My Favorite Tools For Video Game Music Analysis

This article shows what I use/know in my VGM analysis work.


If you know a good tool, let me know, please. :)

  • Generic
    • Debuggers
      • MHS, Cheat Engine - By attaching these debugger tools to an emulator, you will be able to add some debugging functions, such as RAM tools and read/write breakpoints. I recommend you to install both, and start solving Cheat Engine's tutorial EXE by using MHS. See also: Memory Addresses Of Emulators
    • Editors
      • Hex editors: Use your favorite one. I have used Stirling (Japanese hex editor since 19XX) for a long time. However, I have migrated to 010 Editor (49.95 USD for home use) since 2015.
      • Text editors: EmEditor (日本語) is my primary text editor on Windows (EmEditor is a commercial product, but EmEditor Free is also available). I also use Sublime Text on Mac OS X.
        • I recommend to use a text editor which has an enough undo buffer, regular-expression and rectangle selection functions at least.
    • Players
      • foobar2000 - My favorite music player. It works good for VGMs if install additional components.
      • Winamp - I sometimes use Winamp as a SPC/PSF tagger. (you need to install plugins first)
    • Converters, Ripping Tools, etc.
      • VGMTrans - Can convert various game music to MIDI and SF2. Also, it will be useful when you want to write a parser for a new format.
      • VGMToolbox - It includes tools to extract, optimize, and build VGM formats as well as auditing and exploration utilities.
  • NES
    • Emulators
      • FCEUX - This one provides almost everything.
      • G-NES, G-NSF - I sometimes use it for only one reason: view sound registers. FCEUX lacks it, isn't it? :(
      • NO$NES - Never tried this yet.
    • Ripping Tools
    • Converters
      • nsf2midi - Unfortunately, it cannot output duty cycle.
      • nes2midi (Lua) - nsf2midi is easier to use than this, however, this one can output duty cycle. Also, it does not require NSF ripping.
  • SNES
  • GB/GBA
    • Emulators
    • Ripping, Analysis Tools
    • Converters
      • GBAMusRiper - If you want to convert the music of standard driver (MusicPlayer2000, aka. Sappy) to MIDI and SF2, check this one. Do not use my buggy GBA2MIDI, please.
      • gb2midi (Lua) - I think this is the easiest way to dump everything.
  • Nintendo DS
  • Playstation
    • Emulators
      • NO$PSX - Though its accuracy is not very good, it is the best PS1 debugger as far as I know.
      • XEBRA - The most accurate and fast PS1 emulator as far as I know. It has savestates and "save the main memory image to file" function, while its terms and interfaces are somewhat different from other emulators.
      • psxjin - TASVideos always rocks, unless when the game does not work well.
    • Ripping, Analysis Tools


  • I suggest you visit TASVideos / Emulator Resources. They usually use emulators that are stable and have some useful tools such as RAM search, debugger and Lua scripting. Additionally, they must be open-source.