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Compare the sound on Ms. Pac-man 7800 to the 2600 version. Is the sound quality on the 7800 the same as the 2600 since they both use the same TIA chip?


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Unlike the 2600, on the 7800 the TIA chip is used solely for sound when playing 7800 games. The video attached compares the sound of the 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man to the 7800 version. As can be heard the 7800 version of Ms. Pac-Man sounds much better. The sound capabilities of the TIA can be pushed much more on the 7800 than the 2600 if a developer choosed to use it..

Edited by intellicolecovisonary
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It's most likely due to the design differences between each system.

For the 2600, the CPU has to do everything, including drawing the screen line by line.  Logic for the game/sound/etc must be done when the screen isn't being drawn. 

The 7800 has a more advanced frame buffer (and also more RAM and ROM), so there's a lot more time for the CPU to do things like sound. 

 

Edited by RickR
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Yes, it was learned that the TIA can do better for sound if more memory is available, which the 7800 has.  Every game that uses only TIA sounds is very different on the 7800 when compared to their 2600 counterparts.  Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., etc. 

You can learn more about the 7800 on this video.  If I remember right, Steve does explain this during the video (at 33:44).

 

Edited by TrekMD
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The 7800 could do a lot.  It's just a real shame no one tried to push it to its limits.  Ms. Pac-Man's sounds on the 7800 are very close to the arcade compared to the 2600 port.  Then again those two games are a few years apart and programmed by different programmers.  The sound of the 7800's port always intrigued me and gave me more respect for the sounds TIA could really generate.  Not bad for a 2-channel sound chip.

@TrekMD mentioned something that is proof positive.  Even Nintendo's engineers explained what made their Famicom/NES systems last as long as they did...extra RAM.  The 7800 & Famicom/NES could expand their initial memory size by utilizing extra memory that could be included on cartridges which would allow for better graphics, sounds, and overall game play.  Without that extra memory games like Ballblazer, Commando (7800), Ghosts 'n Goblins (NES), Super Mario Bros. 3, Zelda, would not have been possible on cartridges.  Ghosts 'n Goblins was the first 128k RAM cartridge for the Famicom/NES, the 7800 also had 128k RAM cartridges that it could use but I don't remember if any 7800 games used that much.  

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There are two games made during the original run of the 7800 that actually are basically exactly  the same on sound between the 2600 and 7800 versions of the games. Those two games are:

Kung Fu Master

Double Dragon

They sound the same to me identically. So that would seem to indicate that the 2600 was/is able to do better than what was originally done in the late 70s and early 80s. Then again, I'm sure these games were given more ROM storage space to allow for better programming of the sounds and music.

But for the pinnacle of TIA sound, you should check out Bob's Pac-Man Collections 40th with TIA audio. First time I heard it I thought for sure it was Pokey and was totally blown away when I found out he only programmed that game to use TIA or Fm through the Yamaha chip. 

 

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On 4/12/2021 at 4:17 PM, CrossBow said:

There are two games made during the original run of the 7800 that actually are basically exactly  the same on sound between the 2600 and 7800 versions of the games. Those two games are:

Kung Fu Master

Double Dragon

They sound the same to me identically. So that would seem to indicate that the 2600 was/is able to do better than what was originally done in the late 70s and early 80s. Then again, I'm sure these games were given more ROM storage space to allow for better programming of the sounds and music.

But for the pinnacle of TIA sound, you should check out Bob's Pac-Man Collections 40th with TIA audio. First time I heard it I thought for sure it was Pokey and was totally blown away when I found out he only programmed that game to use TIA or Fm through the Yamaha chip. 

 

Desert Falcon & Sentinel also sounds the same between the 2600 & 7800 to me.

Xenophobe also shares similar sounds, although the 2600 versions has title music.

For the biggest difference in sound of late release games made by Atari, I'd go with Ikari Warriors.

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