This week, knowing that I appreciate video game music, a friend of mine from Brazil sent me a remix of the soundtrack from Gradius, in a kind of thanks for my having bought this game from an auction in the British ebay for him. That prompted me to try and find the original soundtrack on the web, as well as the tracks from some old games which, at the time, really impressed me with their music. This, of course, was a danger zone, since I could get easily disappointed if my perception was biased, I call it Star Wars effect. But I digress, coming back to the main subject of this post, I discovered that some enthusiasts of tunes from old games have created emulators for the analog songs generated from sound chips trying to emulate faithfully that hardware, which has now been dubbed chiptunes.
To my pleasant surprise, there seems to be a very active community that publishes chiptunes, which, unlike the files created by the emulation community, are not being challenged by the game companies. There are also plenty of plugins for popular audio players that allow you to listen to these tunes without having to store much bigger MP3 files. I have, so far, downloaded the chiptunes for some of my favorite Super NES games, such as Axelay, Top Gear, Castlevania IV, and Zelda III.
On top of all that, I found that there are a few web radios broadcasting chip tunes. Now to wrap it all up, you can check out the music from Top Gear, the sound quality is a bit echo-ish (not the game's fault), but you get the feeling.