Chiptunes are songs -- or song data -- usually designed to be played back by a specific sound chip with limited capabilities. The sound is often associated with early VideoGame and computer systems, though many early synthesizers also often contain similar (or even the same) sound chips. While the term may apply to old or antiquated hardware, it is not specifically exclusive to game music or old songs. Many have repurposed game hardware, and even the sound chips contained inside, to build inexpensive instruments or synths. Nowadays however, chiptunes are only used by stylistic choice.

So, while some might consider Chiptunes to epitomize the overuse of synthesizers typical of [[TheEighties Eighties]] SynthPop, other listeners consider them a way of demonstrating the composer's mastery over a limited electronic instrument, and likewise many of those composers enjoy that challenge. Fans and composers of the genre will be quick to point out that the resulting sound is the entire point of writing such tunes. Like any music played by a computer, Chiptunes are mathematically perfect, and it's probably a combination of this perfection with a touch of nostalgia that their fans love.

Chiptune music is a widespread genre, beloved by many on the Internet, but hasn't really reached mainstream status yet. Despite that, Electronic music in general has been heavily influenced by Chiptunes (mostly classic ones from VideoGames in the 80s), and in recent years mainstream music has shown more and more Chiptune influence. It has reached a point that truly distinguishing between chiptunes and some subgenres of electronic music such as {{Techno}} and {{Glitch}} is becoming increasingly difficult.

An interesting quirk of Chiptunes is that they come out either sounding awesome or like crap, and there is generally no middle ground. And on the listener side, well, you'll either think it's great, or you'll think it rubbish. [[TakeAThirdOption On the other hand, though, depending on what kind of listener you are, you may also think it doesn't interest you OR it has one flaw among the other awesome aspects of composition OR the Capcom's monkiers have become too old and such, so]] decide for yourself!

Another interesting quirk that chiptunes share with General UsefulNotes/{{MIDI}} is that they can be stored in numerous native formats that take up very little space. A full song can be stored in around 10 kilobytes, compared to perhaps 10 megabytes for an [=MP3=] file. This makes them the ultimate in bandwidth friendly music, particularly if you are stuck on dial-up Internet.

A distinct sub-genre is Keygen. Keygen arose out of a simple way to show that someone had devised a program to [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin generate a key]] for an illegally downloaded program, and the music came as a form of signature. However by its very nature as existing as a bonus rather than a form of music, it's less known, though its influences (namely a much more flowing style and slurred notes) have noticeably seeped into the mainstream chiptune scene.

And lastly, if you have 20 year-old hardware, fear not! By their very nature, chiptunes are designed to be replayed on something old. Even replayers that emulate the sound chips tend to require very little in the way of resources. It should be no surprise, because of this, that Chiptunes (especially in tracker form) have long been a staple of the {{Demoscene}} and continue to be so to this day. Thus, a lot of chipmusic is available online for free.

As with most nerdy fandoms, many camps of chiptuners and chiptune fans have emerged:
* Extreme purists that are only interested in writing or hearing music specifically reproduced by the sound chip in question (or ''maybe'' an emulator for that chip). Examples: music written in LSDJ on a GameBoy, or NSF / SID files written in a system-specific tracker (to be replayed by the system or at least some plugin)
* Somewhat-purists that at least want to write or hear music that is '''possible''' on the sound chip in question. Examples: [[UsefulNotes/{{MOD}} MOD/[=S3M=]/XM/IT]] (tracker) files utilizing carnal knowledge of a specific sound chip. Sometimes also referred to as "Fakebit".
* A more extreme version of Fakebit, which utilizes chiptune sounds but pays no mind to what is actually possible on a sound chip. Sometimes also referred to as "riptunes". Examples: improper use of the Triforce MIDI plugin, "8 Bit Remixes" made with GXSCC that are very popular on Youtube, or compositions designed to simulate two consoles running at once.
* Composers or bands that utilize chiptunes as one of the many elements in their music. This can range from using a sound chip in combination with a rock guitar, to using only a sound chip and drums.

A word of warning before you go hunting for Chiptunes: the good ones tend to be {{Ear Worm}}s.

