This Chiptune Player’s Got What Nintendon’t

When it comes to chiptunes, the original Nintendo Entertainment System and the Game Boy get all the accolades. The OPL synths have all the fun. But there’s another chip out there in dusty old machines that is at least as interesting with a repertoire at least as influential as the Mega Man 2 OST. It’s the YM2612, the chip in the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

[natalie] created a portable device capable of playing back the files targeting the sound chips in this venerable machine. It’s the MegaGRRL, and it’s the iPod for the original Genesis sound tracks.

Inside the MegaGRRL is an ESP32 in the form of an ESP-WROOM-32 module. There is, of course a YM2612 chip in there, along with a headphone amplifier and a battery charger. The display is a fairly standard and cheap affair that’s 240 x 320 pixels in full color, and there are seven buttons on this device, because of course you need an A, B, and C button.

Combined with a 3D printed enclosure, the GameGRRL does exactly what it says it will: it plays all the music from old Sega games. Now, when you’re in the inevitable argument with someone over the fact that Michael Jackson wrote the Sonic 3 soundtrack, the proof is right in your pocket. Of if you want to jam out on the Toe Jam And Earl soundtrack, that’s right there too. You can check out the video demos below.

7 thoughts on “This Chiptune Player’s Got What Nintendon’t

    1. Found it interesting that the CPU parts of the legendary full size FM synthesizer Yamaha DX7, hardly the most interesting parts sound wise mostly shuffling bits around maybe doing some of the most basic DSP, but interesting in that they were Hitachi HD6303s, kind of an illegitimate offspring of the 6501 via 6800, so illegitimate cousin maybe, of the 6581

      1. The DX7, which, naturally, was itself a none too distant ancestor of the YM2612, kind of a fancy programmable DX-series-on-chip if you will! These things do get around

  1. The CPU in the ESP 32 is probably capable of simulating all the function of the YM2612 with single-sample latency depending on how fast it can run a timer interrupt. About the only thing that might be missing would be the flaws.

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