Mostly about effectivity vs. efficiency in terms of game programming.
Something's in there
I don't know why I love Nintendo's N64 music so much, but it seems be related to the fact that composers were rather limited to composition only and some wavetables for their sounds. I like this kind of musical limitation as it all brings a certain consistency among tracks. Listening to Mario Kart 64, most sound effects base on one-shots, but sound altered due to overlays with one-shots. Simple, but effective - lovely to see good samples doing wonders.