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Chiptunes: Everything you need to know without getting a hacked Gameboy

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If you've ever been curious about chiptune music, the music made from video game hardware, but were afraid to go off and get your own hacked Gameboy, then you'll be pleased to hear that Reformat the Planet, 2 Player Productions' documentary about the scene, is now available for free on Hulu. Considering it was just released on DVD a few months ago, this is welcome news indeed.

The documentary covers a lot of ground in the New York City chiptune scene. From its humble beginnings at The Tank (also famous for its circuit bending festivals) to its relative explosion in popularity, the filmmakers talk to a lot of the main folks involved in the scene, from musicians to promoters.

Of course, it wasn't just New York that mattered, chip music was catching on around the world, with hacked systems being used for both music and visuals. Using New York as the catalyst, the filmmakers watch as the global movement catches on and leads to the inevitable big gala, the Blip Festival, which now happens around the globe every year.

Even if you're not particularly into video games or chip music, the documentary is well done and should be interesting to any one interested in music. There is a surprisingly diverse amount of style at work here, which is evidenced by the massive collection of live footage and the artists that range from ambient to hardcore.

If you're into the film after watching it, we'd recommend picking up the ridiculously cool bundle from Fangamer, which includes a shirt, post, pins, the film, CDs, live DVDs and more. Now that's love.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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