For the uninitiated, “chiptunes” are 8-bit versions of songs that sound as if they were made for video game systems from two decades ago. A large underground community is dedicated chiptuning songs and, for the most part, creating original works using vintage consoles and computers (updated), but AutoChipTune just made the former whole process a lot easier.
Much like how AutoTune lets people pitch correct their voices on the fly, AutoChipTune turns any song into an retro 8-bit version, which sounds like it’s coming out of a Nintendo Entertainment System (listen below).
“Auto-tune revolutionized the music industry, but at best, it was a half-measure,” writes cheeky Brian McFee, a postdoc at Columbia University’s LabRosa. “Really, what we need, is a way to automatically convert raw audio streams into glorious 8-bit chiptunes!”
This clever hack won one of two prizes from The Echo Nest (publisher of Evolver.fm) at Music Hack Day Boston, and uses its remix API among other technologies. If you are exceedingly clever in the ways of code, you can run it yourself. The rest of us will have to be satisfied with these samples:
Note: This article was updated to include the fact that some people create original chiptunes, which is great.