NES keytar bangs out both awesome 8-bit tunes and classic games

Credit: Grieg Stewart

When a sane person stumbles upon an original NES in working order, their first reaction is likely to run screaming into the garage in a mad search for their old games. What a crazy person does, on the other hand, is hack into this video gaming relic. The thing is, every now and again, crazy meets genius — as it has in the mind of Greig Stewart, creator of the NESKeytar.

By utilizing the NES console's original RP2A03 chip in tandem with an arpeggio and drum sequencer, the NESKeytar doles out 8-bit tunes like a boss. It's also sporting far more than it's fair share of controllers, with an original NES controller partnered with its Famicom variant, a Guitar Hero controller's neck and whammy bar, and of course requisite the keyboard. The NESKeytar's brains have also been upgraded, in the form of a Raspberry Pi and three mini Arduinos.

As well as turning it into a rockin' 8-bit instrument, the upgraded brains allow for the NESKeytar to run on a battery pack or function as a MIDI controller. To debut his glorious 8-bit monster, Stewart decided to bang out his own rendition of the Game of Thrones theme song, complete with lasers and lighting effects from within the NESKeytar itself. The result is awesome beyond words, and has us looking forward to Stewart's next video in which he will explain just how he built it. If all goes to plan, we'll have our own NESKeytar up and running by the end of the weekend.

Greig Stewart, via VentureBeat

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