James Parkinson
James Parkinson

How do you turn a Nintendo Game Boy into a musical instrument? 8-bit music is one of the most defining characteristics of gaming’s golden age of the 1970s and 80s. The sound chips in early arcade machines and home consoles had their limitations, but they gave the music a unique aesthetic that is still associated with games today. A love of retro games has led many developers to adopt 8-bit music (and graphics) as a way to honour the past and create new experiences in this classic style. But 8-bit music, also known as chiptune, is much more than nostalgia. It’s become a whole new music genre of its own. This story comes from the podcast Sum of All Parts.


Bits and Pieces: A History of Chiptunes by Kenny McAlpine

How 8-bit music, or chiptune, moved from illicit origins to mainstream popularity

• 8-bit artists: cTrix, JAMATAR, Bubblyfish, Role Music, Tom Foolery and the Family Jewellery

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