Game On! – PAPU, Free Nintendo Gameboy Plugin

This week we took a look at a FREE plugin by Socalabs called ‘PAPU’ which emulates the Game Boy Sound System (or GBS) found in the OG Nintendo Gameboy. The synth has 2 square-wave oscillators that each can be modulated by Attack and Release, Tune and Finetune, and Pulse Width knobs. The first oscillator offers a pitchshift knob which you modulate by negative or positive milliseconds. A Noise Oscillator is available with A/R knobs, and includes a Shift, Steps button (7 or 15 steps) and Ratio knob to adjust the timbre of the oscillator. All three oscillators have stereo outputs that can be individually switched on and off which allows for some interesting sound design, you could use any combination of. The sounds are absolutely reminiscent of old Nintendo so we thought it would be fun to show you how to achieve a chiptune sound to really spark those memories.



The first thing you’ll want to do is grab the ‘Chord’ and ‘Arpeggiator’ devices from the browser in Ableton. Set the chord device to a major (+4 st and +7 st) or minor chord (+3st and +7st), then set the Arpeggiator’s rate to anything below 45milliseconds. This is how the video game composers actually used to play chords on monophonic synths, they just played the notes quick enough in succession to fool your brain. Silly brain! The key here is keeping the rate fast enough to create the illusion of a chord. You can also adjust the ‘Steps’ knob on the Arp for some more movement in pitch. Once you do that press a key and enjoy your trip down memory lane.

Download the FREE plugin here on the Socalabs website. They also have a few other free synths worth checking out too.

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