A portion of a The Legend of Zelda: Super Best Collection interview with Koji Kondo…
SBC: Next, please tell us a few things about game music. This is the Super Best music collection, so it boasts songs from a variety of systems, from the Famicom of 25 years ago to the brand new Wii. What sort of transformations and history occurred in this time?
Kondo: I’m still keeping in mind the philosophy of using music to make games more fun while I compose, but due to the differing capabilities of game systems, the way I make music has changed. The Famicom could only produce 3 tones and didn’t have a large variety of sounds, so I had to do a lot of scheming. There wasn’t a lot of memory, either, so I had songs where I couldn’t fit everything in, and I made songs with a limited number of sounds. When the Super Famicom came along, it had 8 tracks to work with.
-It was groundbreaking, wasn’t it. That’s when PCM was introduced, which could produce sounds that were close to reality.
Kondo: That’s right. Even when the Super Famicom arrived on the scene, I didn’t have a special sequencing tool, so I used to break down data the same way I did for the Famicom, but after awhile I got MIDI and composed using commercial sequencing software.