The 8-Track Sound Project
Specific Game Information

Here is the tape player information organized by game.  If you arrived at this page directly, you can find the project summary here.  If you'd like to see pictures of the different tape players, look here.

Click on the buttons in the left column to skip directly to the game of interest.

Wild Kingdom

   

Wild Kingdom is a gun game that uses a consumer 8-track player modified so that power and audio are routed through plug-in connectors.  The sounds are very simple.  All eight tracks have a continuous jungle background sound.  The player in my game has a switch that mechanically moves the head among tracks 1 through 4.  The player picks up the selected pair of tracks and mixes them together and plays the result through a mono speaker built into the player.  The tape player looks something like this.

I have recorded all eight tracks even though they appear to be identical.  They were recorded as four stereo tracks  They are encoded as 128 kbps MP3 format, 2 channel, 44.1 kHz sample rate. 

 Track  Content
 1  Background sound (2:30 128 kbps stereo 2.358 Mbytes)
 2  Background sound (2:30 128 kbps stereo 2.358 Mbytes)
 3  Background sound (2:42 128 kbps stereo 2.358 Mbytes)
 4  Background sound (2:42 128 kbps stereo 2.358 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Wild Kingdom from Pinball Pal.

Haunted House

i-3_b_l.jpg (47465 bytes)    i-4_b_l.jpg (68986 bytes)

Haunted House is a single-player gun game that uses a special 4-channel 8-track player, which looks like this.  One track is used for background "spooky" sounds, and three other tracks have sound effects for specific targets - the monster, the cat and the witch.  The tape player uses two stereo (i.e. two-channel) playback heads so that up to four sounds can be played simultaneously.

Thanks to Joseph "Tony" Dziedzic, who recently loaned me another original Haunted House tape, I was able to extract better quality audio than what I had here before.  The older versions were lower fidelity and there were splices in the tape, resulting in breaks in the audio.   The MP3s below have the new, improved files.  Thanks again, Tony!  

The tape heads in the Haunted House tape player are fixed.  They play four out of the possible eight tracks on the 8-track cartridge.  As is the case with many of these tape cartridges, the unused tracks carry duplicates of the original tracks.  

Here are files for the four discrete audio tracks, which are combined into stereo pairs as they are in the original tape.  The tape heads in the player can be manually adjusted to pick up the necessary track, but the first head is normally set up to play from track 2, and the second head is set up for track 3.  The original tape has the same sounds on tracks 1 and 2: background music on the left channel, and the witch on the right channel.  Tracks 3 and 4 have the monster on the left channel and the cat sound effect on the right channel.

The sound files have been remastered to minimize noise and other artifacts and they are edited so that they repeat smoothly without discontinuities in the audio.  The sound files are 44.1 kHz 128 kbps MP3 files.

 Track  Content
 1 & 2  [L]: background, [R]: witch 
 ( 2:41 duration 128 kbps stereo 2.528 Mbytes)
3 & 4  [L]: monster, [R]: cat
 (2:36 duration 128 kbps stereo 2.446 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Haunted House from Pinball Pal.

Gangbusters

gangbusters-F.jpg (95260 bytes)

Gangbusters is a Midway single-player gun game that uses a special 8-track player for sound effects.  Gangbusters uses three tracks of the 8-track tape.  The 8-track player looks like this.  There are two stereo tape heads that read adjacent pairs of stereo tracks, and three of those four tracks have the game sounds.  

The dual-head Midway decks are configured to get the audio from the 8-track on  track 2 (for the first two channels) and track 3 for the second two channels.  Tracks 1 and 4 are not used.  Gangbusters uses just three channels, so the right channel of track 2 is empty.  The left channel of track 2 has a "roaring 20's" ditty, with siren and police sound effects in the background.  Track 3 has crashing sound effects on the left channel, and a gangster on the right channel saying things like "ya got me" and "I'll get even".

The mp3 files below have the audio program for the tape, recorded as stereo files at 128 kbits/second.

