Tag: eb games expo

Interview: RUBIJAQ

This weekend is a huge one for gamers, as EB GAMES EXPO debuts on the Gold Coast. A celebration of all things gaming, the Expo will feature exhibitions from all the big names in gaming.

But it’s not all just about big names: POCKET MUSIC, Brisbane’s independent chip music collective, will be representing on the Saturday evening with a showcase of the finest home-made chiptune Brisbane has to offer. We caught up with RUBIJAQ, one of the artists performing at the Expo.


What do you feel is the appeal of chipmusic to audiences?

I believe chip music appeals to audiences predominantly from the novelty of using old computers and/or video game hardware to create music. There’s also a nostalgic element too, since the sounds are naturally reminiscent of that generation of electronics. This is depending on the type of audience though. I think ‘true’ chip music in the sense of only producing music with a single piece of hardware, for example a Game Boy, is still very niche as both a method of music creation and therefore not very well known amongst the ‘mainstream’ audience.

Novelty and nostalgia aside, however, chip music can be also appealing in respect to the technical aspects of its creation. For example, physical hardware hacking or circuit bending, technical limitations (in terms of limited channels/sounds that can be produced) and even ‘instrument’ creation. Generally speaking, I believe a wider audience of people are gradually becoming aware of it which is good to see and hopefully overtime will develop into a more embraced type of music.

Can you describe how you create your music?

I create my music on an original Nintendo Game Boy with a four-track tracker named Little Sound DJ (LSDJ for short) which was written/programmed by Johan Kotlinkski, who lives in Sweden. LSDJ is arguably the most utilized and user-friendly way to make chip music, and is all I have been using since I started.

The Game Boy has an on-board 4-bit sound chip which correspond to the 4 channels in LSDJ; two simultaneous square wave generators, a wave sample channel and a noise generator To explain what trackers are briefly, they are a type of music sequencer which allows a user to arrange pre-written notes and samples in a linear timeline. If you’ve ever used a sequencing program such as Reason, Logic or ProTools, you would probably grasp the concept of a tracker quite easily.

What are your thoughts on the Brisbane chip community?

Since I became aware of global chip scene, I had began to start frequenting all the online communities. It was through those that I found out that Dot.AY (Alex Yabsley) was also from Brisbane. At that point I hadn’t started writing chip music, but expressed my interest to him. I believe the Pocket Music shows started very soon (or just before) I had found out about Alex, so I decided to start attending them when I could. Sometime later, I began to actively participate in the scene/community here in Brisbane, which at the time consisted of very people. Since then I’ve become a regular performer at Pocket Music, and we’ve slowly expanded into a somewhat larger group of chip musicians and have made a lot of new friends in other beats and electronic scenes here in Brisbane.

It’s always exciting to hear about people in Brisbane who are interested in producing chip music because it’s a bit of a rare occurrence (but is more often than it used to be). For me I think it’s interesting to see what kind of creative direction newcomers take their music. One of our newest acts, Finagrin, combines chip music with trombone. I’m yet to see him perform live, but I’m excited!

How do people who have never been exposed to chip music before respond to your live shows?

A lot of the time the response has been positive. Whether or not people actually enjoy my music I think depends on their particular taste, because I don’t define my music as the standard “blips and bloops” that chip music is often associated with, though people usually do enjoy it. I think people are often awe struck and surprised when they realise that the music is coming from a Game Boy, though, and that often plays into the positive response I usually get.

What is your gaming background? How do your gaming habits and your song writing intersect?

I think the SNES was the first console I owned. I believe Yoshi’s Island 2 is one of my most favourite games of all time. Although overtime I grew weary of consoles (I’ve never owned a ‘next-gen’ console), and moved predominantly into PC gaming. I became a huge MMO freak and hopped across a lot of different games, but stuck with Guild Wars and a Korean MMO by the name of Dark Eden, which is an isometric vampire vs. humans game. I’m also a large fan of open world, fantasy RPG and games that will make you jump. At the moment I’ve just got my hands on Borderlands which I’m having fun with, although it’s hard to find time to play.

