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October 7, 2013 AT 8:05 am

Nintendo audio played by player piano and robotic percussion

This system allows for Nintendo gameplay audio to be played through an acoustic player piano and robotically controlled percussive instruments. The piano and percussion play live during actual gameplay, mirroring the sounds that would normally be created electronically. All audio, including music and sound effects, is translated in realtime so that it is produced by the instrument most closely resembling the characteristics of the original electronic sound.


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4 Comments

  1. Does anyone know how the musical data is extracted? I have some automatic instruments and I’m dying to try this out myself.

  2. The UnDisbeliever

    @kx
    They would have used a custom NES emulator with a modified Audio Processing Unit.

    The emulated APU convert every APU register write into MIDI output. After reading the video description I’m guessing it stores the APU state in a buffer in order to simplify the MIDI output and handle the return rate of the real instruments.

    There aren’t many NES emulators that can handle MIDI output.

    The only one I know of is BasicNES and uses MIDI ouput so the author didn’t need to create an audio engine. Annoyingly it is written in Visual Basic and doesn’t supports external devices in Win7/8. See http://code.google.com/p/basicnes/, and its fork http://sourceforge.net/projects/yoshines/

    Sample: http://youtu.be/T1wlaj7RyKI

    Let us know if you manage to do anything with it.

  3. The UnDisbeliever

    My mistake, I meant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1AFvtN0Teg (as a sample of BasicNES’s MIDI output)

  4. Thanks a lot for all that info The UnDisbeliever!

    Because of that I was able to get it going with yoshiNES on Windows XP and am now playing Super Mario Brothers with an accompaniment of automatic instruments.

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