A 8-bit rendition of the entire Shatter soundtrack was recreated in FamiTracker with no expansion chips (2a03) in 2013! (2 square, 1 triangle, 1 noise, 1 DPCM sample channel) by Jonathan Herbst.
After hearing the effort that went into this, I got in touch via YouTube and asked him to email a breakdown about it all. I thought it was really good! listen to the album here https://soundcloud.com/jonponsvids/sets/8-bit-shatter-album and read more below!
From Jonpon: I originally chose this album to cover because it had been such a huge part of my university experience, either through playing the game with housemates in my second/third years or listening to the soundtrack by itself, through both good times and bad. I think the true testament of any game soundtrack is how it holds up without the video game experience and the emotions it can still evoke and in my opinion, the soundtrack to Shatter passes with flying colors.
I still remember vividly working on these tracks from September 2012 to March 2013 while juggling some other software/game projects on the side. Around 7 months in total along with a lot of willpower but I learned so much from listening to your original soundtrack and translating that into a limited set of channels. Listening to the tracks from Shatter over and over again to get the notes right never got boring, so that definitely helped me to finish the whole thing off.
Speaking of software, I used FamiTracker which is tracking software that allows you to produce music in the style of retro systems such as the NES/Famicom. I’ve always loved the set of tools that encourages creativity through a set of limitations. I used the “2a03” expansion chip with provides 2 pulse/square wave channels, 1 triangle wave, 1 noise for percussion and a DPCM channel for including drum samples or additional bass. So, compared to most DAWs these days, it’s pretty limiting with what you can produce but you can get creative with the vibrato/pitch-bend effects along with many others to create some pretty unique sounds!
Along with that, I used Audacity to slow down sections of any tracks that I needed to analyze to get a bit more accuracy if my notes didn’t sound quite right!
Looking back, you can always do things better but at the time, I was pretty pleased with the overall result. I still remember the feeling when I originally shared the project with you via Twitter and is a memory I’ll never forget. I can’t believe it was March 2013 that I originally finished this. Time flies doesn’t it! You said it well in your comment, the 8-bit adventure continues on to this day. Sorry if this got a bit long winded, great to reminisce about this once again.