Difference between revisions of "Nintendo Entertainment System"

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{{Template: Infobox Platform
+
{{Infobox Platform
| Name     = Nintendo Entertainment System
+
| Name         = Nintendo Entertainment System
| Picture   = NES.jpg
+
| Icon        = NES
| Released  = 1983
+
| Picture     = NES.jpg
| Developer = Nintendo
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| Released     = 1983-07-15
 +
  | Discontinued = 2003-09-??
 +
| Developer   = [[Nintendo]]
 +
| Type        = Hardware
 
}}
 
}}
  
The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, is an 8-bit videogame console of the third-generation of home videogame systems. It was most popular in Japan and the USA. While the NES was released in several different countries with various designs and changes, the audio chip remained the same for each incarnation.
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The '''''Nintendo Entertainment System''''', often shortened to '''''NES''''', is a third generation 8-bit video game console developed by [[Nintendo]]. In its native Japan the system was called '''''ファミリーコンピュータ (Family Computer)''''' and often shortened to '''''ファミコン (Famicom)'''''. The console was the most popular of the third generation consoles in both Japan and the USA. The console used a [[Ricoh]] [[RP2A03]] for a CPU which contained a modified [[MOS Technology]] 6502 processor. The RP2A03 also contained the console's audio processing unit (APU). There are special versions of the CPU for NTSC and PAL regions.
  
 +
==Games==
 
* [[:Category: Nintendo Entertainment System Games|Games released for the NES]].
 
* [[:Category: Nintendo Entertainment System Games|Games released for the NES]].
  
 +
==Models==
  
==Versions==
+
===Famicom===
 +
[[File:Famicom.jpg|thumb|A complete boxed Famicom unit.]]
 +
Nintendo released the console as the Famicom (family computer) in Japan on July 15, 1983. It uses the [[Ricoh]] [[RP2A03]] chip for both its CPU and audio capabilities. The platform was officially discontinued in September 2003.<br clear="all" />
  
===Famicom===
+
===Family Computer Disk System===
Nintendo released the console as the Famicom (family computer) in Japan on July 15, 1983. On February 21, 1986, Nintendo released the Famicom Disk System (FDS) add-on which used diskettes instead of cartridges.
+
[[File:Famicom Disk System.jpg|thumb|The Disk System add on.]]
 +
: Main article, ''[[Famicom Disk System]]''.
  
===M82===
+
On February 21, 1986, Nintendo released the Family Computer Disk System (FDS) add-on which used diskettes instead of cartridges. This unit has slightly enhanced graphics and an extra sound channel. Players can also save their data on the disks. The FDS uses an [[RP2C33]] for an additional audio channel. It was discontinued in 2003.<br clear="all" />
Released in Japan as the Famicom Box, the M82 was a console developed by Nintendo and released in stores that could hold up to 12 physical NES games at the same time and use 5 controller ports. The Japanese version could hold up to 15 games but they were built into the console, rather than there being physical cartridges.
 
  
===NES===
+
===Nintendo Entertainment System===
The United States release of the Nintendo Entertainment System was on October 18, 1985. Minor hardware changes were added to prevent pirating, but a full cosmetic overhaul was made, giving the USA system a very different look. On October 15, 1993, Nintendo produced a second generation version of the NES with a redesigned console and controllers.
+
[[File:NES.jpg|thumb|The NES Action Set.]]
 +
The United States released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) on October 18, 1985. Minor hardware changes were added to prevent pirating, but a full cosmetic overhaul was made, giving the USA system a very different look. This style of the console became the standard design for later regions like Canada (released in February of 1986), Europe (September 1, 1986), Australia (1987), Brazil and South Korea. On October 15, 1993, Nintendo produced a second generation version of the NES with a redesigned console and controllers. NTSC consoles use an [[RP2A03]] processor as the main CPU and default audio chip, while PAL consoles use the [[RP2A03|RP2A07]]. It was discontinued on August 14, 1995.<br clear="all" />
  
===Famicom Disk System===
+
===Sharp C1 Nintendo Television===
 +
Nintendo partnered with [[Sharp]] to produce a television with a built-in NES. In Japan, models with 14" and 19" televisions were made, each in exterior colors of red or black, and the units featured improved video display capable of true RGB color. The US models used the NESs original display capabilities and only came in black.
  