 Track  Content
 2  [L]: background, [R]: (empty) (4:53 128 kbps stereo 4.592 Mbytes)
3  [L]: crash effect, [R]: gangster (4:53 128 kbps stereo 4.592 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Gangbusters from Pinball Pal.

 

Twin Pirate

twin_pirate-F.jpg (110416 bytes)

Twin Pirate is a Midway two-player gun game that uses a special 8-track player for sound effects.  The tape player looks like this.  Although the tape player is a custom Midway design, all it does is play a song in the background during game play.  So if your game is missing its tape player, you could wire in a standard consumer 8-track deck, put in a tape with this music, and you'd then have the original factory sounds.  All tracks of the 8-track have the same thing: a 53-second rendition of "Sailing, Sailing, Over the Bounding Main".  The singers don't sound much like pirates, and this doesn't sound much like a song swashbuckling pirates would sing, but what the heck, it was in the public domain...

There is one file below.  It is a stereo MP3 recorded at 44.1 kHz sample rate and 128 kbps quality.  Both left and right channels have the same audio.  The song repeats every 52.5 seconds.

 Track  Content
 all  Sailing (0:53 128 kbps stereo 838 Kbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Twin Pirate from Pinball Pal.

 

Shoot Out

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shoot_out-F.jpg (82571 bytes)     shoot_out-R.jpg (101268 bytes)

Shoot Out is a Chicago Coin gun game that came with an optional 8-track player for background music and limited speech.  Separate electronics was used for the other game sound effects, such as gunshots, so the 8-track system was not a critical part of the game.  A modified consumer 8-track player was used, and the same program material was recorded on all four tracks of the tape.  The factory tape is labeled "SHOOT OUT RIFLE" "PART NO. 463-309".  The player was attached to the bottom outside edge of the rear door, as shown in the photo above.

The mp3 file below has the audio program for the tape.  It's 8.4 Mbytes, 8 minutes 57 seconds in duration, and recorded as a stereo file at 128 kbits/second.

 Track  Content
 All  [L]: music, [R]: speech (8:57 128 kbps stereo 8.40 Mbytes)

The left channel has almost 9 minutes of "honky-tonk" barroom music.  There are a number of tunes with about a 1 second gap between them.  The right channel is simply the repetition of the phrase "Get ready for the big shoot-out".  The flyer for the game describes this as: "Optional additional sound included vocal remarks that taunt and egg players on...".  Uh, OK...

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Shoot Out from Pinball Pal.

Dune Buggy

 

   

Dune Buggy is a driving game by Midway that uses an 8-track player for background music.  A consumer-type 8-track player is hard-wired into the game, and each of the two stereo channels has a different tune.  The same pair of tunes is on all four tracks of the 8-track tape.  Both tunes are similar twangy-guitar surfing style music.  When I first heard the song on the right channel, I though, "Isn't that a Beatles song"?  After some reflection, some of the lyrics popped into my head and that allowed me to search the web.  Turns out the right channel has "Lies" by Randell and Charles, made famous by the Knickerbockers in the sixties.  They sounded like the early Beatles, but this song was just about their only hit.  As for the left channel, I have no clue.  If you have any ideas about its origin, please let me know.

There is one file below.  It is a stereo MP3 recorded at 44.1 kHz sample rate and 128 kbps quality.  The songs repeat about every 2 minutes and 3 seconds.

 Track  Content
 all  [L]: Song 1 [R]: "Lies" (2:03 128 kbps stereo 1.958 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Dune Buggy from Pinball Pal.

Drivemaster

Drivemaster is a driving game that uses a consumer PlayTape player for background race sounds.  PlayTape was a play-only format that predates 8-tracks.  The format never really caught on with consumers either and it disappeared quickly.  The original PlayTapes had two monophonic tracks, selected by a switch.  Later models could play both tracks simultaneously for stereo.  Both tracks on the Drivemaster PlayTape have the same sounds: the sounds of racecars going by.  The PlayTape player as used in Drivemaster looks like this.

