Saskatoon artist’s unconventional tunes done with old-school Game Boy

Chris Penner doesn’t have to go distant when low-pitched impulse strikes — the Saskatoon musician and program developer’s selected 1989 Nintendo Game Boy is customarily nearby. 

“I’d always been unequivocally meddlesome in video-game music. When we was flourishing adult … we started off usually kind of essay some strain on a side,” he told CBC Radio’s Saskatoon Morning.

But once Penner detected that it was probable to harmonise video game-inspired tunes regulating usually a handheld gaming complement itself, he unequivocally got sucked into a hobby.

The present of music

“A crony of cave indeed got me a Game Boy as a graduation gift, and we usually unequivocally took to it and unequivocally enjoyed a hurdles that came with it,” pronounced Penner.

Penner writes his strain regulating a specialized diversion cartridge installed with program that allows him to control his Game Boy’s sound chip directly. 

“What we can do is give a sound chip a set of instructions — contend ‘Hey, place this note for this long, maybe do a representation a hook here, play it this approach with this arrange of tone,’ and afterwards we can put a garland of those instructions all together.”

While a stipulations of the Game Boy’s partially obsolete sound record competence seem restricting, Penner said it can offer as a source of inspiration.

“Typically we can usually play 3 records of tune during a same time. [That] unequivocally leads we to doing opposite sorts of tune lines.”

Pikachu’s a fan

By day, Penner works as a program developer during a Saskatoon tech firm Vendasta. But in his giveaway time, he releases his Game Boy-composed albums as Zef, his low-pitched alias.


Penner depends a strain of early Pokémon games among his inspirations. (Getty Images)

The prolonged hours spent piecing together perplexing melodies on his Game Boy paid off for Penner when an intriguing email seemed in his inbox.

The Pokémon Company, that oversees a hugely renouned diversion franchise, was looking to underline a strain Penner stoical with a New York-based low-pitched partner in a promotional trailer for Pokémon Generations, an online charcterised series.

“That came out of left margin though we were unequivocally vehement to hear about it, and we finished adult creation a understanding with them and we got a strain into a trailer,” pronounced Penner.

“It felt like it pulled it all together and we kind of done it.”

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