The Humble MIDI Is 30 Years Old

The Humble MIDI Is 30 Years Old

The Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, turns 30 this week. While it’s used across devices and mediums, for a long time it was crucial to your experience with video games, as it was a popular way of getting electronic music stored on game cartridges and discs, especially in the 1990s.

Everyone will have their favourite tracks or games that made use of MIDI music, but for me, it’s old Lucasarts titles from the 90s, which made use of a revolutionary technology (for the time) called iMUSE, which was able to organically adjust a game’s soundtrack based on the events taking place, rather than simply play tracks at pre-determined times.

MIDI turns 30: a revolutionary open music standard lives on [The Verge]


  • I remember having played FFvii on ps1. Then playing it later On pc thinking “what the hell is wrong with the music? It sounds weird!”

    • Actually, if you’re going to link to X-Wing or TIE Fighter videos talking about iMUSE, it really should be an in-game video that shows off the dynamic music at work:

      Specifically the way that it seamlessly works in little trills and themes whenever anything happens eg when you take out an enemy, when a new set of ships enters… don’t know of many other games even now that have reactive music like that.

  • I really hope someone perfects the Roland MT-32 emulation. The old Sierra adventure games (King’s, Space, Police etc) had the most awesome soundtracks. I’ve got them cued up on GOG. I only had a SoundBlaster back in the day.

  • I remember I had a Roland midi duaghter-board for my soundblaster 16, it cost a small fortune like $600 or so.

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