Watch composer Yuzo Koshiro play his iconic chiptunes through an NEC PC-88

It’s not hard to listen to your favorite video game soundtracks online. Just load YouTube or some other music streaming services, and search there. But that experience pales in comparison to hearing (and seeing) that music played through the hardware it was originally composed on.

Legendary gaming composer Yuzo Koshiro has been posting nostalgia bombs on Twitter, playing songs that he made for games like Streets of Rage, Streets of Rage 2, and the 8-Bit Game Gear and Sega Master System versions of Sonic The Hedgehog. And he’s playing them using an NEC PC-88, the 39-year-old PC that was a popular gaming platform in Japan, as well as Koshiro’s machine of choice for creating music.

Recorded SOR2 Go Straight from PC88FA headphone out. No EQ and compression. -14.5LUFS.
If you want the best sounding of SOR, nothing can beat the PC88.
88FAのヘッドフォンアウトがなかなか良い音していたのでベア2 Go Straightを録音してみました。やはり実機が一番良い音です pic.twitter.com/Je4nmUBKaW

— Yuzo Koshiro (@yuzokoshiro) February 19, 2021

Listening to the tunes is fun, especially if you’ve played the games, but these videos are even better than going to a concert. You get to watch a storied music-maker play his tunes through hardware that’s likely very difficult and expensive to find currently. I like the little gadgets he uses to make loading files and navigating easier. There’s just a tiny monitor on top of the PC-88 instead of a gargantuan CRT monitor from another era, and the music is being loaded into the PC through a controller and interface that helps it recognize the SD card.

Have you ever known GG/SMS Sonic music was made with PC88? I made most of my PSG-leveled music (GG, MSX, etc.) with it. It couldn’t use all the DCSG functions but was comfortable and fast. This video plays all the song’s intro including unused tracks running through. pic.twitter.com/LOpImRZbJ6

— Yuzo Koshiro (@yuzokoshiro) February 23, 2021

Koshiro obviously has a lot of experience in composing music, but it’s his knowledge of programming in BASIC that helped him get comfortable using something like the PC-88 to express his musical talents. I learned that about him in this extensive Red Bull Music Academy interview he did a few years ago, which I’ve embedded below.

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