There are two files below.  Each is a monophonic MP3 recorded at 44.1 kHz sample rate and 128 kbps quality.  The tape repeated about every 5 minutes and 40 seconds, with a few seconds of noise in between.  These files begin and end within that area of noise.

 Channel  Content
 1  Racecars (5:48 128 kbps mono 5.453 Mbytes)
 2  Racecars (5:53 128 kbps mono 5.524 Mbytes)

I don't yet have a good method for recording PlayTapes, although I do have some PlayTape recording hardware.  Drop me a line and I can let you know the latest news on this topic.

Auto Race

Auto Race uses an 8-track tape player. 

Files coming soon.

Chopper

 

Chopper is a hybrid solid-state/electromechanical helicopter flying game.  Its simpler predecessor - Whirlybird - had fixed targets and simple motor sounds.  Chopper uses a stereo 8-track player to play back two specific audio tracks.  The right channel has helicopter rotor sound effects - the same whirring noise throughout.  The left channel has creepy sound effects and a couple of guys saying campy expressions like: "Stay cool", "Bullets can't stop those creatures" and (unless my ears are playing tricks on me) "Oy Vay"!

The audio file below contains all of the speech and effects from the original tape.  It's almost 3 minutes long, recorded here as a 44.1 kHz sample rate 128 kbps MP3 file.

 Track  Content
 All  [L]: speech, [R]: heli rotor (2:51 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 2.67 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Chopper from Pinball Pal.

Dozer

Dozer uses an 8-track tape.

Files coming soon.

Bimbo the Clown

 

Bimbo the Clown uses a modified 8-track tape in a modified 8-track player.  Unlike most other games using tape cartridges, Bimbo uses the length of each song to determine the length of each play of the game.  In between each of the eight different songs is a conductive splice.  Normally this is used to trigger a track change in a conventional 8-track player but in this case, the player always remains on the same track and instead the signal from the conductive splices is used to end the game.  Each play of the game is approximately one minute long, depending on the length of the original songs.  The song titles include "Yankee Doodle", "Oh Susannah", "The Farmer in the Dell", "East Side, West Side" and other standards, sung in a sing-songy way to appeal to young children.  Listening to these songs too long by an adult may result in temporary or permanent madness, so be warned.

If you are going to make replacement tapes from this sound file, you have to be prepared for some extra work.  First, you are going to need some self-adhesive conductive splices for 8-track tapes.  These aren't too easy to find, for starters.  Next, you will need to deftly pause the recording in between each song and apply a conductive splice to the tape at its current position.  Then you need to find a way to get the entire thing to wrap around properly.   The original tape was 9 minutes and 35 seconds long, on a single track.  The closest standard tape would be a 40-minute blank, which would be 10 minutes per track.  Somehow you have to deal with the extra 25 seconds, or just tolerate some "dead air" after the last of the eight songs.

There is only one channel of audio, on the left channel of Track 2.  All the other tracks are empty.  The MP3 file below is a stereo sound file, with identical audio on both the left and right channels.  You might as well record both left and right with audio in case there's some left/right mix-up somewhere down the line.

 Track  Content
 2  [L & R]: 8 individual songs (9:35 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 8.99 Mbytes)

I don't yet have the materials to make NOS copies of these special 8-tracks.  If I get a few requests for these tapes, that would probably expedite things.

Peppy the Clown

Peppy the Clown uses a proprietary cartridge with a inch endless tape loop.  I purchased a tape in its original box which was represented as an NOS tape, but I don't have the special tape player that the game uses.  Since the tape inside is conventional inch magnetic tape, I decided to unwind the tape inside the cartridge onto a standard reel and then digitize it from there.  Herein lies the brief but hopefully interesting saga.




