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Thinking about the past lives of used ICs


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When I got my set of YM2151 chips in the mail from China, I was looking at them, wondering how long it would be before I ended up actually hooking them to anything and playing music on them. (Still haven't gotten my workspace organized enough to start such projects tho - I really need to quit being lazy).

One thought I had about those chips was that when they go into a general-purpose computer like the X16, they "get to" do new things. What I mean is that all those chips that went into arcade machines ended up spending their lives playing just a few tunes and SFX that were built into whatever game they were part of. In a way, now it's like the chip gets to sing different songs instead of just that same attract mode music that they played over and over and over.

I know - personifying a chip seems a bit much, but I do wonder what machines these chips used to be in and what music they used to play.

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Whenever I think of personification of machines (a chip being a small electronic machine), two things come to mind: Enterprise (particularly from ST3 when she exploded) and the Spirit Martian rover (https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/695:_Spirit). I rather liked the alternative versions fans created.

No, I didn't cry at either of those, and you can't prove otherwise.

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That's a good example of YM goodness. Not only earworms there - don't forget the marble munchers. In fact, those things and that tune go hand-in-hand for me.

For me, though, the definitive sound of YM is Japanese stuff. Those composers just "got" FM in a way that many western products didn't. I recently discovered a Japanese arcade exclusive game called Xexex, by Konami. It's like Gradius and R-Type had a baby. The music is quite good. It leans pretty heavily on PCM tracks though. I ripped the YM2151 portion out of some of the VGM files for it, and played them on X16, and the music was pretty bare-bones. They pretty much used the YM as an accompanying synth in the overall tune, as opposed to the main instrument with PCM percussion.

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5 minutes ago, Scott Robison said:

and the Spirit Martian rover

I was always more a fan of Spirit than of Opportunity - the Gusev Crater area was just far more interesting to me than the flat plain where Opportunity landed. Spirit had to fight for every step.

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2 minutes ago, ZeroByte said:

I was always more a fan of Spirit than of Opportunity - the Gusev Crater area was just far more interesting to me than the flat plain where Opportunity landed. Spirit had to fight for every step.

True. Both were amazing, and even though Opportunity outlasted Spirit by a significant margin, it is impressive everything that was done for what were supposed to be 90 sol missions...

Edited by Scott Robison
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