Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

The place for musicians to share their knowledge and ideas about music and remixing, and to post WIP snippets and feedback. Also suggest tunes for remixing, here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 08/08/2011 - 1:49

Why not do this with your old game systems? Wall-mounted Nintendos and a Mega Drive produce their own spectacular sounds for use, especially with cheat cartridges teasing out new noises from old games using random pokes. I produced more than enough as a teenager.

A dummy run using two individual note sounds from Dr. Mario on the NES:


I admit that the video game music sounded better in this case but I certainly proved the principle. There's nothing like an 8-bit sound chip resembling an organ and the Nintendo's bass sounds unlike anything else I remember hearing. I'm going to have to rape the archives, buying or downloading all those games I dumped years ago.

Quite a lot of work put in and for everything I have, maybe it won't all get used in uploaded song.

But worth it as these old systems can sound as unique as the classic big-boy synths - with more character very often. Most new synths sound much the same to me now.

_______________________________________________________

I have quite a few curiosities under the bags now, including three C64s and two Amigas on my retro wall. The photos may make the gear seem all bunched in but they actually look rather nice from afar.

Image
Additions after this photo was taken were two Casio MIDI boxes above the C64, Nintendos between the Casios and disk drive shelf, plus Mega Drive above the shelf. I can't possibly need more now, surely?
Attachments
wall .jpg
wall .jpg (107.63 KiB) Viewed 5989 times
wall.jpg
wall.jpg (53.04 KiB) Viewed 5989 times
Last edited by Commie_User on 13/01/2012 - 23:15, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Razmo
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1231
Joined: 11/11/2003 - 12:53
Location: Har Akir, Ravenloft

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Razmo » 08/08/2011 - 9:37

Nice to see, that some people still have a fetisch for the good old stuff... thumbs up!

When it comes to using gear like this for studio use, you usualy run into problems because none of it is equiped with MIDI, so if you cannot get such equipment to expand the possibilitites, you have to be a bit of a technician to accomplish the feat.

With this said, I've seen more than one person make these expansions, latest being some sort of NES cartridge with MIDI support I think it was... in most cases, what makes the sounds are dedicated sound chips like the SID, the YM Yamaha chips etc. so if you really want to MIDIFY them, most do it by simply taking the chip itself into a project, just like I did when I started on my Micro SID synth not so long ago, and lots of other people have done the same.

But surely, it's possible to MIDIFY the old machines themselves somehow...
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
Image

Chris Abbott
Forum Admin
Forum Admin
Posts: 5209
Joined: 22/11/2002 - 12:21
Location: Dubai. No, not really.
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Chris Abbott » 08/08/2011 - 9:59

I had a MIDI interface for my old Atari 800XL. Timing and stability were much superior to the C64 in that respect.
Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 08/08/2011 - 11:20

If you have no MIDI cartridge then fire up a sampler. UVI Workstation is good and free: http://www.uvisoundsource.com/article_i ... icles_id=8

And as if it couldn't get any better, the NEStopia emulator allows me to adjust or mute the volume of each sound channel as well as add Game Genie random pokes. Stella behaves much the same for the Atari 2600 games.

The sound quality is also wonderful and this gem of an emulator virtually made it pointless wall-mounting the NES in the first place. I'll still want MIDINES though, plus the hardware can reproduce its tones a little warmer and uncorrupted than the software here and there. And perhaps I may even consider playing the games if the system has no more studio use.


Emulator heaven: http://www.emulator-zone.com/doc.php/nes/nestopia.html

Mario and other games: http://romhustler.net/roms/nes
Last edited by Commie_User on 08/08/2011 - 17:24, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 08/08/2011 - 14:14

On top of MIDINES, which can't be shipped outside the USA probably because Google Checkout is crap, there's also Chip Maestro:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2011/ ... nthesizer/
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jar ... -cartridge


I'll keep an eye on that and MIDINES too, having sent some emails to ask about getting them.

MIDINES seems the better buy, though probably because there's more bumpf on it: http://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/ ... e-252821/8



So at least for now, mangled music via cheat cartridge and dubs from the emulator are the order of the day. Same with the Mega Drive, for which a MIDI board was developed but seems to have died a death:



Again, cheat carts come to the rescue. I created a test poke for Sonic The Hedgehog which crashes the game at any point and holds the last note or chord played. Enough of that gives me plenty to play with and I'll tinker with other games later.

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 09/08/2011 - 16:22

Fantastic NES VSTi links courtesy of Analog X64: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8090&p=88123#p88122

User avatar
AndyUK
Forum Celebrity
Forum Celebrity
Posts: 286
Joined: 02/05/2011 - 2:58
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by AndyUK » 10/08/2011 - 2:49

Commie.. Don't know if this was ever posted here, but talking about old Game consoles.. Have you seen this :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM31lsU0Gpc

It's an 8bit reworking of Thriller, and to put it mildly .. it damn well rocks!!! He uses purely old 8bit machine to create this.. Oh Man!!

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 10/08/2011 - 11:33

I prefer my Michael Jackson chiptunes a bit more laid back:

For my tastes the 'club' one is too noisy and pounding. But I appreciate what he's done.



However, not everyone was pleased.....

Neat video but I hope this 8-bit fad dies a painful death and burns in hell. That s**t gives me a headache.

Loodirros 11 months ago o/quote]




And if it's impressiveness you want, then try this unique cover of Bohemian Rhapsody played with office equipment:


User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 10/08/2011 - 14:46

MAMMOTH VSTi link showcase: http://woolyss.com/chipmusic-plugins.php - http://woolyss.com/chipmusic-plugins.php?s=Sega




With Mario Paint to play with, a Mega Drive to discover and the NES and Game Boy to fully plunder, I'd say the dated console-sized gaps in my collection are pretty much covered over - particularly with emulators thrown in. So many free bits of software that you may not miss all that much in not buying Plogue Chiptunes. But for completeness, they too are nice to own.


