Video Game Sound + Speech ( was RE: 80's Video...)

Clive Jones CJones at
Tue Feb 27 18:47:00 CET 1996

Hi Chaps

>> anybody remember arcade games back in the 80's?  Remember the cool   
>> they made?  I mean, I know they we're very limited, but to me, that
>> crudeness gave them their charm.
>> So, does anyone know what kind of sound generating hardware some of   
>> games used?  My fave, soundwise,  was probably Defender.  I'd love the
>> audio board out of one of those machines!

>Umm... no.

>But I do know that the Sequential Six-Trak uses the so called   
>sound generation chip that was originally designed for use in 80's video   

>games.  (Would that be the CEM3394 custom voice IC that's being closed
>out at Wine Country for $9 bucks?)

>As far as a polyphonic synth goes...the 6-trak is very limited (one osc
>per voice) but you can get some pretty nasty noises out of it.   
 >tried to make it sound like musical instrument...but there may be
>some video game noises lurking deep within it. The filters have a really   

>scuzzy sound that makes for some interesting sound effects.

Okay, I'll let you into a little secret - I used to work for Atari UK (in   
the early eighties) and I also repair pinball machines in my work shop at   
home *this is not a joke*. Anyone who crosses to may   
see me there every once in a while.

Bally and Williams (who made Defender) used a variety of audio chips in   
the early eighties Video and pinball machines along with a CSVD speech   
chip, which, had the "phrases" to be spoken in ROM. Sounds *did not* use   
a custom sound IC until about 1981/2 - previouly the programmer generated   
the tones in software and were re-called and fed into the DAC and then   
into the audio amp.

Williams employed their early ground breaking speech and audio into their   
video games - Defender,  Robotron, Joust and so on.
Bally went from using an industry standard 3 channel analogue chip to a   
board known as "Squalk and Talk" which had both speech and sound. All   
audio boards had a uP which operated independantly from the game uP (the   
one that controlled the lights, solenoids, switches and so on).

If you hang on until tommorow - I'll post all the audio chips I know to   
have been used.

Btw, Williams now own Bally, although, Bally still put games out under   
their own name.


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