It is not news the Game Boy is the weapon of choice for many chiptune artists, nor that nanoloop is one of the most recognized names for software that makes the Game Boy "sing" to your desires. But now the company is taking things a step further and is releasing a cartridge that turns your old DMG model Game Boy into a three-channel analogue synthesizer.
This is seriously impressive stuff, considering the tunes are coming from twenty-seven-year-old hardware. For the more tech savvy among the Nintendo Life community, here's what makes the cart so special:
In the nanoloop mono cart, the analog components (op-amps, comparators, logic cells etc) of a PIC microcontroller are connected and configured in such a way that they form a hybrid sound chip with 3 analog filters and a true random noise generator, using only a few passive external components; a step sequencer with per-step control for all parameters. There are 8 banks of flash memory each of which can hold 15 patterns per channel and a song structure.
Nanoloop expects to start shipping the nanoloop mono this upcoming December at a sensible price of €69. If all of this (literally) sounds something that might tickle your fancy, keep a close watch on the product page.
Beware that price only gets you the cartridge itself, the Game Boy console is not provided. Also note results are less than stellar on other models of the Game Boy family, with both Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color producing additional, unwanted sound artifacts. The cartridge flat-out won't work on Game Boy Advance models.
But you feel the need to make some music right now and happen to favor a 3DS family console in your pocket instead of the old faithful brick, Rhythmic Ultimate and KORG (with the DSN-12 and the M01D) have you spoilt for choice.