Programming Music for the Nintendo Entertainment System

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in North America in 1985, two years after its release in Japan where it was known as the Family Computer (Famicom). It enjoyed a particularly long life, remaining in production for nearly 10 years. Over these years, hundreds of games were released for the console, and it could certainly be argued that it earned the title of king of the 8-bit generation. One of the most memorable aspects of the NES was its distinctive sound—the cute chip melodies many of us can still easily recall today.

However, maybe it’s time to stop humming the theme from Super Mario Bros. and start composing your own music for this legendary console. This is where MCK/MML comes in, a toolset that provides you with everything needed in order to program original tunes for the NES. So let’s get to it!

MCK/MML Workspace Setup

The first step is to download the necessary files. The first four files are available from http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown-Denei/9628/:

mck_0228.zip
mckc025.zip
dmcconv005.zip
mckc-e.txt

This file is available from http://www.magicengine.com/mkit/download.html:

mkit251_dos.zip

Organize MCK/MML workspace

Create a folder called workspace, and unzip all files contained in mck_0228.zip and mckc025.zip into this folder. Now extract only nesasm.exe from mkit251_dos.zip into this same folder. Next, create a new folder inside workspace called DMCconv, and extract the files from dmcconv005.zip ...

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