MTRD – A minimalist tribute to NES Metroid with Music and Sound by Beatscribe

I’m happy to announce the results of our entry into the GameJolt MetroidJam competition. I did some ANSI art and all the music and sfx using Plogue chip sounds. MTRD is a minimalist take on the NES original. The graphics are fully ANSI-based and the music confines to the classic console. For me, it’s a double hit of nostalgia with the music and the text graphics.

The game jams gamejolt puts on are awesome. It’s great practice for programmers to work under deadlines and developer fast and efficiently. Some awesome games have come out of these jams and you should check them out. I worked with the talented Will Smith who did a great job in making a bunch of text characters really feel like the beloved classic.
MTRD is free and you can play it right now. It’s a quick hour-tops play. Go get it today! The soundtrack is free as well and comes with a bonus track if you grab it off Bandcamp. Aside from sticking to the NES chip’s limitations,  I also stuck to some of the classic Metroid sound design choices (no ARPs, very little vibrato, no dcpm samples).
The soundtrack includes abstract 8-bit covers of tunes from Metroid Prime and Super Metroid as well. It’s free so if you love the original game’s tunes check these out! Relaunched Today


Cutman has been a staple of the vgm remix and chiptune scene for some time with his awesome site and also the “This Week In Chiptune” podcast. As of today the site is being relaunched with all new content. More authors are signed on (I will continue to occasionally contribute stuff) and they’ll be lots great news, tutorials, rom hack lists and other things you’ve come to love from the site. Go and check it out today.

Kickstarter Alert: A Gameboy That Plays Any System You’d Ever Want To Emulate


I have probably tried almost every possible platform imaginable for Emulation. From PCs in the 90s, to the iPaq, PS2 hacks, things like the GameKing and multi-format consoles. One thing I have always wanted was a one-stop, high-performance handheld that I can take with me.
RobotLovesKitty might just deliver it by creating the Game Kid. Powered by the Raspberry Pi’s RetroPie emulation project wwith a 3D printed Gameboy like case that is capable of running NES, SNES, Sega, Playstation 1, Nintendo 64, , x86 PC, Amiga, Sega Genesis, Turbo Grafix 16 and about 20 other formats. Theres a few weeks to go and only the higher tiers are left, so you’ll have to drop a few more bucks for a glow in the dark one, but you don’t want to miss out on this thing! Pledge for yours today, they’re going fast!



For those not aware, the Raspberry Pi is a full powered computer thats about the size of a credit card. The potential for this thing is amazing, but this is the implementation of it that has most caught my eye.
I, for one, am super hyped that it runs the SCUMM emulator. The possibility of playing some classic SCUMM games while I’m on the road just sounds like the greatest thing ever.



Here’s a full list of what RetroPie can run, so probably the GameKid will be able to play most if not all of these:


  • Amiga (UAE4ALL)
  • Apple II (LinApple)
  • Atari 800 (Atari800)
  • Atari 2600 (RetroArch/Stella)
  • Atari ST/STE/TT/Falcon (Hatari)
  • Apple Macintosh (Basilisk II)
  • C64 (VICE)
  • Amstrad CPC (#CPC4Rpi)
  • Final Burn Alpha (RetroArch/PiFBA, RetroArch/FBA)
  • Game Boy (RetroArch/Gambatte)
  • Game Boy Advance (GpSP)
  • Game Boy Color (RetroArch/Gambatte)
  • Sega Game Gear (Osmose)
  • Intellivision (jzIntv)
  • MAME (RetroArch/mame4all-pi, RetroArch/mame4all)
  • MSX (openMSX)
  • PC – x86 (rpix86)
  • NeoGeo (PiFBA, GnGeo)
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (RetroArch/FCEUmm)
  • Nintendo 64 (Mupen64Plus-RPi)
  • TurboGrafx 16 – PC Engine (RetroArch/Mednafen/pce_fast)
  • Ports
    – CaveStory (RetroArch/NXEngine)
    – Doom (RetroArch/PrBoom)
    – Duke Nukem 3D (eDuke)
  • ScummVM
  • Sega Master System / Mark III (RetroArch/Picodrive, Osmose, DGen)
  • Sega Mega Drive / Genesis (RetroArch/Picodrive, DGen)
  • Sega Mega-CD / CD (RetroArch/Picodrive, DGen)
  • Sega 32X (RetroArch/Picodrive, DGen)
  • Playstation 1 (RetroArch/PCSX ReARMed)
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System (RetroArch/Pocket SNES, snes9x-rpi)
  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum (Fuse, FBZX)


Beatscribe featured on uWin compilation now out on uCollective

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 7.01.45 AMIm very honored to share a release with some excellent and talented chip artists on the latest µCollective release “µWin“. It’s possibly the most diverse release I’ve ever been a part of. It features many submissions for Chiptunes=Win and especially seems to highlight less standard styles of Chiptunes music.

This is not a dance best kind of album, it has all kinds of tracks. Many of the tracks have a very moody and atmospheric feel which is just awesome. Some standout tracks in my opinion are Kubikami’s The Bothersomeness, Jentu’s Luna, and Evaleigh’s Apathy Syndrome. There’s so much variety its hard to pick a few to highlight.

