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PC Speaker gets musical

February 11, 2019.

System Beeps.

System Beeps. © Shiru.

In the beginning of micro-computing, computers had severely limited sound ability: they could beep, and that’s about it. Nor did you want to hear that beep, as it usually meant an input error, a crash, or a hardware problem. IBM’s Personal Computer, released in 1981, had a more advanced speaker, but it was still pretty basic, and playing music on it required advanced tinkering skills. This was before the invention of audio cards like the Sound Blaster. Of course, that technology is now also obsolete, but this hasn’t stopped nostalgic fans like shiru8bit from having fun with it. His latest album, called System Beeps, is a 48 Kb program for MS-DOS 3.3 that uses the same techniques used by the first generation of games for the IBM PC. Your minimum configuration is an IBM PC XT (Intel 8088 processor) with at least 256 Kb of RAM and a CGA video card. Since most of us don’t have that kind of hardware lying around, the simplest thing is to listen to the album on BandCamp or to follow the link to the YouTube video below.

Habr, “PC Speaker To Eleven.”

TechCrunch, “Feel the beep: This album is played entirely on a PC motherboard speaker.”