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Play that Pokey Music: Computer Archeological Gaming with Vintage Sound Chips

  • Stefan Höltgen
Article
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Abstract

The article discusses programmable sound generators (PSG) of the home computer era (1970s–1990s) and the problem of a historiographizing of them. An alternative way of examining and describing their features for scientific purposes will be suggested: computer archaeology with its methods of measuring, demonstrating, and re-enacting technical processes. The study tries to argue a non-discursive approach to both game history and game sound technology. In conclusion it will show that only a mid-range theory of actual historical objects can be possible, expatiated with PSG sound. Subsequent research could try to investigate such an approach to analyze one specific game and its sounds (by its algorithms and signal outcome), one specific PSG type, or one comparable feature of divers PSGs.

Keywords

Sound chip Computer archaeology Media archaeology Retrocomputing Computer history Game sound 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Nikita Braguinski for some musicological explanations, Malte Schulz, Markus Hohmann, and the members of the VIC-20 and TRS-80 Facebook groups for technical hints, and Jana Pauls for her copy-editing.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Musikwissenschaft und MedienwissenschaftHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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