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With this player, making chiptune music is as easy as gaming

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Chiptune music is one the many phenomena that '80s era gaming nostalgia spawned -- but to get into it you need to mod a working 30-year-old NES into an instrument. Now, a company called Assorted Wires has launched a hackable 8-bit chiptunes instrument on Kickstarter to make it way easier. The pitch is pretty simple: if you're good at video games, you can make music with no practice. That's why they're calling it the Lo-Fi SES, for Sound Entertainment System. It's shaped exactly like a game controller, with the control buttons used to trigger samples, change tempo, and play, record or delete tracks, to name a few functions.

The Lo-Fi SES is designed around the Arduino platform with an Atmega processor. As a result, you can replace the samples with actual sounds from an NES or other console. You can remap the buttons, do sophisticated open-source signal processing and even use it as a... game controller. The team says that no coding experience is needed, but if you like hacking, "it's the perfect platform for audio projects, budding bands or skilled instrumentalists." Finally there's a slot to add three cartridges: a second sound pack, a USB cartridge for custom tweaking and a "Smasher" cartridge that lets you dirty up the music.

So how much does this chiptune fun cost? For $50, you can get an early bird cartridge only, while $110 will grab you the early bird Lo-Fi SES with all three cartridges. Early bird backers should receive their devices by the end of the year, while other buyers will have to wait until April 2015. The campaign has just kicked off with a $5,000 goal.

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