Does the music sound crappy
in your old 80's / 90's PC games?

FatBoy was created specifically to make MIDI sound better.
Hopefully, a lot better.
Any games which utilize MIDI-based soundtracks will
sound dramatically different with FatBoy.

  • Better
  • MIDI
  • DOS

What is MIDI, anyway...
and what the heck are SoundFonts?

The digital equivalent of sheet music, MIDI was commonly utilized by the video games of the 80's-90's. MIDI doesn't have any sound information in it per se, therefore the fidelity of the samples utilized by your MIDI synthesizer determines the quality of your MIDI sound as much as the composition itself.

To put it simply, a SoundFont is a library of instrumental sound samples, instructions and parameters which, when loaded by a compatible synthesizer (either implemented in hardware or in software), will dramatically change the sound of MIDI output. It follows that your choice of SoundFont can have a noticeable impact on your classic video game experience. Especially if you're an audiophile like me.

Why is FatBoy a thing?

When I recently decided to play an old school PC game, I went looking for some cool new SoundFonts to make the MIDI not suck. Imagine my surprise when I couldn't find one general purpose SF2 I personally liked well enough to use full time.

FatBoy is my humble attempt to make the best possible free, non commercial SoundFont for classic games and general usage.
In addition to full General MIDI (GM) compatibility, FatBoy also has preliminary support for expanded General Standard (GS) MIDI.

How do I use FatBoy?

This depends largely on whether a particular game is being loaded through your OS or something else, e.g. hardware synth, ScummVM, DOSBox, etc. Thus, I won't go into much detail here. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of tutorials online which describe in detail how to load a SF2 SoundFont in various situations, and I'm happy to help if you still have questions.

Bottom Line? FatBoy is a standard, SF2-compliant SoundFont which should be easy to load in whatever MIDI compatible environment you're using. Simply download, extract, load it up, and enjoy the experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Using FatBoy is generally pretty straightforward,
but questions do come up from time to time.

  • Is FatBoy MT-32 compatible?

    Nope. The old MT-32 was a precursor to the General MIDI standard. Its unique behavior is better suited for emulation.

  • How large is FatBoy?

    It weighs in at 316MB on disk when uncompressed. While not the largest SF2 out there, as the name suggests, size was not of particular concern.

  • What are FatBoy's system requirements?

    At least enough memory to accommodate the SF2 (316MB) plus whatever software you're running, and a CPU that's not too ancient.

  • Why not use [MY_FAVORITE_SF2]?

    I built FatBoy because I wasn't satisfied with any of the free SF2's I've tried. Some are very well made, but didn't suit my sensibilities.

  • Why is it free?

    SoundFonts tend to be community endeavors. Though I made FatBoy, most of its samples were recorded by others and many people helped to test it. Share and share alike.

  • Can FatBoy improve OPL2/3 music?

    It depends. If the game can be configured for GM music, yes! But if it's only "AdLib Compatible", FatBoy (or any other SF2) won't work.

Get FatBoy

Current release: v0.784