I’m on a quest to find instruments and samples used in video games. If you found this article, you’re probably on that same quest too.
One specific sample pack was frequently used in Nintendo 64 games — the Digidesign Samplecell II Factory Library.
What is the Samplecell II Factory Library?
Samplecell II was a computer hardware expansion and software sampler that released in the early ‘90s by Digidesign. While it let users import .WAV files from other sources, they could also use the included CD-ROM filled with the other sounds. This “factory library” contained hundreds of audio samples users could use to create music and sound effects.
Can You Still Get the Samplecell Audio Library?
There’s no official way to get the old Samplecell sounds today. Digidesign eventually rebranded as Avid and retired the Samplecell line of products.
To my knowledge, they’ve never recycled the sounds into newer products. So at this point, this sample library is considered abandonware.
However, you can download an archived version of the Samplecell Factory Library from the Internet Archive.
An old sample library from the '90s containing hundreds of recorded instrument samples. These sounds were widely used in Nintendo 64 games like Super Mario 64.
What Games Used the Samplecell Factory Library?
Koji Kondo and other Nintendo composers made good use of Samplecell sounds throughout the N64 era. But most famously, they featured heavily in the Super Mario 64 soundtrack. Here’s a partial list of games with Samplecell sounds:
- Super Mario 64
- Mario Kart 64
- Pokemon Stadium
- Star Fox 64
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Animal Forest
- 1080° Snowboarding
- Wave Race 64
The sounds didn’t appear as frequently after the Nintendo 64. Some of them were reused in games like Super Mario Sunshine, Pikmin, Zelda: Twilight Princess, and even Wii Sports. But as time went on, composers often used more modern samples.
You can find a more comprehensive list of samples thanks to research from the VGM community.
Learn About Another Retro Sample Library
If you want to explore more samples from classic video games, check out my overview of the Zero-G Ethnic Series. There, you can explore some of the sounds used in those libraries and how they were used in various video games and TV shows.