From the good things in unexpected places dept.: academic journal Transformative Works has devoted its latest issue to the subject of games, and chief amongst its best pieces is MIT students Kevin Driscoll and Joshua Diaz’s exhaustive look at the history and rise of the chiptune genre.
From the earliest hardware hacking days of the Atari 2600, to the landmark creation of the SID chip (right, used most famously in the Commodore 64) to the concurrent Amiga cracking/tracking/demo scenes, Driscoll sets up the aesthetic roots of what would later be embraced by the likes of upstart (and still prolific) netlabel micromusic.net.
Driscoll also very adeptly covers the split between chiptune music for its own sake and its somewhat tenuous association with “videogame music” itself (a subject broached often in 2pp’s Reformat the Planet documentary), and the trend of covering formerly chipped music with live instruments (see: the Minibosses, et al).
It’s a fantastic and very readable primer to the scene, and an informative read even for old hats.
Endless loop: A brief history of chiptunes [Transformative Works]
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