Stepper is a free, Elektron-inspired step sequencer for the Game Boy Advance

Whether you own an original Game Boy, a DS or a 3DS, it’s long been possible to make music on your old Nintendo hardware.

Now the Game Boy Advance is getting its time to shine. Stepper is a 16-step sequencer for the early noughties dream machine, but the inspiration for its workflow comes from Elektron’s range of electronic instruments, giving it a contemporary twist.

The software enables you to access all four of the GBA’s sound channels: two square wave channels, a custom wave channel and a noise channel. Parameters can be set on a per-trigger basis, and you can create four banks of eight patterns and queue them up for live performances.

Although Stepper itself is free and open-source, you’ll need a flash cartridge if you want to run it on the Game Boy Advance. It’ll also work on a jailbroken 3DS, it seems.

If you want to make music on a current-generation Nintendo console, take a look at the Switch version of Korg’s Gadget. The Korg M01D and DSN-12 were well-received releases for the 3DS, but sadly, the closure of the console’s e-shop in March means that these are no longer available to buy.

Check out Joe Bleeps' excellent demo of Stepper below.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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