Research in Game Music: Complete NES Audio Mapper List

I recently stumbled upon a mostly complete list of all the mappers used to create NES/Fami video/audio playback.  If you recall, I spoke about the Lost Sound Expansion Chips of the the NES a while back.  Essentially, the US NES lacked a connection pin that allowed 3rd party software companies to provide sound modules that allowed for extra sound channels and voices.  A real shame.

At any rate, I found a list from tuxnes.sourceforge.com that essentially labels and spells out what each of your favorite games used for an audio mapper.  While the author, lugnut@hotmail.com, states that this list is far from complete, it is an invaluable resource in getting a general idea in the exact formats of the audio playbacks and the added size/features of each game.  Definitely worth checking out.

Bigass NES Mapper List ver. 0.1

Some thoughts:

  • Many US NES games use the MMC1 or MMC3.  As in, most of them.  The MMC1 to allow Nintendo cartridges to save via battery backup.  The MMC3 added the ability for a screen to scroll while leaving a status bar motionless at the top of the bottom.  Hence, you can see why this was used for Super Mario 3 and the Mega Man series.  As you can see, there are some games with MMC1 that clearly had the capability to save and did not offer it- most notably Mega Man 2.  That would have been awesome.
  • This list, as the author admits, lacks many of the JP Famicom mappers.  That a shame, to be honest.  However, his reasoning is sound.  It’s tough enough for me to just get my hands on the most basic Famicom games.
  • That even being said, searching “VRC” or any of the other 3rd party chips shows some of the games for which we were not provided the complete fidelity of the music.

At any rate, enjoy the list!

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About Classical Gaming

Steve Lakawicz holds an MM in Music Performance from Temple University as well as a BM in Tuba Performance from Rutgers University . His teachers include Paul Scott, Scott Mendoker, and Jay Krush. His love of video game music has lead him to form a blog, Classical Gaming, to promote discussion both casual and academic about the music of video games. He is the co-founder of the video game/nerd music chamber ensemble, Beta Test Music and regularly composes/performs chiptune music as Ap0c. He currently resides in Philadelphia where he teaches college statistics at Temple University. View all posts by Classical Gaming

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