 
===PlayChoice-10===
 
===PlayChoice-10===
The ''PlayChoice-10'' is a dual-screen arcade system that ran hardware nearly identical to the NES. It was released to market the more popular NES games in the arcade and advertise them to potential buyers. Each machine had ten slots, each slot could have a special PlayChoice-10 game cartridge inserted into it. Instead of buying lives, players bought play time, and could switch between the ten games and play until their time ran out. For the most part, the PlayChoice-10 games are identical to the home game, but occasionally the developers would make modifications to the game, sometimes even the music.
+
[[File:PlayChoice-10.jpg|thumb|The PlayChoice-10 arcade cabinet.]]
 +
The ''PlayChoice-10'' is a dual-screen arcade system that ran hardware nearly identical to the NES. It was released in 1986 to market the more popular NES games in arcades and advertise them to potential buyers. Each machine had ten slots, each slot could have a special PlayChoice-10 game cartridge inserted into it. Instead of buying lives, players bought play time, and could switch between the ten games and play until their time ran out. For the most part, the PlayChoice-10 games are identical to the home game, but occasionally the developers would make modifications to the game, sometimes even the music. The PlayChoice-10 used the [[RP2A03]] processor for sound.<br clear="all" />
  
 
===Vs. System===
 
===Vs. System===
The ''Vs. System'' is similar to the PlayChoice-10 system, in that it allowed home NES games to be slightly altered to be played as arcade games. The ''Vs. System'' differed by allowing two players to play head-to-head in some of the more popular games. Also, the system took a more traditional approach so players bought lives, not time. Because of this, ''Vs. System'' games had to be altered a bit more than the PlayChoice-10 games.
+
[[File:Vs. System.jpg|thumb|A Vs. System arcade cabinet.]]
 +
The ''Vs. System'' is similar to the PlayChoice-10 system, in that it allowed slightly-altered NES games to be to be played as arcade games. The ''Vs. System'' differed by allowing two players to play head-to-head in some of the more popular games. Also, the system took a more traditional approach so players bought lives, not time. Because of this, ''Vs. System'' games had to be altered a bit more than the PlayChoice-10 games. The Vs. System used the [[RP2A03]] processor for sound.<br clear="all" />
  
==Sound & Music==
+
===M82===
The American NES and Japanese Famicom both used the Ricoh 2A03 (RP2A03) while the PAL versions of the NES used the Ricoh 2A07 (RP2A07) which plays music & sounds slower since it has a slower processor. The Famicom later came out with the Famicom Disk System which had an extra channel that supported wavetable synthesis.
+
The M82 is an NES reworked to function as a store display unit where merchants could let customers test games. The system featured 12 slots for cartridges and included a built-in play timer. The player would select a game from the 12 slots and play for the allotted time (customizable between 30 seconds and 2 hours) and then the system would reset. The Japanese version had 15 built-in games rather than 12 interchangeable slots. In Japan, there was an equivalent called the [[FamicomBox (FC)|FamicomBox]], which also mentions the Nintendo Entertainment System.
 
 
==Composing==
 
Back then, most composers had to write their music either in [[Hex Code|hex code]] or assembly. In other words, music had to be programmed, rather than putting MIDI files in the game, plus, multiple MIDI files were usually too big to fit on an NES cartridge. In the later years, U.S. developers would usually hire professional musicians to compose MIDI files and the programmers would write a conversion tool that converted MIDI commands to NES music commands. Sometimes, the programmer would have to create the audio driver, but sometimes, if the composer(s) knew 6502 assembly, they would be able to create the audio driver by themselves. Sometimes, programmers had to compose audio for the games because there were no local musicians around or they didn't have the luxury of hiring them, or the musicians in the area did not want to compose music to video games.
 
 
 
Later, [[Nerdtracker]] was created which was a tracker that could create NES music. Then [[Famitracker]] was created and then [[Music Macro Language]].
 
 
 
==Famicom Expansion Sound Chips==
 
 
 
The following chips were used in the various incarnations of the NES:
 
 
 
===228===
 
A chip by Active Enterprises. The chip had a 16-bit channel so it would sound like SNES music. The chip wasn't endorsed or licensed by Nintendo. This was the only expansion chip used in America.
 
