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Kawasaki Synthesizer

Kawasaki Synthesizer
Kawasaki Synthesizer

SystemCommodore 64
Floppy (5.25")2

Sight and Sound

Commodore 64

Release Date: 1/1/1984
Manufacturer: Sight and Sound
The Kawasaki Synthesizer is a musical software tool for the Commodore 64 created in 1983 by Japanese jazz musician, Ryo Kawasaki. The first of four music programs created by Kawasaki, Kawasaki Synthesizer was followed by Kawasaki Rhythm Rocker in 1985, and then Kawasaki Magical Musicquill in 1985. Following this Kawasaki created Kawasaki MIDI Workstation his only software title intended for professional use instead of personal or educational use.

As soon as the Commodore 64 was released in 1982, Kawasaki immediately bought one, paying $600 for it at an electronics store on 45th street in Manhattan. Kawasaki was fascinated by the possibilities the system afforded him and in two years he taught himself to program and wrote four programs in machine code using SuperMon (a tool created by Jim Butterfield) that he released commercially on 5.25 inch floppy for $49.95 each as well as an unpublished 8-track real-time MIDI recorder called Midi-Workstation.

The Kawasaki Synthesizer was sold as a 2-disk package that according to its own in-game demonstration "will transform [a] Commodore 64 into an incredible synthesizer and more." The game came with a software version of a techno track by Kawasaki entitled "Satellite Station," and it allowed a user to select notes to be played and create songs that could then be saved. Numerous other typically Kawasakian influences were also notably discernible, including the Kawasaki Space Theatre which depicted a couple of Thai kick boxers who would fly by. The game was regarded as having a dream-like fairy-tale atmosphere, and as future games were released the color schemes (for example in Kawasaki Magical Musicquill) became increasingly psychedelic.

Different modes were available including the "Easy Beginner Version" (in which a new player could learn how to create music in simple steps), "Demo" (in which the player was shown a pre-recorded display created by Kawasaki that highlighted the capabilities of the program), and "The Performer" - the composition portion of the game.

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