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pixelpedant

A Night at the Opera: 15 Minutes of TI-99 Title Tunes

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This is something I’ve kind of wanted to have (or otherwise, to make) for a while.  Which is to say, a good TI-99/4A “soundtrack” which is in effect just a collection of longer uninterrupted and continuous musical compositions (hence, almost inherently, title tunes) for classic TI-99/4A games.  Especially Alpiner’s, Midnite Mason’s and Protector II’s title screen music really made an impression on me, back in the day. So good I barely wanted to leave the title screen.  

 

In the present day, there are homebrew games and demos which are absolutely killing it, when it comes to TMS9919/SN94624 musical compositions.  But I wanted to revisit some 80s era classics first. I can definitely see how a “soundtrack” of the best of all eras, or the best of the modern era, would be desirable, though.  Including glorious stuff like Bouncy’s Obstacle Course and Flying Shark and Tursi’s Mega Man 2 conversion and what have you. But that feels like a different category from what are, in these cases, mostly PSG translations of classical or traditional music.  I also didn’t include any jingles or fanfares or otherwise very short compositions, here. Or any which I simply don't find very listenable.  

 

 

Title List in play order:

Alpiner

Anteater

Jawbreaker II

Midnite Mason

Mouskattack

Protector II

Slymoids

Arcturus

Blasto

Hustle

St. Nick

Driving Demon

Ambulance

Hangman

Hen House

Junkman Jr.

Rotor Raiders

Tombstone City

Tris

Yahtzee

 

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3 hours ago, FarmerPotato said:

How about:

Tunnels of Doom!

The Attack

Indeed, there’s a much larger net one could cast, in collecting TI-99 music.  Including all the jingles and fanfares and whatnot. And as well, some of the less “harmonious” specimens of TI-99/4A game music (I love you Super Demon Attack, but honestly).  I could imagine a "sounds of the TI-99" megamix, which is just a bit of everything, might be neat. 

1 hour ago, eebuckeye said:

Very cool! I enjoy your channel!

Thanks!

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Great video as always. BTW, not sure if you read your comments on the videos, but I mentioned that Lasso was another SNK title for the TI, in addition to Munchmobile and Fantasy, since you mentioned only 2 titles as being by SNK for the TI both of those videos.

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2 minutes ago, Toucan said:

Great video as always. BTW, not sure if you read your comments on the videos, but I mentioned that Lasso was another SNK title for the TI, in addition to Munchmobile and Fantasy, since you mentioned only 2 titles as being by SNK for the TI both of those videos.

Thanks!  And thanks for pointing that out.  Yeah, I'm sometimes a bit delayed on checking comments, since I mostly just log in to that account to upload or modify videos.  I do have to give Lasso a try at some point.  One of the titles I've never gotten around to. 

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1 minute ago, pixelpedant said:

Thanks!  And thanks for pointing that out.  Yeah, I'm sometimes a bit delayed on checking comments, since I mostly just log in to that account to upload or modify videos.  I do have to give Lasso a try at some point.  One of the titles I've never gotten around to. 

Cool. I actually talked with the guy who did the localization for Fantasy (translated it into English on the TI) while working at Western Technologies. The games were apparently programmed in Japan and came to Western for English translation. I do know Super Demon Attack was programmed at Western and you can see the "Texas Instruments" lettering on the title screen for both Lasso and Super Demon Attack are identical. Just a fun tidbit.

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It was Paul O'Connor:

Quote

I remember working on a translation/localization of a Japanese TI/994A game called (I think) “Fantasy” – all I remember about it is that it was a forced side scroller where you were in a hot air balloon, navigating up and over trees and such.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Toucan said:

Cool. I actually talked with the guy who did the localization for Fantasy (translated it into English on the TI) while working at Western Technologies. The games were apparently programmed in Japan and came to Western for English translation. I do know Super Demon Attack was programmed at Western and you can see the "Texas Instruments" lettering on the title screen for both Lasso and Super Demon Attack are identical. Just a fun tidbit.

Hah!  That is a fun tidbit!  I guess working out patterns without the aid of modern tools sure made fonts and logos feel like data worth preserving. 

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Listened to this last night.  Very nice.  Didn't realize so many games used classical music, and was surprised to see one of the titles use the classical track to the Commodore 64 TV advertisements (Bach's Two-Part Invention #13).

 

Agree with FarmerPotato on needing to get "The Attack" in there.  The music from that game still haunts me 35+ years later.

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Since folks liked this so much, I will put together a "part 2" to this, featuring categories left out here.  Namely,  

 

- In-game music (even if interruption by extraneous in-game sounds is difficult to avoid)  

- Music which most people probably wouldn’t find as pleasant, but is undeniably TI-99 game music nonetheless.  

- Fanfares and short, non-repeating compositions.  

 

I’ll try to avoid or edit out non-music sound effects where possible.

 

When I made my original in-game music list, I rated each track (subjectively) with a score of 1 to 10 (reflecting how listenable, interesting and appealing I found it).  I only included 8s, 9s and 10s in the original, and did not include in-game music or fanfares regardless of how appealing I found them. So there’s still a pile more to work with. 

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18 hours ago, pixelpedant said:

Since folks liked this so much, I will put together a "part 2" to this, featuring categories left out here.  Namely,  

 

- In-game music (even if interruption by extraneous in-game sounds is difficult to avoid)  

- Music which most people probably wouldn’t find as pleasant, but is undeniably TI-99 game music nonetheless.  

