Firstly, I will quote a SMH article from 2004, in which Spod informs us of an easy way to start.
How to convert your old GameBoy into a musical instrument:
- Find a GameBoy in your cupboard or nephew's cupboard.
- Buy a cheap GameBoy Camera from your local pawn store.
- There is a space game in the camera software. While playing the game, shoot on the far right of the first wave and you are transported to a little secret synthesiser game.
- Use the synthesiser game to create music.
- Take the GameBoy around town as your new electro-popblaster.
- Use the GameBoy camera to document your first rock concert.
Or take a little more technical advice from SPOD:
- Take a GameBoy (the GameBoy Classic has better sound chips).
- Get a 1/8 inch to 2 x 1/4 inch (or 2 x RCA) cable converter to run into your four-track, stereo, amp etc. You can purchase one from a home electronics store.
- Attempt to get a "nanoloop" cartridge. (eBay occasionally have some.)
- Turn on GameBoy and enter the marvellous world of sequencing your GameBoy! Go to nanoloop.de for more details.
Secondly, I will put in my two cents on Game Boy Music:
You are best to buy Nanoloop direct from Oliver, the creator, which can be done on the official nanoloop website. As older versions of nanoloop, 1.1 etc are known to be very buggy you are best to buy the most recent, stable version new! It will end up costing you less too, as Nanoloop goes crazy on eBay. Oh, and Game Boy Cameras are awesome... Period.
Another option is to go with LSDJ, which is going for $0.01US right now on the official site, and well worth signing up to Paypal for. Another valid option is to use a number of other trackers that can be found on the world wide web, like these!
The only problem with LSDJ (and other ROMS) as opposed to Nanoloop is that they do not come on a cartridge. This may seem a big problem, but it is easily solved. (Shameless self promoting here) I can flash carts, with LSDJ or any other ROM I am sent, for Australians at pretty well cost price, which will save you at about $50 all up from many international sources, that I have bought from in the past myself! If you want to get into cart flashing yourself, I recommend the Transferer II, which I can hook you up with too. This is a good idea, as you will be able to back up your songs at home. Otherwise, I am happy to do it for you, just contact me.
I am selling this gear at a low price, to see the Game Boy scene grow... It has been here for years, but now it is time for it to expand.
Thirdly, maybe you could keep it all on the laptop!
Another option is to emulate. There are many Game Boy emulators online. I recommend Visual Boy Advance. You can download the ROMS and keep it all inside your computer. If you are going to keep it on your PC, you should also look at other trackers too. Maybe the Game Boy isn't even your thing? Try a NES tracker... It is all up to you, explore it.
Well I hope I have given you enough to start tinkering with.