darn sweet, huh? Of course, fans of either machine will always favour their preferred systems, especially if they grew up with it warbling in their ears every day, but it's still great to hear these renditions. Inevitably, it also makes me wonder if the SFC/SNES would be as impressive playing some of the most famous MegaDrive choons - the wonderful compositions of Yuzo Koshiro, for example. So what do we reckon, Sega and Nintendo fans? Which side of the fence did you fall? Has stuff like this swayed you over the intervening years, or have you remained steadfast in your appreciation of your favourite system's particular brand of bleeps and bloops?

Special Note: Neither of these clips has anything to do with me or Red Parsley, I just happened to find them and thought they were worth sharing. Both were uploaded by YT user Horus Curcino. Check out his very keyboardy channel here.

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