!!'''Notable and/or popular chips used in chiptunes and example systems:'''

Programmable Sound Generators ([=PSGs=]) are often known for their simplistic wave forms:
* Creator/{{Atari}} produced custom chips called TIA and POKEY. The TIA was found in the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} and UsefulNotes/{{Atari 7800}}, and it also drove graphics. The POKEY, which did POtentiometer (rotary paddles) and KEYboard handling, was in UsefulNotes/Atari8BitComputers, the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 5200}}, various UsefulNotes/{{Arcade Game}}s (some even used two or four), and even some 7800 cartridges as expansion sound.
* The UsefulNotes/{{NES}}, UsefulNotes/TurboGrafx16, and UsefulNotes/GameBoy, where sound generation is built into each system's custom CPU. The Famicom Disk System was also capable of primitive FM synthesis.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Instrument_AY-3-8910 General Instrument AY-3-8910]]: UsefulNotes/AmstradCPC, UsefulNotes/AtariST, UsefulNotes/{{Intellivision}}, UsefulNotes/{{MSX}}, UsefulNotes/{{Vectrex}}, UsefulNotes/ZXSpectrum 128K. Many early 1980s UsefulNotes/{{Arcade Game}}s used two AY-3-8910s; the ''VideoGame/{{Gyruss}}'' arcade board had five.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN76489 Texas Instruments SN76489]]: UsefulNotes/{{Colecovision}}, UsefulNotes/BBCMicro, UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem, UsefulNotes/GameGear (with added stereo support), UsefulNotes/NeoGeoPocket (another stereo variant), IBM [=PCjr=] and many PC clones (e.g. Tandy 1000) claiming "3 voice" sound. Called [=TMS9919=] when Texas Instruments first used it in the [[UsefulNotes/{{TI99}} TI-99/4]].
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology_SID MOS Technology SID]]: UsefulNotes/{{Commodore 64}} in two variants, the 6581 and 8580.

Many Yamaha FM synthesis chips are known for a warmer and/or fuller sound. Tend to be less popular then PSG because of complexity:
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YM2413 OPLL]]: Japanese UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem, "MSX-Music" on later UsefulNotes/{{MSX}} machines
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YM3812 OPL2]]: Mainly Adlib and early Sound Blasters
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YMF262 OPL3]]: Later Sound Blaster cards
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YM2151 OPM]]: UsefulNotes/SharpX68000, numerous UsefulNotes/{{Arcade Game}}s by Creator/{{Atari}}, Creator/{{Capcom}}, Creator/{{Irem}}, Creator/MidwayGames, [[Creator/BandaiNamcoEntertainment Namco]], Creator/{{Sega}}, etc.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YM2203 OPN]]: [[UsefulNotes/{{PC88}} PC-8801mkIISR]], numerous UsefulNotes/{{Arcade Game}}s
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YM2608 OPNA]]: Later [[UsefulNotes/PC88 PC-88]] and [[UsefulNotes/PC98 PC-98]] models
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YM2610 OPNB]]: UsefulNotes/NeoGeo, most 16-bit UsefulNotes/{{Arcade Game}}s by Creator/{{Taito}}
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_YM2612 OPN2]]: The UsefulNotes/{{SegaGenesis}} / UsefulNotes/MegaDrive and UsefulNotes/FMTowns; patch-compatible with the famous Yamaha DX-7

More modern sound chips are based on Pulse Code Modulation (PCM)
* MOS Technology 8364 "Paula": UsefulNotes/{{Amiga}}
* Sony [=SPC700=]: UsefulNotes/SuperNintendoEntertainmentSystem
* Ensoniq [=ES5503=] "DOC": UsefulNotes/{{Apple II}}GS, Mirage and ESQ-1 synthesizers/samplers
* Ensoniq [=ES5505=] "OTIS": Creator/{{Taito}} F3 UsefulNotes/{{Arcade Game}}s
* Ensoniq [=ES5506=] "OTTO": Soundscape ISA cards

!!'''Notable artists that are at least somewhat chiptune in nature:'''

