An innovative app developer recently managed to unlock some hidden value in the Nintendo Entertainment System, a console discontinued decades ago.
For those who’ve managed to hold onto their consoles, or buy a reissued version, Avicr has a new app that empowers players to turn their classic systems into a functioning synthesizer. Titled SynthNes, the app effectively allows users to control the system’s five dedicated audio channels NES’s with a MIDI instrument of your choosing.
The reason why this works on the old-school Nintendo specifically is because the NES was part of an era in videogame history where consoles were sold containing dedicated sound chips. In the 1980s, CPU and storage technology was in its most primitive form, and the way music was produced in videogames at the time was to effectively encode a set of digital instructions (think computerized sheet music) for the sound chip to play.
Given the close association between the sound chip driven music with the 8-bit videogame graphics prevalent at the time, this illuminates the origins of where popular music descriptors originated including the niche electronic genre, chiptune.
Outside of needing an NES to start, turning your vintage system into an electronic music instrument will simply require an Everdrive N8 Pro cartridge and a PC to run the SynthNes application.
For more information, head on over to Avicr and name your own price in order to secure the download link for SynthNes.