My submission, “offline hours” is no exception. It’s one of the slowest pieces I’ve ever made. I wanted to make a Dave Gilmour style piece using the SNES. The entire thing is composed with only ten samples, most of them under a second in length. It really shows what the SNES was capable doing. These sounds come from a variety of games but I tries not to use them in their most standard way. I think I bent as many sounds as possible out of that tiny guitar harmonic sample. Go grab a copy today and keep supporting this awesome net label.
If you’re interested in making your own SNES tunes, this post from the past will get you started.

GameJolt’s Gameboy Jam 4 Now Open For Voting

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.12.10 PMGameJolt holds a cool tournament every year where you get 7 days to design a game from scratch using no pre-created assets. The Gameboy ones are favorites of mine. Most of the games can be played directly in a browser and really take me back. I posted a few screenshots from ones I particularly liked. I won’t post the names since I don’t want to influence the voting however.

This year’s entries are really good. Some of them go far beyond what could really be done on the gameboy, but they still retain some of the feel of the classic low-color classic. Some entries have a nice gameboy color feel and a more varied palette. For me, the ones with good 8bit tunes really stood out. There’s a lot of entries but take some time to check them out, you’ll find some favorites and be sure to take a quick moment to vote!Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.10.25 PM

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Spiddekauga Games Trailer for Voider – Upcoming Game With Beatscribe Music

This game is looking pretty sweet. The soundtrack is totally inspired by Metroid Prime and I think its some of my finest ambient-ish work. I will post more details soon.

Starship Rubicon Round Table Interview with Wick and Beatscribe

Wick and I sat down with Jon from Cheerful Ghost to talk about our involvements with Rubicon and Starship Rubicon. It was a lot of fun! Check out all their latest stuff here.

Plogue Chipsounds Gameboy DMG Wave Channel Tutorial

gbA while ago I had some requests for how to use the DMG wave table in Plogue Chipsounds. I just finally got around to putting it together. Although its hard to get the exact same sounds you can get in LsDj when it comes to using the wave channel, you can get a pretty good approximation.

Many of the cool sounds you get out of LsDj come from the start and end point and speed settings for filtering. These help you get those “blarg” (that’s what I call them) sounds and some of the really noisy, buzzy Gameboy sounds that have come to define its sound.

Chipsounds doesn’t have the start/end/speed setup like LsDj but you can get the same effect using the wave sequencer. Here’s a few settings to get you started. If you haven’t learned the wave table in Chipsounds, read this first.

Select the DMG-CPU preset and the Wave channel of course. Pick a Wave Channel preset to start with. We will customize it later.

Set PMode to one fo the following options:

  • PWM – A more subtle pulse modulation effect.
  • PWM+Copy – This causes the distorted “blarg” sound and is the most in-your-face modulation.
  • Modulo – More subtle, almost gives you an Atari SID sound.
  • Seek – Turns the modulation into an arpeggio-like effect.
  • Trunc – Another subtle effect.


The next step is to build a Wave sequencer table that turns the PWM ratio up or down. This is CC2, as you can see in the photo, you can increase it in small steps with a very fast speed to get some smooth sounds.

Youc an also use CC29 to change the Pmode mid-table as well as VPOS (CC28) to further change the effect.

The wave channel setup greatly effects the sound. The more you squish down your wave, the more you will hear the effects. Here are some examples:



The “Blarg” Mouth Sound

A very flat wave shape. Wave table increases the PWM Ration by 5 in 1/96th increments.


Jagged Lead – Often hear in Chipocrite and Bit Shifter’s stuff.

Wave Shape is rather jagged and odd. PWM Ratio moves up and down mostly in 1/48th increments. You can turn on looping for a real fun sound with this one.


Trashy Bass – this is a very distorted and fun one.

CC28 VPos starts at 1 and PWM Ratio climbs, VPOS jumps to 127 after a few increments increasing the distorted sound and giving it a slower attack feeling.


Squirt – A real subtle one I like.

Same as Trashy but using modulo instead of PWM+Copy for the PMode. A bouncy fun Atari-like sound.


Hope that helps. Just experiment from here and you can get some really epic sounds out of this module.

Studio Dustmop Releases NES Cartridge Star Versus

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 1.44.29 PMA while back we did an article about the first video games of all time. Studio Dustmop just released a authentic NES cartridge that mimics one of these early games “SpaceWar!”. While the price is a bit steep, the gameplay video shows a promising and exciting 1 and 2-player game modes, complete with modifications and various arenas with different features. One arena even seems to have some slick faux multiparalax scrolling! The in-game tunes don’t disappoint either. Its definitely a nostalgic rush just seeing the demo so far.  I’ll definitely be getting my hands on a copy as soon as possible. You can purchase your own copy here.

8-bit Mac Terminal Email Client

Just another little retro-fitting experiment here. By using some terminal settings plus Alpine, I am now checking my email in style.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 8.15.36 AMLike most linux/unix things, there’s about 10 ways to do anything. Here’s a the simple way:

1. Install Mac Ports

2. Follow these instructions to install alpine and connect it to your account (example shows gmail). Thanks to Kenneth Anguish.

3. Modify the terminal settings to use the font of you choice, colors and transparency. I used Ocean settings with some transparency added and the emulogic font that looks like the NES letters.


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