Retro Chip Radio

Human Curated Chiptune Playlist

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The Philosophy:

Most game music radio stations these days are a mix of the new and the old. Well, screw that. We only want the real old stuff around here. Music that comes right off of a retro game console or computer's limited audio processor. Not a mix of chip sounds and modern production values, not Red Book audio from CD-ROM add-on games, not even music from when computers got such good sound hardware that there weren't so many limitations to have to work inside. Real chiptunes that come from real retro videogames.

The rules:

  1. It has to come from a videogame.
  2. It has to be from one of our accepted retro platforms.
  3. It can't be Red Book audio. Each song has to be expressed via an audio unit that has distinct limitations that help define the characteristic sound of the platform.
  4. It has to be listenable while studying, playing an MMO or Manager game, or browsing the web. In other words, it can't be too obnoxious, especially with vocal samples, which tend to interfere with the multitasking mind.

Guidelines:

  • I try to avoid openings or endings. We don't really need the middle of a playlist to have the feeling of 'starting' or 'stopping'. Exceptions are made for songs that don't sound like this too much.
  • I try to avoid songs that are very short or outstay their welcome. I go for two full loops of a song before fading it out, or barring that, around three minutes.
  • The songs have to be casually listenable as part of a playlist. This is subjective, and I try my best to achieve it.

The Platforms:

  • Nintendo Gameboy
  • Sega Megadrive/Genesis
  • PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16
  • Nintendo NES
  • Super Nintendo
  • Sega Master System/Game Gear
  • Bandai WonderSwan/Wonderswan Color

Special thanks to:

  • Zophar's Domain, which has been a massively useful resource for this project. The vast majority of the MP3s we use come directly from there.
  • Kohina, which kept me going the longest before I finally had to start this project.
  • You, for being interested enough to read this far in.

FAQ:

I think you should add this game that's on a platform on your list.
Let me know. I'll keep track of the most requested games and work on it. That said, I am trying to be ridiculously, unnecessarily thorough when it comes to listening for picks, so there's a good chance I will get to it eventually.

I think you should add this platform to the list.
This is trickier. The platform has to have good emulation available for its audio chip, unless you plan on sending me real hardware to record from. Its songs have to qualify as legit chiptunes by my own fairly arbitrary qualifications. If you think it fits here, let me know. I'll keep track of the most requested platforms.

Why don't you have Adlib/Soundblaster songs? What's with your lack of love for oldschool PC compatible sound cards?!
There's no lack of love here, I promise you. I plan on tackling this once I'm relatively done with the platforms we've already got. As I'm not really satisfied with the available emulation options, though, I'd really like to record off of real hardware for this. Also, maybe this will be a separate stream.

You have all my favourite songs from Game X in the playlist, except this one!
Let me know. I'll keep track of the most requested songs. Still, at one point, I passed this over, so there may be a reason why.

There's too much X on this station.
I just add all the music that I think fits my criteria. Keeping the playlist balanced isn't really taken into account. As a result, some things are over-represented, especially as I spend time going through certain platforms. As I add more music to the playlist, it'll balance out better over time. Also, thus far, it's on Shuffle, so you may just be getting unlucky. Patience.

Something's misspelled!
If it's the song title, that's how it's spelled in the game files, so I'm keeping it that way on purpose so it's easier to find. If it's the name of the game itself, let me know.

I think you should add this song from Shovel Knight etc.
Yeah, I appreciate that these songs are effectively retro chiptunes, but, no. I do not wish to open this can of worms.

I think you should add this song from a homebrew/hack.
If it's an original song, it has real physical copies out there, and I can get an Audio Overload compatible file for it, and it meets our other guidelines, then sure, I'll look at it.

Can you just make the playlist nothing but songs from DKC2?
I've been tempted, believe me.

This one song sticks out to me as annoying/obnoxious.
I will make a note of your complaint, and if I receive enough of them, I will remove it (unless I can't bear to part with it).

I think this song is breaking the rules.
Please tell me about it.

Why are you asking for money via Patreon?
I want to be able to grow this thing and support more simultaneous listeners and get it on more platforms like Youtube and Twitch etc. I'm super broke so the Patreon is the only way to feasibly accomplish this.

If the Patreon money ever surpasses the server costs, what will you do with the extra funds?
First, spruce up the website. If there are any really heavily demanded features, maybe I can get some help with that. I'd also like to start recording off of real hardware, and that's an infinite money pit, so no worries. I'd also like to do some informational Youtube videos about game music at this point.

I am a copyright holder and I wish you to remove my copyrighted music from the playlist.
Get in touch with me and I will do my best to make this happen immediately, provided you can verify that you're a legitimate copyright holder and not a troll.

Add this fancy feature!
Do you want to code it and maintain it? If so, get in touch.

I'll send you some hardware and/or software, if you pay for shipping and/or send it back after you're done.
No. I'm too broke and/or lazy for this.

I'll send you some working hardware and/or software for free, no strings attached.
OK. Get in touch with me and I'll send you my PO Box address. Thanks!

If you experience any stuttering when the stream starts, just give it half a minute to build up a cache.

Listener requests are currently unimplemented. If anyone's got experience with implementing interactive commands in Liquidsoap via the web, let me know.