 
 
===FME7===
 
A sound chip from Sunsoft. It featured three extra square channels. It was only used in [[Gimmick (NES)]].
 
  
===MMC5===
+
===Family BASIC===
The MMC5 (Memory Management Controller 5) was a sound chip by Nintendo that contained two extra square channels.
+
The Family BASIC was a development kit for the Famicom which was developed by Nintendo in association with [[Hudson Soft]] and [[Sharp]]. Potential users could develop their own games and put it on the cartridge the development system came with.
  
===N106===
+
===Twin Famicom===
A sound chip manufactured by Namco. It is also referred to as the 'N163'. The 'N' in N106 stands for Namco. It contained 8 wavetable synthesis channels.
+
On July 1, 1986, Sharp, who had collaborated with Nintendo several times before, released the Famicom Twin (ツインファミコン Famikon Tsuin) in Japan. The console came in red and black variants and was a Famicom with a Disk System built-in. It also had expansion ports, as well as AV output. There was later a Turbo version which used Turbo controllers.
  
===RP2C33===
+
==Music and Sound==
More commonly known as the 'FDS Channel', the RP2C33 was an extra channel by Nintendo from the Famicom Disk System that used one 32-volume wavetable synthesis sound. The chip was mostly only seen in Nintendo game remakes such as Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus and Super Mario Bros.
+
Every version of the NES used the [[RP2A03]] for its main CPU which had an integrated programmable sound generator (PSG) designed by [[Yukio Kaneoka]]. The PAL versions of the NES used the RR2A07 which was the same chip only with a PAL clock rate. The PSG in the RP2A03 contains two pulse wave channels with four different waveforms, a triangle channel use mostly for bass and percussion, a noise channel usually used for percussion, and a DPCM channel which would play digital samples at a low bitrate. The use of the DPCM channel was limited in early games because samples took so much cartridge space. Several expansion chips were made for the NES. These were added to the game boards of the NES cartridges. Below is a complete list of all the audio chips found in the various NES consoles and game cartridges.
  
===VRC2===
+
{| class="wikitable" |
A sound chip by Konami. The VRC stands for Virtual ROM Controller.
+
! Chip
 +
! Manufacturer
 +
! Description
 +
|-
 +
| [[228]]
 +
| [[Active Enterprises]]
 +
| The chip had a 16-bit channel so it would sound like SNES music. The chip wasn't endorsed or licensed by Nintendo. This was the only expansion chip used in America.
 +
|-
 +
| [[5B]]
 +
| [[Sunsoft]]
 +
| Features three extra square channels. It was only used in [[Gimmick! (FC)]].
 +
|-
 +
| [[MMC5]]
 +
| [[Nintendo]]
 +
| The Memory Management Controller 5 added two extra square channels.
 +
|-
 +
| [[NAMCO163]]
 +
| [[Namco]]
 +
| Contains 8 wavetable synthesis channels. Most players do not properly emulate the chip, raising the notes an octave higher.
 +
|-
 +
| [[RP2A03]] (NTSC)<br />[[RP2A07]] (PAL)
 +
| [[Ricoh]]
 +
| This is the original built-in audio chip for the NES. It has 2 pulse waves, a triangle wave, a noise channel, and a DPCM channel. The only difference between the two chips is that the NTSC version ran at 60 Hz while the PAL version ran at 50 Hz.
 +
|-
 +
| [[RP2C33]]
 +
| [[Ricoh]]
 +
| Included on the Famicom Disk System. It adds a 32-volume wavetable synthesis sound.
 +
|-
 +
| [[VRC VI]]
 +
| [[Konami]]
 +
| Virtual ROM Controller VI adds two additional pulse waves and a sawtooth wave. It was only used in [[Akumajou Densetsu (FC)]], Madara, and Esper Dream II.
 +
|-
 +
| [[VRC VII]]
 +
| [[Konami]]
 +
| Virtual ROM Controller VII adds 6 channels of FM synthesis due to a modified Yamaha [[YM2413]] integrated into the chip. Unfortunately, only one game utilized the audio capabilities of this chip, [[Langrage Point (NES)]].
 +
|}
  