This is the Williams Peppy The Musical Clown puppet game.  You can find out more about the game from Clay's Peppy The Clown page.  However, I don't think that Clay's page properly describes how the game operates.  As of January 2005, the page mentions that conductive splices are used to determine the length of the game, but actually it is the audio silence in between the songs that controls the game duration.  There is a vacuum tube-based amplifier, integrator and monostable circuit which keeps the run relay active as long as there is no more than four seconds of silence.  There is a potentiometer on the outside of the tape player to make this adjustment.

Unfortunately, the tape cartridge that I have is not only well-used, it had been repaired in the past and a small portion of the original tape has been removed.  There were no signs of conductive splices in between the songs, but there were some extra tape splices to repair other breaks in the tape which fortunately did not affect the audio significantly.

So the first task was to open up the cartridge, break the tape loop at an existing  splice, and splice one end of the tape to some new leader tape.

   

Once the leader tape was attached, it took just a few minutes to wind the tape onto the new reel.  The reel was mounted on a Teac A-3440 four-track deck.  This was an excellent deck in its day, but it is limited to a choice of two speeds: 15 and 7.5 inches per second (IPS).  The Peppy cartridge was recorded at 3.75 IPS, so the audio played back at double speed, but this was easily corrected once the audio was digitized.

Identical audio was recorded on all four tracks on the tape.  It's unknown what track the Peppy tape player actually reads off the tape, or how wide that track may be.  There were five songs on the tape, all separated by approximately eight seconds of silence.

The raw audio was recorded at a 192 kHz sample rate at 24 bits.  Once the audio was digitized, the sample rate was manually changed to 96 kHz which corrected for the doubled playback speed.  Then the sample rate was converted to 44.1 kHz to conform to the final MP3 format.  The raw, unedited audio off the tape is available here:

Raw Peppy he Clown Audio (05:38 duration, 128 kbps MP3 file, 5.296 Mbytes)

The most obvious flaw is a section missing from the first song: Old MacDonald, no doubt due to a tape tangle sometime in the past that caused that section of tape to be discarded.  I removed the incomplete verse and duplicated other parts of the song so that the play time was again close to 60 seconds.  It unfortunately no longer follows the original verse structure of the song, but at least there are now no abrupt jumps and it's the appropriate length.  Here's a list of the five songs on the tape:

Old MacDonald
I've Been Working on the Railroad
Man on the Flying Trapeze
Today is Monday
Shoo Fly

These five, plus the four from the MP3 from Clay's site make the complete set of nine songs.  All of the songs are shortened to approximately 60 seconds, which makes the singing somewhat frenetic.  This is especially noticeable with "Today is Monday", which is normally sung as a repeating round (as in the "Twelve Days of Christmas").  It's also interesting to compare the lyrics of this particular version to others you may find on the web.  In some, each day brings something else to eat (e.g. roast beef on Thursday).  Others mention different things about the day (e.g. payday on Saturday and church on Sunday).  The version on this tape mentions payday on Saturday (not Ice Cream as others do), but on Sunday you get chicken, not church.  Go figure...

Recording from a good quality reel-to-reel deck rather than the original cartridge and player greatly reduced the amount of flutter in the audio, which is both very noticeable to the ear and just about impossible to remove.  The digitized audio sounded pretty good for a decades-old tape, but there was still some room for digitally restoring the sound, which I did.  Here are the differences between the raw audio (link above) and the restored peppy audio (link below):

The Old MacDonald song was re-edited to remove the incomplete verse, and other parts of the song were repeated to bring the length of the song back to approximately 60 seconds.

The silence around the first and last songs was adjusted to the same as the silence between the songs in the middle - approximately 8 seconds.

High-cut equalization was applied to reduce the tape hiss.  This was followed by a soft knee noise gate which greatly removed the hiss during the silence between songs.  Then a signal processing plug-in that restores high-frequency harmonics was (gently) applied, which added to the clarity and intelligibility of the audio.

After the processing was complete, the audio level was normalized to maximize the volume of the sound.

Finally, the 44.1 kHz, 24 bit PCM file was converted to a 128 kbps, MP3 file.  All recording and editing was done with stereo audio, but the audio program is the same on both channels.