- Fanfares and short, non-repeating compositions.  

 

I’ll try to avoid or edit out non-music sound effects where possible.

 

When I made my original in-game music list, I rated each track (subjectively) with a score of 1 to 10 (reflecting how listenable, interesting and appealing I found it).  I only included 8s, 9s and 10s in the original, and did not include in-game music or fanfares regardless of how appealing I found them. So there’s still a pile more to work with. 

Some areas I don't see represented:

 

Education titles

MBX cartridges (tougher to get, I know)

 

Music that didn't make it. Like the disk-version of Arcturus that had something close to the Star Wars theme. And the creepy early version of The Attack song.

 

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3 minutes ago, FarmerPotato said:

Some areas I don't see represented:

 

Education titles

MBX cartridges (tougher to get, I know)

 

Music that didn't make it. Like the disk-version of Arcturus that had something close to the Star Wars theme. And the creepy early version of The Attack song.

 

That reminds me of one of the sound effects I really liked. It was that intro music/effect that plays at the beginning of "Space Bandits".

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Just now, Toucan said:

That reminds me of one of the sound effects I really liked. It was that intro music/effect that plays at the beginning of "Space Bandits".

 

Aha, found it, Toucan has preserved The Attack theme here.

https://www.videogamehouse.net/theattack.html

 

It sounds like there is a beating effect near the end (as in CALL SOUND(1000,330,0,331,0). 

 

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Well here is a volume 2 in the TI game tunes category, with 22 more games.  Again, more contemporary stuff is left out.  Though I absolutely think that would be worth doing too.  I'm just trying to tackle this in manageable categorical chunks.  Heck, a showcase even just of Rasmus' music would probably be an album on its own.  Though probably best produced with permission of the author, in cases like that.  

 

 

Title list for this one is as follows in play order:

 

1 )    Soundtrack Trolley
2 )    Perfect Push
3 )    Scud Busters
4 )    TI-Mazogz
5 )    Berlin
6 )    Freddy
7 )    Der Fallschirmspringer
8 )    Cerberus
9 )    Face Chase
10 )    Oh Mummy
11 )    Star Maze
12 )    The Attack
13 )    Lobster Bay
14 )    Cannonball Blitz
15 )    Topper
16 )    Lasso
17 )    Space Agressor
18 )    Star Runner
19 )    The Mine
20 )    Clowns
21 )    Blackjack & Poker
22 )    Moon Patrol

 

As before, this isn't comprehensive.  Just a broad sampling, from the library.  Because at this point in history, a very large library it is.  

 

Personal favourites from this selection include Cerberus, Topper, and Perfect Push.  Though Star Maze, Lasso, and Star Runner all have great (if brief) little fanfares. 

 

 

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On 3/10/2020 at 7:31 AM, pixelpedant said:

This is something I’ve kind of wanted to have (or otherwise, to make) for a while.  Which is to say, a good TI-99/4A “soundtrack” which is in effect just a collection of longer uninterrupted and continuous musical compositions (hence, almost inherently, title tunes) for classic TI-99/4A games.  Especially Alpiner’s, Midnite Mason’s and Protector II’s title screen music really made an impression on me, back in the day. So good I barely wanted to leave the title screen.  

 

In the present day, there are homebrew games and demos which are absolutely killing it, when it comes to TMS9919/SN94624 musical compositions.  But I wanted to revisit some 80s era classics first. I can definitely see how a “soundtrack” of the best of all eras, or the best of the modern era, would be desirable, though.  Including glorious stuff like Bouncy’s Obstacle Course and Flying Shark and Tursi’s Mega Man 2 conversion and what have you. But that feels like a different category from what are, in these cases, mostly PSG translations of classical or traditional music.  I also didn’t include any jingles or fanfares or otherwise very short compositions, here. Or any which I simply don't find very listenable.  

 

 

Title List in play order:

Alpiner

Anteater

Jawbreaker II

Midnite Mason

Mouskattack

Protector II

Slymoids

Arcturus

Blasto

Hustle

St. Nick

Driving Demon

Ambulance

Hangman

Hen House

Junkman Jr.

Rotor Raiders

Tombstone City

Tris

Yahtzee

 

Very cool, would be cooler with the music pieces listed :) at least the ones that are not originals 

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I used to run The Attack and listen to the intro music on "loop" before playing a round or two.

 

Mancala too. Bass line with a beat. :music:

 

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On 2/5/2021 at 4:14 AM, Just Another 99er said:

Fun!  Does anyone know whether the Tombstone City music is a pre-existing song or was written for the game, and if it is a pre-existing song, what is the title?  Thank you!

Here’s the programmer John Plaster’s original code comment regarding song title for Tombstone City:     

 

* THEME SONG "HELL IN TEXAS".

 

Attributed to a Yankee Army Signal Corp soldier John L. Steel whom apparently went to Texas in the 1870s prior to the advent of air conditioning. An old cowboy royalty-free folk song. 

 

Reference:  

 

 

To me this sounds like the same tune. I found the code comment on Eacitor/Assembler disk labeled PARTB, in the file TOMBF.

 

Perhaps Hell in Texas is used here to express the general vibe this TI programmer experienced whilst living and working in Lubbock Texas?

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