The Little Book of Sound Chips, Volume 1: 1977-1981 (PDF/epub)


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This page is for PDF/epub (full book, immediate download).

What is it? It's a 15.5cm square interactive gallery book that's small enough to read on-the-go. It's 326 full-colour pages which are 80% interactive gallery and 20% chip write-up.

It's got easy-to-read sections on the sound chips in the arcades, consoles and home micros.

It's packed with fun facts and beautiful screenshots from games east and west, all linked to YouTube through QR codes and hyperlinks.


This is only the beginning...

Volume 1 is for chips released 1977-1981 and games using them from '77 to the mid '90s.

Find your arcade favourites and hear the arcade OST (for instance, Spy Hunter!) or discover hidden treasures on computers you never owned!

Initial reaction

"Reading this book I can hear that unique and nostalgic sound of the early 80s arcades, plus it's got lots of pretty pictures, it's a copper bottomed winner!" - Graeme Norgate, ex-Rare composer

"Wow! The detail and depth of this work are impressive!" - Koen De Brabander, Amicom Retro Books

"Such a good read. I found myself flitting back and forwards, rereading interesting bits more than once and searching out my own memory triggers! This is the most beautiful YouTube playlist catalogue of VGM ever!" - Anna Black, writer and retro expert



Written in a friendly and informal way and designed to be easy on the eye and accessible to everyone, this book series uniquely combines gossip, fun facts and tech info about sound chips (both famous and obscure!) with gorgeous game galleries containing composer info, fun facts and short reviews of game music and sound that used the chip.

It covers European, American and Japanese games and hardware, coin-op, console and home microcomputers.

For coin-ops, it even tells you which chips were in the machine, how many of them there were, and what they did!

We have covered hundreds of games per volume, chosen for their notability or musical quality. We didn't just choose the best-known games and leave it at that. We put time and effort into bringing you the cream! And each game and waveform has a QR code that you can scan to immediately link to a YouTube video selected by us!

 This means you will have a curated interactive resource of the most amazing soundtracks ever created, and astonishing games you might have missed that you can revisit in emulators.

We also took huge care to make the music credits as accurate as they could be.

Volume 1 - 1977 - 1981

  • Atari VCS
  • Bally Astrocade
  • Odyssey^2
  • Atari HCS (400/800/XL/XE)
  • Intellivision
  • Colecovision
  • Master System
  • VIC-20
  • BBC Micro
  • Aquarius
  • MSX1
  • ORIC
  • Vectrex
  • Amstrad CPC
  • ZX Spectrum 128
  • Tandy 1000
  • Speccy Beepers!

This volume also has special features on speech synthesis in the arcade and home, and articles about music generation, noise generation and beeper samples from experts in the field including legendary Psygnosis composer Mike Clarke.

Coming later:

Volume 2 (Arcade games from Atari, Sega, Capcom and more, NES and expansions, C64, Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS, MSX2)

Volume 3 (SNES, Mega Drive, PC Gaming and more)

Volume 4 (including the golden age of arcades with Capcom and Midway, and generation 5 and 6 home consoles such as Saturn, N64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Dreamcast, GameCube and Xbox).

Also available for your ears, an arcade remix experience in DRM-free 24-bit FLAC...


Written by Chris Abbott and Andrew Laggan.

Front Cover by Toni Galvez.
Layout and Design by Ian Flory.

Technical sections by Mike Clarke, David Knapp and David Youd.

Proof-reading by Nate Lawson, Andrew Fisher, David Youd, Mike Clarke and Thomas Finnerup.

Additional material by Allister Brimble, Andrew Fisher, Barry Leitch, Martin Galway, Toni Galvez, Gari Biasillo, and Marco Breddin.

Additional research by David Youd, David Knapp, Russell F. Howard, Richard Karsmakers, Daniel Martinsson and John Carehag.

Dedicated to the memory of Ben Daglish, Richard Joseph, Anthony Lees and Paul Hadrill.


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