The Amiga was the best computer of the 80s and early 90s. Period. If you pretend otherwise, it’s probably that you were a bitter Atari ST user or a vengeful PC owner. Until major titles like Wing Commander II or Ultima 7 came out, the Amiga was certainly without competition. And even when the same games were available on all platforms, the Amiga one was often the best, because of its awesome sound capabilities. Now we’ll talk about reliving these memories, once again, with the playback of .mod files.
The Amiga music capabilities made a huge difference at the time. The “best” stuff available before was basically the chip tunes-like music on 8 bits, with the occasional digitized voices in-game (Ghostbusters!) but when the Amiga arrived it changed everything, forever. It offered 4 different channels to play sound, and the possibility to use digitized samples in order to compose music. So, most of the music was made with samples played at different frequencies, on 4 different channels, using software called “trackers”. Protracker was one of the most well known ones.
There was virtually no competition that could match the Amiga in 1986 when it came out. The Atari ST was already out but clearly sounded objectively worse in all areas, and in the console world there was nothing to brag about as kids were still playing with the NES and Master System. Even when the Megadrive came out in 1989 it was clearly inferior to the Amiga, despite being a newer system. The SNES was probably the only 16 bit system with something on par with the Amiga, but the sound output was muffled and not as clear. In the end it was when the PC started to have powerful sound cards that the Amiga lost its advantage in that field.
But what if, today, on the Pandora, you want to relive the original sound of the Amiga? Well, most Amiga music files are stored in small files called MODs, and you can actually play them in both audacious and deadbeef. Let the best sound of the 80s shake your apartment walls once again on your big hifi system.
Unfortunately there are many formats still not supported. Many games used exotic/custom formats that lack support in modern music players. Sadly, the game music from Turrican falls into this category.
There’s not much you can do there apart from whining. Or is there?
Either you ask someone like PtitSeb or Sebt3 to compile the audacious extension to support most of these strange formats, or you can download mp3 versions of these old songs on, let’s say, AmigaParadise, one of the best websites to download and listen to Amiga music. One other option would be to run UAE4ALL and insert a tracker program to read it “natively” under emulation. There are always tricks to run things on the Pandora, you see!
If you don’t know what music to listen to because you were born 10 or 15 years late and part of the noob-friendly Playstation era, let me suggest you check music from Turrican 1 and 2, Lemmings, Lotus Turbo Esprit Challenge, Lotus 2, Gods, Magic Pockets, Shadow of the Beast, Speedball 2 … and the rest you will discover by yourself.
If you have fond memories of Amiga Music… you know what the comments are for, right?