Game On!

By Stephen Paul

When video games became popular in the late 1970's, music was still being stored on physical media like cassette tapes and records. While this provided for the use of music in early arcade video games, it was generally monophonic, looped, or used sparingly between stages or at the start of a new game. The very first game to include sound was Pong from Atari. Tomohiro Nishikado's 1978 game, Space Invaders, was the first to use a continuous background soundtrack. The music had four descending chromatic bass notes playing in a loop, but it was dynamic and interacted with the player, accelerating as the foes approached. Pac-Man (1980) composed by Toshio Kai and published by Namco, added melodies at the start and end of a level. The term "chiptune" is derived from the limitations of early computers, which led to a specific style of music. Namco is given credit for some of these early sounds...

To read the full article, click 'subscribe' below!