So here is the final result:

Restored Peppy he Clown Audio (05:33 duration, 128 kbps MP3 file, 5.218 Mbytes)

I plan on developing solid-state hardware that can be used to replace the entire tape mechanism and tape cartridge for Peppy and other tape-based games, so this hasn't been a completely pointless exercise.  But in any case, it's fun to finally hear what's on these tapes and to share that with others who may share similar interests.

Since I have no access to any Peppy-style tape cartridges (new or used), I will not be able to make tape copies of the Peppy The Clown audio.  If you have any comments or additional information about this game that you could share, please let me know.

Grand National

 

 SegaGRAND-NATIONAL.JPG (403062 bytes)  SegaGRAND-NATIONAL-tape.JPG (311625 bytes)
Pictures John's Jukes, Ltd.

Sega Grand National is a steeple chase horse racing game.  Your horse gallops down the track (a continuous belt) and you have to time your jumps to clear the hurdles and obstacles on the track.  Grand National uses an 8-track tape for sound effects.  It looks something like this.  As you can see from the picture above right, one channel has galloping sound effects and the other has the start-of-race bugle fanfare.  John Robertson of John's Jukes was kind enough to send me audio files for each of these tracks, but unfortunately, I did not know at that time which channels had what sound.  As luck would have it, I was loaned the same tape from the subsequent owner which has solved this minor mystery.  The horse galloping is on the left channel, and the Call To Post sound is on the right.

Another problem with the original tape was the quality of the bugle track.  It was very distorted and broken up - too nasty to use.  Here's what it sounded like:

Original bugle fanfare (0:30 duration, 128 kbps MP3 file, 470 Kbytes)

I found a clean new recording on the web, but it had the wrong pitch and tempo:

New bugle fanfare (0:07 duration, 128 kbps MP3 file, 122 kBytes)

I found out that the fanfare is called "First Call" and usually played by bugle.  Anyway, I loaded the file into my digital audio workstation software and fixed things up.  The file was level normalized and re-sampled to 44.1 KHz, 16 bits.  It was transposed up in pitch one semitone, and it was time-compressed about 8%.  Then I added some chorus and reverb effect and I think it's a faithful substitution for the original.  Here is the fanfare by itself:

Replacement bugle fanfare (0:07 duration, 128 Kbps MP3 file, 136 kBytes)

The other track has a very simple, continuous sound effect of horses galloping.  All I needed to do with this file was edit it to length to match the bugle track and normalize the levels.  Here is the horse clopping track by itself:

Horses clopping (0:19 duration, 128 kbps MP3 file, 310 kBytes)

For the master track, the two sound effects are assigned to the left and right channels as described above.  The same stereo program is recorded to all four stereo tracks on the 8-track tape.

 Track  Content
All  [R]: Call To Post [L]: Clopping (0:09 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 312 Kbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Grand National from Pinball Pal.

 

Junkyard Crane

 

Americoin's Junkyard is perhaps the last of the arcade game crane diggers, before they turned into the ubiquitous redemption "claw diggers", offering (usually in vain) the chance for a plush toy or other goodie.  But instead of digging for a stuffed SpongeBob SquarePants (or for a load of kidney beans as in William's Crane), your mission here is to pick up as many junk cars with your crane's claw as you can before time runs out.  A spring-loaded scale measures how many "tons" you have loaded, which gets you a operator rating of "novice", "apprentice", "crane boss" or "scalebuster".   The game and the controls are simple, but Junkyard is uniquely supplemented with an audio sound track provided by a simple 8-track player.

The sound track is composed of the sounds of crashing metal, smashing glass, the straining diesel engine of the crane, and an occasional cartoon "BOING"!  The 8-track player appears to be a near-stock automotive-style unit.  It receives its power (presumably 12 Volts DC) from the game, and one of the audio amplifier outputs is connected to a speaker mounted inside the cabinet.

The sound file below represents 12 minutes of the background sounds, recorded as a stereo MP3 file at 128 kbps.

