The SNES only had 64 kilobytes of audio RAM, yet composers used it to create some of the most memorable soundtracks in history. How is that possible?

Evan Puschak, AKA The Nerdwriter, explores just that in a video posted yesterday, and you should totally check it out.

The video goes over some technical details, including the chips that made this music possible. There’s the SPC700, the processing core, and the DSP, which actually made the sounds. Artists could sample extremely tiny bits of audio, but were limited by the storage capacity of cartridges and the tiny amount of RAM dedicated to audio: just 64 kilobytes.

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Yet from these limitations came some of the most iconic soundtracks of all time: Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World, and yes, Donkey Kong Country. That game really pushed things to the limit, offering music that still sounds great today despite the limitations. A particular highlight? Aquatic Ambiance, the underwater theme.

You know what? Pull up a chair, and let’s listen to Aquatic Ambiance, together, right now.

Hard to believe that came from a system with only 64 kilobytes of audio RAM. Thanks for listening with me.

Photo Credit:  Fjölnir Ásgeirsson

Justin Pot Justin Pot
Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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