The 8-bit adventure — the new genre of gaming music is a potential procrastination buster

January 13, 2016

Flickr Commons: Deandra

Flickr Commons: Deandra

Have you ever listened your way through an adventure to save a princess in a digital dream?

Well, if you haven’t, I recommend you try listening to 8-bit music or “chiptune.”

It is an energetic and colourful style of music that uses instruments sampled from old video game soundtracks.

It is also very addictive and from personal experience can help make any chore or piece of schoolwork more fun by making it feel like one of the many small hurdles you would have to progress through in a game like, for example, Super Mario Bros.

Sometimes chiptune music will use certain types of synthesizer waves or audio effects that will make their melodies and harmonies sound shiny.

This makes for a very intriguing listening experience. As if retro style video game noises could somehow motivate somebody to play and progress, in a game-like way, in the real world.

The music is actually very simple. It is not a kind of music that distracts you too much if you are doing another task, which is probably because video game soundtracks must essentially be filled with music that will not pull away from the gaming experience.

So, it would make sense if this simple, colourful, energetic music would have the ability to help you focus since it was developed as a form of “background” sound with style rather than a song to create a huge impression.

An excellent 8-bit artist is Anamanaguchi. Their music incorporates more rock-influenced instruments with video game music to create a style that is kind of reminiscent of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

One particular song “Bosozoku GF” is full of quick drum syncopation and great, pulling leads that steer the colour-spectrum sublimating, willpower intensifying train towards a valley full of whatever video game monsters you can imagine.

It is also important to comment on the tempo of common chiptune music. Very often the tempo exceeds 140 beats per minute (which is a common tempo in popular music). This creates an added level of excitement when listening or, if you may, playing around.

If you think video games are just for nerds that is okay but music is just music and it is promised by the laws of music that if you open your ears and listen intently you will go on a great journey.

Chiptune is just another one of those spectacular journeys.

© Shaun Fitl, Music Vice

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