I may say to hell with it, bunging up the Master System and Atari 2600 too. I kept them out because emulators do the job well enough and those consoles have no A/V outs. RF is very noisy, though modern noise reduction can hold even that at bay.



A more professional-looking SNES, especially with the 'Pro' Action Replay inserted:
Attachments
SNES and mouse.jpg
Primitive backup media required: The original instruction manual suggested saving your designs, music and scores to a rolling video tape! If I was bothered, Youtube may be my current choice.
SNES and mouse.jpg (97.14 KiB) Viewed 5871 times

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use - MIDINES

Post by Commie_User » 31/08/2011 - 16:07

My MIDINES arrived today, bought on Ebay because the man behind Wayfar has the reputation of taking your money and going quiet for months without delivery. And Google Checkout doesn't deliver to England.

Image


On top of the unit itself, postage costs and the tax to pay, it cost about £300 sum total. Wayfar sells for around half that price but I would still have needed to pay the tax and P+P.

So what do I get for that on first impression? Actually not much. You get four waveforms to mix and match, plus a channel packed with samples. A knowledge of MIDI CC unlocks a few filters but I knew it would be no MSSIAH. It's a fine little cartridge delivering just what I wanted but the kind of funny noises I achieved using the Game Genie with Super Mario aren't fully there. (However, who knows what I could tease out of MIDINES using some random codes?)


Still, with practice I could gain results similar to these: http://www.wayfar.net/0xf00000_examples.php



I did think mangling games to get strange sounds to sample was the stopgap. But it's actually a compliment. Taken together with VSTi, I have a Nintendo which can almost compete with the C64 for variety and MIDI connectivity.

And it looks bloody good too. Musical instruments you can also play your games on? The wonder of even yesterday's technology!


Functional and effective but not lavish.jpg
Functional and effective but not lavish.jpg (202.39 KiB) Viewed 5767 times



CHEAT CART MUSIC BOXES: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=8119

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use - NETWORK

Post by Commie_User » 09/09/2011 - 16:49

C64TPC for the video game, an original Hong Kong device dating back to the release of the console itself:


I have the Magicom plumbed in and I thought you might like to see it. .jpg
I have the Magicom plumbed in and I thought you might like to see it. .jpg (95.93 KiB) Viewed 5710 times



Super Nintendo devices are rather rare so get yours here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170682588663&category=171831&_trksid=p5197.c0.m619#ht_2208wt_825

ROMs: http://romhustler.net/roms/snes
http://www.theoldcomputer.com/roms/inde ... tendo/SNES - Plenty of good sampling noises there, for example Arkanoid, Blues Bros (great organ!), Porky Pig, Yoshi's Cookie, Shut Up And Jam, Arcade's Greatest Hits, Pole Position car noise. (And with the ZSNES emulator letting you mix and mute the sound channels, further fun can be had to grab individual parts.)




I think my SNES is a bit 'executive' now, what with mouse, music software and this. The Super Magicom lets me run downloaded software on the original Super Nintendo as well as copy my own cartridges if I so wish.

The free RBD software lets me do the business with 3 or 4 mouse clicks - data in both directions when PC and game system are networked together. External floppy drives are a rarity now, so lucky it also has a serial network socket.

http://alpha-ii.com/Download/Main.html

Data transfer is extremely simple. The interface is very similar to SIDplay, which says it all.


Image


SMC started it all. Programmers may have used transfer devices to play the games they wrote on a PC, but Nintendo would have gone ballistic to find consumers could buy a similar thing to copy each others' expensive games for economy. Nowadays this is excellent for PC archiving and retro gaming.

It can't transfer every cartridge nor operate an Action Replay, but it's fun and a great curio.



display.jpg
display.jpg (243.08 KiB) Viewed 5710 times


I'm certainly happy with my special Nintendo goodies alright.

To my knowledge there are no MIDI kits for the SNES. Though people have made many a MIDI file from game music: http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid ... 52&bih=773
Last edited by Commie_User on 16/01/2012 - 0:07, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 14/01/2012 - 0:20

UPDATE: I've now got round to checking out the Master System, though only in emulation.

Good enough though.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8315

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 15/01/2012 - 23:50

PS: SNES memory card. Maybe you can copy cartridges with it, maybe not: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Super-Nintend ... _500wt_842

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 15/02/2012 - 23:48

Though I did manage to find one of these:

Image

A collection completer.

Must be homebrew. I like the idea of slowing down some games to play at my own speed (especially early in the day). And slower music tempos could be condusive to sampling.

SNES/Super Nintendo Game Saver Save Game States PAL UK


The Game Saver+ acting as a bridge between a cartridge and the SNES. The Game Saver+ lets you holds your spot in the game, so you can replay all other levels just to get to where you stop. The Game Saver+ also features half speed and slow motion play without picture or sound distortion.

The Game Saver+ is powered by either through the SNES’s AC adapter, passed through the unit, or 4 x AA batteries (not included).




This device is designed for use with PAL consoles, and can also be used for playing some import (US/JAP) titles


Save any game, any level, any time
Restart instantly
Play at half speed without sound or picture distortion
Powered by 4 AA batteries (not included) or pass-through port
Product is new, unboxed and without instructions


http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... OC:GB:1123

User avatar
Commie_User
Forum God
Forum God
Posts: 1488
Joined: 14/07/2009 - 23:34
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Recycling 'dead' game consoles for studio use

Post by Commie_User » 11/02/2014 - 18:59

And for a rambley thread completer, someone may find it handy just sampling this and its brothers:


Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest