Difference between revisions of "Nintendo Entertainment System"

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==Sound & Music==
 
==Sound & Music==
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 2A03 contained two pulse wave channels with four different waves, a triangle channel for the bass or drums, and the noise channel used for drums and a DPCM channel which would play digital samples at a lower bitrate. The DPCM channel wasn't used much in games because the samples had a monopoly on cartridge space.
+
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 2A03 contained two pulse wave channels with four different waves, a triangle channel for the bass or drums, and the noise channel used for drums and a DPCM channel which would play digital samples at a lower bitrate. The DPCM channel wasn't used much in games because the samples took so much cartridge space.
  
 
==Composing==
 
==Composing==
In the earliest days of the NES, most composers were expected to either learn 6502 assembly and write their own audio driver, or use an existing audio driver and feed audio input in as [[Hex Code|hex code]]. 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.
+
In the earliest days of the NES, most composers were either expected to learn 6502 [[assembly]] and write their own audio driver, or use an existing audio driver and feed audio input in a custom [[Music Macro Language]]. In other words, music had to be programmed, rather than putting MIDI or tracked music in the game. 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 composers 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]].
+
More recently, special trackers have been created like [[Nerdtracker]] and [[Famitracker]], which are designed to work on the specific chips found in the NES, which can be put directly into an NES ROM.
  
 
==Famicom Expansion Sound Chips==
 
==Famicom Expansion Sound Chips==

Revision as of 13:54, 15 August 2013

[[Image:Platform - {{{Icon}}}.png|32x32px]]
Nintendo Entertainment System
NES.jpg
Released: 1983
Developer: Nintendo
Type: {{{Type}}}
[[Category: {{{Type}}} Based Platforms]]

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.

At the time, there wasn't a whole lot to work with for programming. The NES uses the MOS Technology 6502 assembly language for programming like other computers at the time (Apple II, Commodore 64). You had to find a certain way to program certain things.


Versions

Famicom

A complete boxed Famicom unit.

Nintendo released the console as the Famicom (family computer) in Japan on July 15, 1983.

Famicom Disk System

The Disk System add on.

On February 21, 1986, Nintendo released the Famicom 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.

M82

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

The NES Action Set.

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.

Family BASIC

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

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 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.

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.

Sound & Music

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 2A03 contained two pulse wave channels with four different waves, a triangle channel for the bass or drums, and the noise channel used for drums and a DPCM channel which would play digital samples at a lower bitrate. The DPCM channel wasn't used much in games because the samples took so much cartridge space.

Composing

In the earliest days of the NES, most composers were either expected to learn 6502 assembly and write their own audio driver, or use an existing audio driver and feed audio input in a custom Music Macro Language. In other words, music had to be programmed, rather than putting MIDI or tracked music in the game. 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 composers 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.

More recently, special trackers have been created like Nerdtracker and Famitracker, which are designed to work on the specific chips found in the NES, which can be put directly into an NES ROM.

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

The MMC5 (Memory Management Controller 5) was a sound chip by Nintendo that contained two extra square channels.

N106/N163

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. Most players do not properly emulate the chip, raising the notes an octave higher.

RP2C33

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.

VRC2

A sound chip by Konami. The VRC stands for Virtual ROM Controller.

VRC6

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.

VRC7

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

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.