Thirteen 8-bit Chiptune Music Covers to Make Your Day Nerdier

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

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Whitney Pow

Whitney is a lover of food, books, comic books and journals made for left-handed people. They are a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University, where their research focuses on queer video games and new media. They are also a graphic designer, writer and editor who has worked for places like Opium Magazine, Literary Death Match, Publishers Weekly and The Feminist Press. Check out their website at and follow them on Twitter @whitneypow.

Whitney has written 53 articles for us.


  1. These are fab; a bit of 8-bit never goes amiss. Especially enjoyed Boy with the Thorn in his Side and Crazy.

  2. I loved the Tegan & Sara one and the Cure. Haha I know I listen to both these bands too much when I started singing the songs right on cue. “Cause boy’s don’t cry!!”

  3. This is making me so very happy. Thanks so much, I needed cheering. I especially love the Tegan and Sara one.

  4. It’s like you snuck into my playlist and digitized all of it. I don’t often see playlists with artists I listen to so THANK YOU FOR THIS!! I especially love the Zelda!Chicago and SMB!No Surprises. Phoenix in any form just makes me want to dance, hnngh.

    also this reminds me I need to listen to more Anamanaguchi

  5. People actually write articles for these lazy “steal a midi and run it through an “8bit” soundfont” things? The least these people could do is transcribe it themselves instead of googling “artist song midi”, let alone using actual legitimate software for an actual 8bit game system. This is just a glorification of laziness.. but if it gets your nostalgia jollies off… *shrugs* I came here expecting people who actually transcribed and arranged the songs themselves through talent and skill and hard work. It’s so hard to find good legit chiptune covers…

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