===VRC6===
+
==Composition==
A chip released by Konami that had two additional Rectangle waves and a Sawtooth wave. It was only used in Akumajou Densetsu, Madara, and Esper Dream II.
+
In the earliest days of the NES, most composers were either expected to learn 6502 [[assembly]] and write their own audio driver for the [[RP2A03]] or use an audio driver developed by a programmer and feed audio input in a custom [[Music Macro Language]]. Because of this, many of the first composers were also competent computer programmers. In the later years, developers had written utilities that converted MIDI music into instructions the audio chip could process. This conversion method was especially popular for US and European development companies. Many low-budget game companies either couldn't afford to hire professional musicians or couldn't find anyone capable of composing in such a limited medium. Because of this, a lot of sub-standard music was made by programmers.
  
===VRC7===
+
Recently, special audio trackers have been created that either emulate the sound of the NES, or properly function on the original audio hardware. For example, [[Nerdtracker]] and [[Famitracker]] are designed to be compatible with the specific chips found in the NES, and music composed in them can be put directly into an NES ROM.
A sound chip that contained six channels of FM synthesis. Unfortunately, only one game used this chip, Langrage Point. The chip was manufactured by Yamaha.
 
  
==Other==
+
==Links==
After the amazing success in Japan and the USA, Nintendo began releasing the NES in other countries using the American design. The NES was released in Canada in February, 1986, Europe on September 1, 1986, and in Australia in 1987.
+
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_Entertainment_System en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_Entertainment_System] - Wikipedia.

Latest revision as of 00:08, 11 February 2019

Platform - NES.png
Nintendo Entertainment System
NES.jpg
Released: 1983-07-15
Discontinued: 2003-09-??
Developer: Nintendo
Type: Hardware

The Nintendo Entertainment System, often shortened to NES, is a third generation 8-bit video game console developed by Nintendo. In its native Japan the system was called ファミリーコンピュータ (Family Computer) and often shortened to ファミコン (Famicom). The console was the most popular of the third generation consoles in both Japan and the USA. The console used a Ricoh RP2A03 for a CPU which contained a modified MOS Technology 6502 processor. The RP2A03 also contained the console's audio processing unit (APU). There are special versions of the CPU for NTSC and PAL regions.

Games

Models

Famicom

A complete boxed Famicom unit.

Nintendo released the console as the Famicom (family computer) in Japan on July 15, 1983. It uses the Ricoh RP2A03 chip for both its CPU and audio capabilities. The platform was officially discontinued in September 2003.

Family Computer Disk System

The Disk System add on.
Main article, Famicom Disk System.

On February 21, 1986, Nintendo released the Family Computer Disk System (FDS) add-on which used diskettes instead of cartridges. This unit has slightly enhanced graphics and an extra sound channel. Players can also save their data on the disks. The FDS uses an RP2C33 for an additional audio channel. It was discontinued in 2003.

Nintendo Entertainment System

The NES Action Set.

The United States released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) on October 18, 1985. Minor hardware changes were added to prevent pirating, but a full cosmetic overhaul was made, giving the USA system a very different look. This style of the console became the standard design for later regions like Canada (released in February of 1986), Europe (September 1, 1986), Australia (1987), Brazil and South Korea. On October 15, 1993, Nintendo produced a second generation version of the NES with a redesigned console and controllers. NTSC consoles use an RP2A03 processor as the main CPU and default audio chip, while PAL consoles use the RP2A07. It was discontinued on August 14, 1995.

Sharp C1 Nintendo Television

Nintendo partnered with Sharp to produce a television with a built-in NES. In Japan, models with 14" and 19" televisions were made, each in exterior colors of red or black, and the units featured improved video display capable of true RGB color. The US models used the NESs original display capabilities and only came in black.

PlayChoice-10

The PlayChoice-10 arcade cabinet.

The PlayChoice-10 is a dual-screen arcade system that ran hardware nearly identical to the NES. It was released in 1986 to market the more popular NES games in arcades and advertise them to potential buyers. Each machine had ten slots, each slot could have a special PlayChoice-10 game cartridge inserted into it. Instead of buying lives, players bought play time, and could switch between the ten games and play until their time ran out. For the most part, the PlayChoice-10 games are identical to the home game, but occasionally the developers would make modifications to the game, sometimes even the music. The PlayChoice-10 used the RP2A03 processor for sound.