 Track  Content
 All  Junkyard Sounds (12:00 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 11.252 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Junkyard from Pinball Pal.

 

Atari Triple Hunt

 

Atari's Triple Hunt is noteworthy for a couple of things here.  First, it's a microprocessor-controlled CRT-based video gun game that can be configured as three different games: Hit the Bear, Raccoon Hunt and Witch Hunt.  The video graphics were fairly crude, but each game had its own full-color scenery overlay which greatly enhanced the realism, if you can call witches flying out of windows realistic... Also noteworthy is its 8-track sound system, which was pretty uncommon by 1977, the year of the game's release.  

In all versions of the game, the 8-track tape is used for background sound effects only.  The game's microprocessor generates all other game sounds.  Hit the Bear and Raccoon hunt use the same background sounds: 30 seconds of nighttime forest sounds - crickets, frogs and lots of background noise.  Witch Hunt, on the other hand, was a much more elaborate production.  It's 3 minutes and 26 seconds of spooky sound effects: wind, blood-curdling screams, creaking doors, pounding heartbeats, wolves, and even some speech playing backwards.  It's no wonder most Triple Hunt games on location were set up for Witch Hunt.

Although the sound files are mono, the MP3 files below are stereo, with the same audio on both right and left channels. The audio file below contains all of the speech and effects from the original tape.  It's 2:20 long, recorded here as a 44.1 kHz sample rate 128 kbps MP3 file.

 Track  Content
 All  Hit the Bear/Raccoon Hunt (0:30 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 468 Kbytes)
 All  Witch Hunt (3:26 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 3.228 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Hit the Bear/Raccoon Hunt as well as Witch Hunt from Pinball Pal.

 

Bonanza

 

Williams' Bonanza gun game was released in 1971, but rather than using the more common 8-track tape, it used a Muntz 4-track player that preceded the 8-track tape format.  A Muntz 4-track tape looks almost exactly like an 8-track tape, but there is one key difference: Each 8-track tape has its rubber pressure roller built into the cartridge, while Muntz 4 tracks have a hole in the bottom of the cart where the player's pressure roller raises into the cartridge when the cartridge is loaded. 


Bottom views of 8-track cart (left) and Muntz 4-track cart (right)


Pressure roller in down position


Pressure roller in up position

 This format was the brainchild of Earl "Madman" Muntz, who was an inventor, entrepreneur and quite the colorful character.

In the Bonanza gun game, the tape is used for background music only.  The tape repeats the same 24-second sound effect loop: horses galloping and gunshots.

The audio file below contains the background audio track.  It's encoded as a stereo 128 kbps MP3 file.  Both channels contain the same audio material.

 Track  Content
 All  [L+R] Background Sounds (0:24 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 388 Kbytes)

The Williams Bonanza gun game shares just its name with the famous Bonanza television series, but fans of the show may be interested in this unofficial website.  Along with all kinds of info on the show is a jukebox page with songs performed by Ben Little Joe and others.  There's even a Bonanza Christmas album... 

I don't have the ability to record to Muntz 4-tracks, nor do I have a source for NOS blank tapes.  However, it should be a relatively simple operation to replace the Muntz player with a more common 8-track player, and in that case, the audio for the game could be recorded on a conventional 8-track tape.  Tapes for that purpose are now available for Bonanza from Pinball Pal.

 

Coney Island Rifle

 

Chicago Coin's Coney Island Rifle comes with an 8-track player that is used for both background music as well as some limited speech capabilities.  The left channel has 1 minute, 23 seconds of carnival-style music while the right channel repeats a few variations on the phrase "That's good shooting!". 


Original 8-track cartridge

The audio file below contains the complete audio track.  It's encoded as a stereo 128 kbps MP3 file.

 Track  Content
 All  [L]: Music, [R]: Speech (1:23 duration, 128 kbps stereo, 1.30 Mbytes)

You can now purchase newly-recorded 8-track tapes for Coney Island from Pinball Pal.

 

Thanks again to...

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