Tag Archives: Famicom

Originals: The Last Dream (EP)

Artwork by Joey Mariano ( animal-style.com )

Hi guys!  Been quite some time since I’ve posted.  Hope all is well.

I’m pleased to announce the release of my very first chiptune album, “The Last Dream”.  I’ve been working on this for some time and I’m very excited to share it with you.  Please take a listen and download it (it’s free!).

Feel free to leave comments.  I’m not revealing exactly what the album is about (maybe you can figure it out!) but I’ll be glad to answer any questions about how I put the music together, constructed the concept, etc.

Expanded Liner Notes:

The entire album was created using jsr’s Famitracker 0.4.2 with Ricoh 2a03 and Konami VRC6.   I created my own DPCM 1bit samples and all the samples you hear are playable on a Famicom console.  If you download the album, you will get the NSF files and if you have the right equipment, you can play it right off hardware, which is neat!

Here’s a couple things I thought about while making this album:

  • I excluded tuba.  I know that I’ve been working on combining the two during performances but I wanted to write an album that stands alone to start.  Well, and also, I’m not sure exactly how to integrate the tuba well enough at this point to make it sound polished.  I will definitely continue to experiment with that.
  • While I have been writing a LOT of Turbografx-16 tracks lately, I wanted my first album to reflect the work I’ve done with this set up.  I’ve been using 2a03+VRC6 since I started last February.  I really wanted to show off what I’ve learned.
  • This album was originally slated to be called “First Blood”.  I actually completed most of the tracks and then realized that I didn’t like the concept.  I ended up tossing many of the ideas I had and rewriting a couple from the ground up.  I wanted to focus on a different concept as I felt “First Blood”‘s concept of drinking, depression, and self-pity was a bit too dark overall.
    • The only track from “First Blood” that made this album is “Rumble”.  The rest of the tracks were written with the new concept in mind and all within the last 4 months or so.
    • There was to be an “Oddball – Album Version” included on the CD but I cut it at the last minute.  The track is completely done.  I plan on releasing it in the future but I won’t tell when.
    • My toughest decision was to cut a 9-minute long epic track about depression called “Nagging Cough”.  I have been fighting with this track since last March.  This was written right after “What Happens When You Take the Wrong Bus”, making it the second track of my short chiptuning career.  It started small and now it’s kind of grown into something completely different.  There are so many good things in it… and so many things I want to change.  I believe I will release it as a single in the spring, maybe as a one-year anniversary of my struggle to make it sound like music.

At any rate, I really hope you like what I’ve put together.  Thanks for listening and thanks for reading!  Hope to see some of you lovely people at MAGFest this year.  I will be in town on January 4th.

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Originals: Signature Strike OST

Hey guys!  Been really busy with a lot of things lately, including this.  Yep, it’s my very first commissioned game soundtrack!  Check it out here!

The soundtrack contains 10 different tracks created in Famitracker that utilize the Ricoh 2a03 and the Konami VRC6.  I really tried to keep the music absolutely authentic to the console.  It is unfortunate that many great game composers did NOT have the opportunity to use the VRC6, due the its cost and late release in the life of the Famicom.  I spent a lot of time trying to think how some of the great shooters would have sounded IF they had the extra pulses and sawtooth.  Hopefully, I was able to create something that is not only nostalgic but also brand new!

The album here is mixed so you’ll hear some unauthentic reverb that is not characteristic of the console.  I do I think it adds more depth to the music, though.  I figured it would be nice to use some patches when mixing to give it a bit more polish.

Don’t like that mixed sound?  If you download the soundtrack, you will get copies of the NSF files.  If you go get an NSF player, you can listen to the unmixed, raw Famicom sound.  It’s kind of perfect.  Of course, since I wanted to maintain authenticity for the game, the game itself features the tracks from the NSF files.

I’m going to do further write up for the music later.  For now though, go check it out and download it.  It’s free and I promise it’s awesome.


Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Joy Mech Fight (ジョイメカファイト) (FC)

Been a while since I posted one of these.  Today, let’s look at Joy Mech Fight, a strange fighting game developed and published by Nintendo for Japanese release only and scored by one of Nintendo R&D1’s lesser-known composers.  Let’s go!

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Composers: Bun Bun (Yasuaki Fujita)

Yasuaki Fujita’s career as a composer started with a baby… and man in a blue helmet.  As an in-house composer for Capcom, Bun Bun spent most of his career crafting sound effects for numerous titles and overseeing various sound production teams as production manager.  His legacy, however, lies in the composition of one single theme.  Let’s explore the career of Yasuaki Fujita, another composer who should be on your radar.  Let’s see why!

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Research in Game Music: The difference between pulse waves and square waves

So, a couple of the readers of this blog asked me (in lieu of my current 2 part series on Dr. Mario across the NES and Game Boy) to explain the difference between square waves and pulse waves.  Let’s see if I can shed some light on how this works.

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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!


Lesser Known Video Game Soundtracks: Pescatore (NES)

I was fumbling around today looking for some music to talk about next week and stumbled upon Pescatore, a video game created for the Famicom/NES but ultimately scrapped by Sunsoft.  For the full story, check out this link on the Lost Levels website.  It’s heartwarming.

Tierheit Sound Team composed this lovely soundtrack for the game.  I’m not really sure who or what that really means.  Looking it up, there’s no real names behind the Tierheit Sound Team so I can’t credit anything other than the team itself.  This was written for the SunSoft FME-7 soundchip, not to be confused with the special SunSoft5B that I wrote about in the past.

There’s not much music here so it was easy to find someone on YouTube who posted the whole soundtrack.  Sweet!

(credit:  wiiguy309)

Lots of use of echo here using the extra channels.  I like how “thumpy” it is.  It’s certainly a goofy game.  As always, if you like the track, be sure to check it out on YouTube and give it the ol’ “thumps up“.  Special thanks to Wiiguy309 for posting this.  Enjoy the weekend!