CI Studios #16 & #18: Making Music with a Game Boy

16 March 2022 (Eventbrite link) and 26 April 2022 (Eventbrite link)

About this event

Chiptune is music created with the sound chips that were part of computers and computer games consoles in the 1980s and 1990s such as Commodore 64, Atari ST & Amiga, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Game Boy. Creating music with these chips is challenging due to technical limitations that can be difficult to work around. However, there are musicians today who are inspired by these limits and are choosing to create ‘inside the box’ with these restrictions.

In this informal and participatory session, musician Elif Yalvaç explained the history and appeal of chiptune and the aesthetic and creative value of limitations in chip music, before guiding participants through composing some chiptunes of their own.


Elif’s MA thesis “Creating Music ‘Inside the Box’: Do Chiptune’s Limitations Have Aesthetic and Creative Value?” The thesis includes more about the respondents Elif interviewed that were mentioned (including Arottenbit and Disasterpeace).

Here is a link to LSDJ, the tracker tool used in a Game Boy to create music. This website also has a full manual, but you can also use an emulator instead.

A documentary, Europe in 8-bits to learn more about the Chiptune scene (full and free to watch).

Rock band Anamanaguchi using a NES on stage

 Shoegaze-chiptune band The Depreciation Guild 

Game Boy Emulators The one we checked for demonstration purposes was

Chip music we listened to

Koji Kondo – Legend of Zelda Theme


Elif Yalvac 

Ryoji Ikeda Times Square Installation

About Elif Yalvaç

Born and raised in Turkey, Elif (née Hazal Elif Yalvaç) grew up surrounded by a wide range of music. Following her BA degree in Translation and Interpreting from Istanbul University, Elif earned her masters in Sonic Arts from Istanbul Technical University (MIAM).

She has presented compositions and performed in the UK and across Europe, most notably at Secret Garden Party (UK) in 2016, as well as throughout Nordic countries, particularly in Iceland. Her debut EP CloudScapes was self-released in July 2016, and her debut LP, L’appel du Vide, was released by UK label Curated Doom in November 2018. Her latest album Mountains Become Stepping Stones was released by the USA-based label NNA Tapes on December 4, 2020. The album received international acclaim, including reviews on the Guardian, The Wire, and All About Jazz.

Endorsed by Arts Council England, Elif Yalvaç is currently based in the UK with a Global Talent Visa.

Elif on Facebook

Elif on Instagram

Elif on Twitter