* The websites [[https://8bc.org/ 8bitcollective]] and [[http://www.8bitpeoples.com/ 8bitpeoples]] contain many examples, including some from bands listed here [[note]] Collective is more about single songs, and artists will generally upload songs to get feedback from other artists, while peoples focuses on album releases[[/note]].
** [[http://ubiktune.org/ Ubiktune]] is another site that releases albums.
** Music/OCRemix is heavily associated with the Chiptune scene as well; however in general they tend to make instrumental versions of originally Chiptune songs.
* [[Music/OneUp 1-Up]]
* [[Music/EightBitWeapon 8 Bit Weapon]]
* Music/{{Anamanaguchi}} (Fused with punk rock and became very popular with their work in the Scott Pilgrim video game)
* [[http://rivalrivalrival.bandcamp.com/ A-Rival]] (Fused with hip-hop)
* Music/{{Balloonsex}}
* [[http://bit.shifter.net/ Bit Shifter]], who also helps run 8bitpeoples.
* Music/ChaosConQueso
* Music/{{chipzel}}, best known for creating the soundtrack to ''VideoGame/{{Super Hexagon}}''.
* Music/{{colonopenbracket}}
* [[https://wearecrying.bandcamp.com/album/get-olde Crying]]
* [[https://computeher.bandcamp.com ComputeHer]]
* Music/CrystalCastles
* [[Music/DbSoundworks dB Soundworks]]
* Music/{{Disasterpeace}}
* Music/DJScotchEgg (and many of Shige Ishihara's other projects)
* [[http://dma-sc.atari.org/ DMA-SC]]
* Music/DragonForce (fused with HeavyMithril)
* [[Music/DotAy Dot-AY]]
* Music/{{Dubmood}}
* Music/{{Duracell}}
* Music/TheFollinBrothers, known for giving C- games A+ soundtracks and using programming tricks to create unique sound patterns
* Music/{{Foozogz}} (combined with happy hardcore, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUdy8-AB2gk as heard in this song]])
* [[http://freemusicarchive.org/music/glomag/ Glomag]]
* [[https://soundcloud.com/freaky-dna Freaky DNA]] (also {{Ambient}})
* Music/{{GBR}}
* [[https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDv8Wzo_VjBfHnqWQaLvCJw Hertzdevil]], who uses [=LSDj=] as one of his tools. His most prolific album is the [[Franchise/MegaMan MEGA]] [[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} ZUN]] collection.
* Some members of the ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' music team; though not all of them. Toby "Radiation" Fox is the most noticeable.
* Music/HORSETheBand (Fused with {{Metalcore}})
* Music/IFightDragons, a mixture of rock and chiptunes and an all-around nerdcore band.
* Music/{{iamerror}}
* Music/{{IAYD}}
* [[http://infinityshred.com/ Infinity Shred]] (formerly Starscream)
* Music/InformationSociety's remix/cover of Music/{{Devo}}'s [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuqBmJqqSH0 "Beautiful World"]].
* [[http://inversephase.bandcamp.com/ Inverse Phase]]
* Janne "Tempest" Sunni, famous for a legal scuffle with Hip-Hop producer Timbaland, over an uncleared sample of his song "Acidjazzed Evening."
* [[http://www.jaytholen.net/ Jay Tholen]]
* Music/{{Listie}} used to upload "MIDIS shoved through GXSCC".
* Music/NeilLandstrumm's ''Bambaataa Eats his Breakfast'' album combines this with dubstep.
* Music/MachinaeSupremacy (Use a synthesizer with a Commodore 64 sound chip in addition to normal rock instruments to creature an unusual brand of metal.)
* [[Creator/LapfoxTrax Renard Queenston]] and their alter egos:
** Kitsune^2
** Klippa
** Mayhem
* [[Music/MagnusPalsson Magnus Pålsson]], aka [[http://www.souleye.se/home SoulEye]], best known for composing the soundtrack for ''VideoGame/{{VVVVVV}}''.
* Music/MakeupAndVanitySet
* [[Music/MindInABox Mind.in.a.box]]'s ''Retro'' album.
* [[http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Norrin_Radd/ Norrin Radd]] (fused with DeathMetal)
* [[http://www.nullsleep.com/ Nullsleep]]
* Music/{{Rainbowdragoneyes}}
* Music/TheReignOfKindo, normally a jazz-influenced indie rock band, made the last-minute decision to record "8Bit Remixes" of every track on their album ''This Is What Happens'', and release it concurrently under the title ''This Is Also What Happens''. Just one look at the [[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rLdX4QsMbn4/TIbfK8X3-5I/AAAAAAAAAVg/HN2FbrtWssg/s1600/The+Reign+Of+Kindo+-+This+Is+Also+What+Happens.jpg cover]] tells you what you're in for.
* Music/RushCoil
* [[http://sabrepulse.blogspot.com/ Sabrepulse]], barring two EPs.
* Music/{{Saskrotch}}
* Music/{{Savant}}
* Music/{{SDFDM}}
* [[http://shemusic.org/ she]]
* Music/{{sylcymk}}
* [[http://trash80.net/ Trash80]] (Also makes piano music)
* Music/UnicornKid
* [[http://www.biglionmusic.com/ virt]] (AKA Creator/JakeKaufman)
* Music/{{Viznut}}
* [[http://yerzmyey.i-demo.pl Yerzmyey]]
* Music/YouLoveHerCosShesDead
* [[http://www.ymck.net// YMCK]]
* Music/{{Zabutom}}
* [[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} ZUN]]
** In turn, [[https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDv8Wzo_VjBfHnqWQaLvCJw Hertz Devil]] has produced a series of 8-bit PSG ''Touhou'' remixes, collectively known as ''Mega ZUN'' after ''VideoGame/MegaMan''.
* Music/{{peepeepo}}