Games

Game Boy. The 8-bit sound walkman – Vandal Game Music

Many times the soundtracks are the element that stands out, in others it is the composers, in others it is the sound team but also sometimes it can be the hardware Sound. We have talked other times about the sound of some consoles, but we had not yet dedicated an article to what may be one of the most influential machines in the conception of what we call video game music.

And that can be none other than Game Boy and its improved version Game Boy Color, the console that led the portable revolution and introduced video game soundtracks in our pockets. This week we will see what his most important repertoires and composers were, as well as what defined his sound and the albums that were published in Japan, which had enough to not be desktop.

From Korobiniki to Lavender Town

In April 1989, Nintendo brought the Game Boy console to the world, a portable machine that would be Gunpei Yokoi’s greatest success. Hirokazu Tanaka had worked in sound engineering, who would also be the composer who would most musically nurture the console.because that same year it would contribute nothing less than the two launch jewels: Tetris Y Super Mario Land. The second of them would also receive the first CD dedicated entirely to a Game Boy game, the album Super Mario Land from Nippon Columbia.

Game Boy sound is characterized by its distinctive four channels: two square wave, one synthesis, and one noise.. It’s close to the sound of the NES chip but with one channel less, the main advantage being that it makes it a portable device, and one that would be around for over a decade thanks to the successor to the Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color. In 1990 two compilations were made: Game Boy Music Y Game Boy Graffiti.

Pocket fever began to spread in the 1990s, and was accompanied by games like Gargoyles Quest another that had its own album, the Red Arremer Makaimura Gaiden, TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan, atomic punk, Robo Cop from Jonathan Dunn or jewels from 1991 like protector, Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge, Metroid II: Samus Returns, Mega Man: Dr Wily’s Revenge or the initial Mana, known in Europe by the title of mystic quest. The Game Boy’s lineup of games and soundtracks was already terrific in just two years, picking up where the NES left off in 8-bit sound and continuing throughout the decade. also introducing the long-awaited headphone port that announced the famous motto of Dot Matrix With Stereo Sound.

Although Hirokazu Tanaka was the main composer in the early years, many other great composers went through the portable, as was the case with Jun Ishikawa with Kirby’s Dreamland and years later Hirokazu Ando with Kirby’s Dream Land 2, two other great Nintendo games on the console. the saga wizardry was so important in Japan that Ikuro Fujiwara took over the music for three Game Boy installments and also received discs from each of them just as it did Kentaro Haneda. In 1993 two other crucial games will arrive, on the one hand The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakeningwhich came to solidify the musical part of its Super Nintendo counterpart, and on the other Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3which not only inaugurated a great subsaga, but would also be the redoubt for the composer Kozue Ishikawawho also participated in the sound of that Zelda portable.

In the middle of the decade, sagas like the trilogy Donkey Kong Land of Rare, in which almost all the musicians of the Countryfrom David Wise until Evelyn Fischerpassing by Grant Kirkhope in Donkey Kong Land 2. In the offices of Atlus the saga was gestated Last Bibleto be completed with Another Bible, fantastic Game Boy repertoires that have received music CDs later thanks to the SuperSweep label. Meanwhile, in Spain we live the best stage with Alberto J. Gonzalez and immortal system classics like Metal Masters, Spirou or the Turok, which would arrive at the end of the decade with some of the best sound shows on the console.

sunsoft arrived
Sunsoft even patented this peripheral that turned the Game Boy speaker into a stereo amplifier.

Towards the end of the nineties it was also when the great license arrived that would change everythingone that had been released in 1996 in Japan and would come to give the second injection of life: pokemon. first with pokemon red Y pokemon bluelater it will be with Pokemon Yellowthe unforgettable chip tune from Pokemon Trading Card or the respective second generation. Other titans would also arrive like WarioLand II Y Wario Land 3 or the pair of Zelda by flagship, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Y The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Agessome of the best Game Boy Color games and repertoire.

Today, the Game Boy has become the quintessential chiptune instrument., as it is commonly used to create live music sessions using a mixer, the LSDJ cartridge and different effects. It is a pity that it is considered an obsolete and anachronistic device in many cases it is true that things like the batteries or the unlit screen are very outdated because even today and with modifications it remains a unique piece of technology: the walkman that led to a whole generation to listen to 8-bit square wave sounds anywhere.

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