Chiptune music is amazing. What is it? First, imagine a song. Now imagine it being sung to you by a Nintendo Entertainment System, with all of the versus, choruses and notes being transformed into the “doots” and “beeps” you’d hear while jumping through a Super Mario Bros. level. It’s pretty magical when you first hear that satisfying coin-colleting “ding” from a Mario game in a chiptune cover of “Two Headed Boy” by Neutral Milk Hotel, or when you hear Tegan and Sara’s “The Cure” played with a beat reminiscent of the sound Thwomps make when they barrel down on you in Super Mario Bros. 3.
I’ve collected a group of 13 8-bit and 16-bit chiptune covers, ranging from covers of Beirut and Sufjan Stevens to The Cure and A-Ha. I selected the songs based on how well they re-create that catchy hook each of these songs are known for — a great chiptunes cover, in my opinion, re-creates the same energy as the original. Basically this list satisfies all of the geek that I am capable of being — the nerdy music aficionado and the nerdy video gamer. If anyone out there is capable of making these chiptune song covers into ring tones, you totally should (and send them to me)! Or I should get on that.
If you’re interested in listening to original chiptunes music (not just covers), you should check out Nullsleep, one of my favorite chiptunes artists, who creates original tunes using modified gaming systems like the Game Boy and the NES — he’s also developed music for big retro-style video games like Bit.Trip Void.
1. Beirut — Scenic World
2. Neutral Milk Hotel — Two-Headed Boy
3. Tegan and Sara — The Cure
4. The Smiths — The Boy with the Thorn in His Side
5. Radiohead — No Surprises
6. The Cure — Boys Don’t Cry
7. Neighborhood #2 (Laika) — Arcade Fire
8. Sufjan Stevens — Chicago
9. Gnarles Barkley — Crazy
10. The Black Keys — Tighten Up
11. Fleet Foxes — White Winter Hymnal
12. Phoenix — 1901
13. A-ha — Take On Me