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8-bit is retro cool!

Back in the 80s, computers and video consoles were finding their way into homes for the first time. The technology was simple and the games by modern standards were not graphically or aurally advanced. These limitations did however lead to a certain style which today remains popular as retro cool.

This generation of computer is typically referred to as 8-bit, a reference to the processor technology used at the time.

8-bit computers predated digital sampling and wave playback, so to give a computer sound capability required the inclusion of sound chips which were in effect 1, 2 or 3 channel synths capable of producing sine, square or pulse waves which could produce the necessary bleeps and bloops.

Screenshot from an 8-bit demo

Screenshot from an 8-bit demo

Before the end of the decade, most programmers had harnessed the full capability of these chips to produce original works which were often more appealing than the games they accompanied.

This lead to the birth of the demo scene. Demos were programs coded with the purpose of displaying cool graphics acompanied by music. This music we now call Chiptune, Chip music or 8bit, a clear reference to this generation of computer.

Over the last few years, interest in these old computers and soundchips has rewoken and led to some familiar bleeps and bloops appearing in popular music.

Some artists are now specialising in producing this combination of pop music using contemporary production tools and methods with 8bit chiptune.

We call this Bitpop.

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