CMU students make a dazzling demo for the 30-year-old Vectrex

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Bill Loguidice
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The Vectrex is obviously an Armchair Arcade favorite and one of the few truly unique collectible consoles thanks to its distinctive display technology. While the visuals in this demo are nothing necessarily to write home about for the most part (we've had some dazzling visuals in the countless Vectrex homebrews), it's certainly some of the best sound (music) ever heard on the Vectrex and its 3 channel processor.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/1/2984857/carnegie-mellon-students-vectre...

http://capped.tv/playeralt.php?vid=cmu_computer_club-where_have_all_the_...

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Mark Vergeer
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Great sounding and looking demo

The MSX and same sound chip ultilizing machines are home to quite some formidable demos themselves. Although I must say I am rather partial to the Sid chip

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David Barbour
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Not to stray from the

Not to stray from the original post, but the SID chip inside the C64 was great Rob Hubbard worked wonders on it.

On-Topic

That really is an impressive demo.

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Bill Loguidice
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Underutilization of sound capabilities
Rowdy Rob wrote:

I didn't know the Vectrex had such a capable sound chip, and in fact went straight to Wikipedia to look up the specs on the chip. It seems the Vectrex uses the same sound chip as the Intellivision and MSX standard (among others). Are there any similar music/sound demos that have been done on the Intellivision? I imagine the MSX, ZX Spectrum 128, and other machines have some cool music demos too.

Yeah, unless you know the tech specs, it's hard to understand how good some of the sound generation chips on these classic systems were, particularly since few, if any games, really demonstrated them back then. For instance, the Bally Astrocade series of systems - which were first released in 1978 - also had a 3 channel sound generator, but it was criminally underused like most of the sound capabilities of systems right up to the mid-80's. Obviously part of these classic videogame consoles and computers having poor sound utilization was that space was at a premium, so if some part of the audio-visual equation needed to be sacrificed, it was music and even to a degree sound effects, that were slashed first. I think another factor was that a lot of these early games were programmed by one person, maybe two, and, while it's relatively easy to make some blocky pixels look like something, it's a whole different skill-set to make reasonable music. Of the early consoles, I think the Intellivision was the first such system to have dedicated sound engineers, though again, utilization was significantly limited by ROM space.

I'm not aware of any tech demos on the Intellivision (again, though, like the Vectrex, it has tremendous homebrews, which I would take any day over a tech demo), but I've seen/heard some really nifty ones on YouTube for the MSX and Spectrum computers. Personally, I'm no tech demo enthusiast, but I certainly do get impressed when all of a particular platform's resources can be dedicated to a sound and light show...

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Rowdy Rob
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Very impressive music!

I didn't know the Vectrex had such a capable sound chip, and in fact went straight to Wikipedia to look up the specs on the chip. It seems the Vectrex uses the same sound chip as the Intellivision and MSX standard (among others). Are there any similar music/sound demos that have been done on the Intellivision? I imagine the MSX, ZX Spectrum 128, and other machines have some cool music demos too.

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