Can Chiptune be scary?

Last night I found myself getting completely lost in the amazingly compelling, Lone Survivor by Jasper Byrne. If you consider yourself a fan of Horror games, I would strongly recommend you pick it up and play the shit out of it. I started playing Lone Survivor to try and gain some inspiration for my up and coming title, “Introvert/Nullify” which is, much like Lone Survivor a pixel art, horror game. One thing that struck me early on about LS, was how the sound made it genuinely terrifying… I mean, the visuals are great and everything but anytime I found myself freaking out, it was usually related to some disturbing crackling noise, or creepy wailing sirens coming through my headphones.


Well… It got me thinking about my own project. I had wanted to do all the audio in “Introvert/Nullify” completely in 8 Bit format, maybe have some ambient audio here and there, but predominantly use a Gameboy and LSDJ. Playing Lone Survivor, made me question whether that would work in a horror medium. It brought to light something I had never really considered before… “Can chiptune really be scary?” – I mean, I know it can be scary… I’ve heard some pretty cool, dark pieces of chiptune music, but can it remain consistently scary throughout the course of a game?

Lone Survivor’s ambient sound design is amazing and echoes the work of my hero, Akira Yamaoka. I’ve started to feel that losing that type of audio fidelity could be seriously detrimental, particularly for a genre that relies so much on sound design… but at the same time, part of me wonders if I’m just nuts… If anyone has any suggestions or examples, they can push me towards, I would love to hear them, because right now my decision for the audio is seriously leaning towards more digital audio, with hints of chiptune.

I would just like to say a huge congratulations to Jasper Byrne for creating such an amazing game and I will be posting my own take on the title, here on The Dev in the Red Hat, in the coming weeks.

Peace out.

About Paddy Badger

Former games developer at Open Emotion Studios/Time Machine Games. Film-Maker. Over a dozen shorts as writer/director including Cuppa, Retribution and An Beanshi. Director of indie cult success, The Three Don'ts - winner of over a dozen awards worldwide.

Posted on March 30, 2012, in Horror Games, Sound Design and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Have you tried outlast? It’s on Playstation 4. Very good game.

  1. Pingback: Superlicious | Superlevel

Leave a Reply to James Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: