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In the Loop: Creativity and Constraint in 8-bit Video Game Audio


This article explores the sound capabilities of video game consoles of the 8-bit era (c.1975–85) in order to discuss the impact that technological constraints had on shaping aesthetic decisions in the composition of music for the early generation of games. Comparing examples from the Commodore 64 (C64), the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Atari VCS, and the arcade consoles, I examine various approaches and responses (in particular the use of looping) to similar technological problems, and illustrate how these responses are as much a decision made by the composer as a matter of technical necessity.

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Twentieth-Century Music
  • ISSN: 1478-5722
  • EISSN: 1478-5730
  • URL: /core/journals/twentieth-century-music
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