Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Last Ninja

For some reason tonight I have the theme from the classic C64 game "The Last Ninja" stuck in my head.  It's been at least 20 years since I played the game yet the tune is clear as day in my mind.  I played that game tuns as a kid.  They were supposed to make a new last ninja game, but the project keeps getting cancelled.  Too bad really..

The Last Ninja was one of the best games on the C64 back in the day.

The C64 was an 8-bit home computer (we are at 64-bit now).  It had all of 64 KB of memory (less power and memory than a modern watch in many cases) and of that 64 KB only 38 KB was available for programs as the rest was used by the OS.  So the computer had all of 38 KB of memory to run any and all software you loaded.  Though you could use more of the 64 KB by removing parts of the OS from RAM.  Though you would have to replace that missing functionality in your software.  This was fine in cases of video games, but for office programs it was overkill.

The system had all of 16 colors!  Yet how these colors were implemented actually made C64 games look even more colorful than other 16 color systems.  My current system has 32 Bit TrueColor which equates to 4,294,967,296 colors (roughly 4.29 billion colors) while the 24 Bit TrueColor setting would give me 16.78 million colors.  Win 7 is supposed to support up to 48 Bits for color which is 281.5 trillion colors.  Needless to say we shattered the 16 color barrier long ago!  In fact there are video cards that can do 64 Bit color, though most current OSs including Windows can not support it.  64 Bit color works out to 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 colors.  In English that would be eighteen quintillion, four hundred fourty-six quadrillion, seven hundred fourty-four trillion, seventy-four billion, seven hundred nine million, five hundred fifty-one thousand, six hundred sixteen colors.

The processor was a single core processor running at a whole 1.023 MHz NTSC or 0.985 MHz PAL!  My remote control probably uses more than that! Heck my phone runs at 1200 MHz and it is considered slow now since the quad core processor phones were released! (They have 4 of my processor in them)  My current desktop system has 4 cores (processors) each running at 2400 MHz, though this is essentially much more powerful due to numerous built-in co-processors and specialized architecture in each core.  Heck my processor has 8MB of built-in L2 Cache which is essentially 8192 KB which is 128 times more memory than the C64's entire system.  This is not even counting my 8GB of system Ram and 1GB of video Ram!  Which is roughly 131,072 and 16,384 times more memory than the C64 had in total!

The sound chip in the C64 was super advanced for its time and you could not find anything that matched it!  At least until add-on sound cards started to appear by Adlib and Soundblaster.

According to Wikipedia the sound chip info is as follows:

Sound: MOS Technology 6581/8580 SID

3-channel synthesizer with programmable ADSR envelope
8 octaves
4 waveforms per audio channel: triangle, sawtooth, variable pulse, noise
Oscillator synchronization, ring modulation
Programmable filter: high pass, low pass, band pass, notch filter

Here is the original tune:

Here is a remake someone did:

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