Some older systems featured a simple beeper as their only sound output, as the original ZX Spectrum and IBM PC; despite this, many skilled programmers were able to produce unexpectedly rich music with this bare hardware, where the sound is fully generated by the system's CPU by direct control of the beeper.
In the late 1970s, the pioneering synthpop/electronic dance music group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) were using computers to produce synthesized music.Some of their early music, including their 1978 self-titled debut album, were sampling sounds from popular arcade games such as Space Invaders and Gun Fight. In addition to incorporating sounds from contemporary video games into their music, the band would later have a major influence on much of the video game and chiptune music produced during the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Sega's 1982 arcade game Super Locomotive, for example, featured a chiptune cover version of YMO's "Rydeen" (1979); several later computer games also covered the song, such as Trooper Truck (1983) by Rabbit Software as well as Daley Thompson's Decathlon (1984) and Stryker's Run (1986) arranged by Martin Galway.
In 2007, the entirely chiptune album 8-Bit Operators: The Music of Kraftwerk was released on major mainstream label Astralwerks/EMI Records, which included several prominent and noted chipmusicians, including Nanoloopcreator Oliver Wittchow, and LittleSoundDJcreator Johan Kotlinski who appears as the artist Role Model. Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter personally selected the tracks.A vinyl 12-inch single version was released on February 24, 2007 as a precursor to the full-length CD, and reached as high as number 17on the Billboard magazine Hot Dance Singles Sales Chart. In March 2007, the CD release reached as high as number 1 on the CMJ RPM (North American college Electronic) charts.Edinburgh-born electronic musician Unicorn Kid has helped further popularize chiptune, especially with the song "True Love Fantasy" and other songs from the EP "Tidal Rave" being played on late night radio, including on BBC Radio 1, where he played live on the Festive Festival 2011. In Canada, Eightcubed and Crystal Castles helped the popularity further via the Toronto underground club scene and created a lasting impression with the music video "Heart Invaders" debuting on MuchMusic in 2008and the single "Alice Practice" hitting 29th on NME "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".
The small amount of sample data made tracker chiptunes far more space-efficient than most other types of tracker music, which made them appealing to size-limited demoscene demos and crack intros. Tracker chiptunes have also been commonly used in other warez scene executables such as keygens.
The chip scene has become relevant thanks to "compos" being held, groups releasing music disks and with the cracktro/demo scene. New tracker tools are used for making chip sounds available to less techy musicians. The NES platform has the MidiNES, a cartridge that turns the system into a full blown hardware MIDI controlled synthesizer. Around 2007, the Mssiah was released for the Commodore 64, which is very similar to the MidiNES, but with greater parameter controls, sequencing, analog drum emulation, and limited sample playback. The Commodore PET has the open-source PetSynth software, which uses the PET's 6522 chip for sound, allows the computer to be played like a piano keyboard, and features many effects. On the DOS platform, Fast Tracker is one of the most famous chiptune makers because of the ability to create hand-drawn samples with the mouse. Chiptune artist Pixelh8 has also designed music software such as Music Techfor the Game Boy and the Pro Performerfor the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS which turn both machines into real time synthesizers.
Chip music has returned to 21st-century gaming, either in full-chip music style or using chip samples in the music. Popular games that feature chiptune elements in their soundtracks include Shovel Knight and Undertale. 2b1af7f3a8