Better MIDI music

I’ve finally bit the bullet and got myself a Roland MIDI device. Not the MT-32 (yet…), but the SC-55. I also got a cheap USB2MIDI adapter from Ebay. I hooked it up to my RetroPie setup and I thought I had made it to work, but it turned out that it was just the midi emulator from DosBox. Luckily, I should add, because I wasn’t all that impressed. That’s probably also why ScummVM kept quit. And guess what: I had pluggd the MIDI in of the USB2MIDI adapter into the MIDI in of the SC-55 and out in out also. When I switched the cables around, it worked.

I found some info about how I should sent the signal to the USB2MIDI adapter instead of the default MIDI device. To find out what the device ID is, the command “mixer /listmidi” can be used, but that doesn’t work in Linux. You can use the “pmidi -l” command instead.
My installation of RetroPie didn’t recognize that command and I had to install it with “sudo ap-get install pmidi”. That worked and it shows Midi Through on Port 14:0 with a Port name of Midi Through Port-0 and CH345 on Port 20:0 with a Port name of CH345 MIDI 1. CH345 being the MIDI emulator.

So, I tried to change the “midiconfig=20:0” in dosbox config. The config file is in the path “/opt/retropie/configs/pc”. All that worked, but the sound is garbled. I think maybe more garbled than on the Windows laptop on which I also tried it with the MIDIBar application. I’m affraid that I need to get another USB2MIDI cable or that the CS-55 is somehow broken.

While messing around with all the MIDI stuff, I tried running The Secret of Monkey Island with Roland music, but that was more difficult than I had thought. It turns out that I only had a copy of the game for the Amiga and one for the IBM PC from the CD version, but without the music. I could of course try to get the music from the Scumm Bar website, but I read up on which versions there actually are first. There is the original EGA version floppy version as well as the VGA version, both with the verbs on the bottom. And then there is the CD version which is of course VGA. You could actually order a additional floppy from LucasFilm Games with MIDI music for the Roland MT-32. So if you want to play the floppy versions with MIDI you have to make sure that you have the extra floppy file.

I tried out the EGA version and it brought tears to my eyes. In all these years, I’ve only played the VGA version again (and the Remastered version of course) and not the EGA version that I first played. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The very first time I tried to play The Secret of Monkey Island was the CGA version on my KCS Power PC Board inside my Amiga 500 emulating an IBM PC. After watching a classmate playing the game on his dad’s PC, I just had to have it. And all my other classmates with an Amiga were only interested in shoot’em-ups, platformers and sports games, not adventure games. So, when I saw this I was already on the fence about getting an 512MB memory expansion and the KCS Board was heavily advertized in the local magazines, being a local product. And I had much fun trying out MS-DOS and a few games for it. Of course Monkey island ran painfully slow on it. Guybrush would spent minutes walking across the screen. If only I’d known that you could turn off the animations, but those instructions were in the manual, which of course I didn’t have. I still have the copies of the code wheel to get past the copy protection. Seeing that CGA version, it brings even more tears to my eyes than the EGA version does…

I fancy Guybrush walking so slowly across the screen was the only reason I wanted to trade in my Amiga for an IBM PC. At first, it definitely meant a downgrade as far as gaming was concerned. Maybe I should just have tried to get my hands on a Amiga version of the game. But luckily, many many great years of PC gaming would lie ahead of me.

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