pirate pops

FDS soundtrack?!

Working Famicom Disk System soundtrack to the hit WiiU 8bit game, Pirate Pop Plus!

Created: Jan 2017
Genre: soundtrack
Platform/s: famicom disk system
Status: unreleased / private project

For the release of Pirate Pop Plus in Japan, we decided to embark on a bit of homebrew engineering.

In Japan there exists a system called the “Famicom Disk System” – for playing NES games on disc. The Discs themselves are 64KB per side single track magnetic media that can be read in a few seconds (QD or Quick Disk, also used by Roland in some keyboards) – These discs were manufactured by Mitsui corporation in the 80s as platters only, with any licensees of the media format responsible for making their own housing.

The Nintendo disc housing feature the words “NINTENDO” stamped along the bottom, the I and N stamped a little deeper to accommodate a lock mechanism to ensure the disc isn’t pulled from the system when reading or writing. Also making it harder for pirates to make their own discs. To be fair the real dissuasion for piracy here was the relative obscurity of the format, and the inability to stream data to the disc.

In recent years this has changed and various solutions exist for writing Famicom Disk System discs. Knowing that this is possible, we set about trying to get some data on there, to do this requires a set of arcane tools.

Eventually we were able to use an existing codebase for structuring the data for reading by the Disk System. While the discs don’t work on all FDS machines, we were able to get the disc working on the Sharp Twin Famicom.

It’s a real pleasure to load up the music from Pirate Pop Plus on this 30 year old device, possibly the first bit of software written to do so in a couple of decades!

crew (dadako)
Director, Graphics Hawken King
Programmer Erik Gough
Audio Remastering Mark Sparling
Special Thanks DJBJF

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