Ten Chiptune Christmas Songs for Your Holiday Playlist

Chippy Jammers

Ever since I’ve become a semi-functioning adult, the holidays have really lost their pizazz. I typically enjoy having a few days off from work, but during the Christmas season, those days are chock full of mandatory get-togethers, starring a cast of characters that isn’t particularly fond of my opinions. And they won’t rest until I change those opinions to agree with theirs.

So, whenever the calendar crosses into December, I start to get a little twitchy.

But I’m a huge nerd. And during the holidays, those geeky predilections act like a buffer. They allow me to escape, if only for a few minutes, into an alternate reality where grandpa isn’t outraged by the length of my hair and Aunt Ruth isn’t trying to convince me that Pat Robertson has some really good ideas.

This year, my alternate reality is cleverly disguised as a cell phone. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been pulling together a cash of Christmas-themed chiptunes. So, when the party takes a tyrannical turn, I can excuse myself for a few, pop on a pair of headphones, and thrown down some festive, holiday jams. Hopefully, this will allow me to stay upbeat and holiday-focused.

But, it would be rude to keep this playlist to myself. After all, I’m sure there are other nerds who need an escape from their relatives. So, Merry Christmas, and good luck out there.

Ninstrument: The Object of My Obsession Has Abandoned Me

ninstrument1

This is how nerdy I am:

Back in 2012, I typed the words “Rackmount” and “NES” into Google’s search bar and sparked an obsession that I still haven’t recovered from. And that’s a terrible tragedy considering what I learned today.

The search results delivered something called “Ninstrument,” a slab of music-making brilliance that incorporated the sound chips from two Gameboys, a Nintendo Entertainment System, and a Commodore 64. To non-chiptuners, this may sound silly, but it’s a professional piece of hardware that can even be mounted on the rails found in any professional studio or touring rig.

For chiptune musicians, it was the perfect piece of equipment.

Every so often, I would point my browser at Ninstrument’s website to get an update on the project, but news has been a little sparse since 2012. So this week, I decided to get some real answers, but now I’m a little sad.

According to Ninstrument’s Chris Blarsky, the device started to become too costly, and the company had to focus on other endeavors.

“We have fun making a lot of prototypes,” Blarsky said. “If they garner enough interest we move forward in to small and trial production runs. Sometimes we have to take a long hard look at the numbers and realize when a product will be too cost prohibitive to make. Such is the case with the rack mount prototypes. Too much cost makes the end price too high for the end customer.”

Bummer, right?

But I completely understand. Chiptunes have been experiencing a surge in popularity, but they’re still a niche. In fact, during our email exchange, Blarsky referred to the chip genre as a “niche within a niche.” And even that seems generous.

“In order to sustain a company you have to focus on making sure ends meet,” he explained. “No it’s not fun and takes away from your overall motivation, but if you manage it correctly it can be a lot of fun.“

And Nintstrument has been having fun. Blarsky’s team of brainiacs has already rolled out a surprising number of unique devices, and there are probably more in the works. I may never get that gorgeous piece of rackmounted ingenuity, but Nintstrument is soldiering on, creating things that any chiptuner would trade his kidneys for.

I should probably just start obsessing about one of those, but today’s news only makes me want a rackmountable Ninstrument even more.

Watch GeekParty’s Newly Minted Game Show Right Now!

Today, GeekParty lost its live-streaming virginity with a brand new game show on Twitch. If you missed the festivities, I have some good news; we used some magical video-recording technologies to capture the entire show. So, you can watch it at your leisure.

If you’re on the fence about pressing the play button, here’s a list of things you can expect from this episode:

  • Waiting for people to join
  • Some stellar hosting by our man, Tyler Workman.
  • Clicking Keyboards.
  • An embarrassing lack of Baconator jokes.
  • A strange obsession with Canada.
  • Racism, obviously, since the internet is filled with truly terrible people.

Check it out:

Watch live video from geekpartylive on www.twitch.tv

Tyler’s game show will happen every Sunday. Follow us on Twitch to catch the next episode, along with a handful of other streaming goodies.