Vs. System

A Vs. System arcade cabinet.

The Vs. System is similar to the PlayChoice-10 system, in that it allowed slightly-altered NES games to be to be played as arcade games. The Vs. System differed by allowing two players to play head-to-head in some of the more popular games. Also, the system took a more traditional approach so players bought lives, not time. Because of this, Vs. System games had to be altered a bit more than the PlayChoice-10 games. The Vs. System used the RP2A03 processor for sound.

M82

The M82 is an NES reworked to function as a store display unit where merchants could let customers test games. The system featured 12 slots for cartridges and included a built-in play timer. The player would select a game from the 12 slots and play for the allotted time (customizable between 30 seconds and 2 hours) and then the system would reset. The Japanese version had 15 built-in games rather than 12 interchangeable slots. In Japan, there was an equivalent called the FamicomBox, which also mentions the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Family BASIC

The Family BASIC was a development kit for the Famicom which was developed by Nintendo in association with Hudson Soft and Sharp. Potential users could develop their own games and put it on the cartridge the development system came with.

Twin Famicom

On July 1, 1986, Sharp, who had collaborated with Nintendo several times before, released the Famicom Twin (ツインファミコン Famikon Tsuin) in Japan. The console came in red and black variants and was a Famicom with a Disk System built-in. It also had expansion ports, as well as AV output. There was later a Turbo version which used Turbo controllers.

Music and Sound

Every version of the NES used the RP2A03 for its main CPU which had an integrated programmable sound generator (PSG) designed by Yukio Kaneoka. The PAL versions of the NES used the RR2A07 which was the same chip only with a PAL clock rate. The PSG in the RP2A03 contains two pulse wave channels with four different waveforms, a triangle channel use mostly for bass and percussion, a noise channel usually used for percussion, and a DPCM channel which would play digital samples at a low bitrate. The use of the DPCM channel was limited in early games because samples took so much cartridge space. Several expansion chips were made for the NES. These were added to the game boards of the NES cartridges. Below is a complete list of all the audio chips found in the various NES consoles and game cartridges.

Chip Manufacturer Description
228 Active Enterprises The chip had a 16-bit channel so it would sound like SNES music. The chip wasn't endorsed or licensed by Nintendo. This was the only expansion chip used in America.
5B Sunsoft Features three extra square channels. It was only used in Gimmick! (FC).
MMC5 Nintendo The Memory Management Controller 5 added two extra square channels.
NAMCO163 Namco Contains 8 wavetable synthesis channels. Most players do not properly emulate the chip, raising the notes an octave higher.
RP2A03 (NTSC)
RP2A07 (PAL)
Ricoh This is the original built-in audio chip for the NES. It has 2 pulse waves, a triangle wave, a noise channel, and a DPCM channel. The only difference between the two chips is that the NTSC version ran at 60 Hz while the PAL version ran at 50 Hz.
RP2C33 Ricoh Included on the Famicom Disk System. It adds a 32-volume wavetable synthesis sound.
VRC VI Konami Virtual ROM Controller VI adds two additional pulse waves and a sawtooth wave. It was only used in Akumajou Densetsu (FC), Madara, and Esper Dream II.
VRC VII Konami Virtual ROM Controller VII adds 6 channels of FM synthesis due to a modified Yamaha YM2413 integrated into the chip. Unfortunately, only one game utilized the audio capabilities of this chip, Langrage Point (NES).

Composition

In the earliest days of the NES, most composers were either expected to learn 6502 assembly and write their own audio driver for the RP2A03 or use an audio driver developed by a programmer and feed audio input in a custom Music Macro Language. Because of this, many of the first composers were also competent computer programmers. In the later years, developers had written utilities that converted MIDI music into instructions the audio chip could process. This conversion method was especially popular for US and European development companies. Many low-budget game companies either couldn't afford to hire professional musicians or couldn't find anyone capable of composing in such a limited medium. Because of this, a lot of sub-standard music was made by programmers.

Recently, special audio trackers have been created that either emulate the sound of the NES, or properly function on the original audio hardware. For example, Nerdtracker and Famitracker are designed to be compatible with the specific chips found in the NES, and music composed in them can be put directly into an NES ROM.

Links