Looking at these PCM files gave me a new appreciation for design, and helped me appreciate more how important it is to understand the reason behind design decisions. In a lot of ways this format feels like it should be “bad” design: it’s strange, it’s idiosyncratic, it’s internally inconsistent. But every single detail is carefully chosen; everything serves a purpose. Each of these idiosyncrasies was carefully chosen to solve a particular problem, or to ensure peak performance in a particular bottleneck. Given the restrictions of a 16-bit game console, all of these choices were necessary to be able to support constantly streaming audio like this in the first place. Aligning every single detail of a format or API with the job which needs to be done is its own kind of elegance—a kind of elegance I understand a little better now.
Source: Elegance – The Future Is Now