My gaming habits don’t overly intersect with my song writing, although I’m starting to write songs around particular themes which I think are being influenced heavily by games in both their themes as well as visual aesthetic. I’ve previously written theme songs to characters of a what-was-to-be web comic which was going to be written and illustrated by a friend of mine.

Currently I’m working on creating a game entitled ‘To Survive A Madman’ for my final project at Qantm College. It’s a first-person puzzle game whereby the player can use a gun called ‘The Device’ to magnetise, demagnetise and change the magnetic polarity of blocks. It’s hard to explain the mechanics without visuals, so I’m not going to try. If you’re interested, like ‘To Survive A Madman’ on Facebook or bookmark www.teamglowbug.com for further updates.

What unique challenges do you face as a chip musician?

Particularly with LSDJ, I face the challenge of hardware limitations which is also part of the fun of tracking on a Game Boy. As I explained earlier, it only has 4 channels which mean you have to be somewhat tricky about how you write the music; giving the illusion that you are making more sounds than what is possible is one of the fun things about it. As well as the 4 channels, the amount of sounds that can be synthesized from within a Game Boy is limited in some sense, but by using different commands and internal effects, you can create a wide array of interesting instruments.

Best places on the net to get chip music, as well as local chip recommendations:

The two largest online communities are chipmusic.org and 8bc.org (8bitcollective). Chipmusic.org centres more around a message board, whereas 8bc is more user-created content where people can upload songs they’ve created. I would suggest 8bitpeoples.com as probably the best go-to place for free and easily downloadable chip music.

In terms of Brisbane recommendations, definitely check out Dot.AY (dot-ay.com) and Slato (soundcloud.com/slato). Australia wise, I personally recommend cTrix, godinpants, Ten Thousand Free Men and Their Families, Abortifacient, Vicious Cyclist and little-scale.

RUBIJAQ performs at 4PM this Saturday at the EB GAMES EXPO.


ZEDGAMES – Episode 66 [Playlist]

ZEDGAMES – Episode 66
11 May 2011

Presented by DJ LAME & RAZOR

This week: DJ Lame and Razor presented commentary on the week’s gaming news.

1. BITMUCH – Rastafari Anthem
2. MARTIN LEUNG – Tetris (Live)
3. RUBIJAQ – Dust
4. ADRIAN HOLOVATY – Mario 2 Theme Gypsy Jazz Style
5. JIMMY WONG – Mario Theme Acapella
6. GROUNDISLAVA – Planetary Destroyer
7. AFRICA HI-TECH – Gangslap

Sony are now blaming hacker organisation Anonymous for the PSN breach which compromised the personal details of nearly 80 million users. Sony claim that files that were left deliberately on the server as a calling card contain the message “We Are Legion” which is Anonymous’s slogan. This comes after members of Anonymous denied involvement in the breach, which is the biggest intrusion of private information in history.

Capcom’s senior vice president has written on the company’s forums that the PSN outage has cost the company hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Sony have announced that the majority of services will be back online from 31 May. Thet are implementing a Welcome Back program to compensate PSN users for the lost time which includes a month of Playstation Plus, PSN’s premium service, as well as other free content. Existing Playstation Plus customers will receive further benefits.

An MMO based on the Marvel universe has been announced for release sometime this year. The game is based on the animated Super hero Squad license and will allow players to play as their favourite Marvel Heroes. At this stage the game is called Super Hero Squad Online and it is reported that there will be no monthly subscription fee.

Valve have implemented a video replay feature into Team Fortress 2. Players can now save replays of their previous life and view the action from any angle, including POV’s of everyone on the server. The content is also fully editable. Creative TF2 players are encouraged to enter the SAXXY AWARDS, which are open until the 19th of May and features categories like “Most Inventive Kill”, “Most Pwnage” and “Best Cinematography”.

The next installment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise is called Revelations and scheduled for release this November. Ezio will return for the final time, though rather than being set in renaissance Italy, the adventure is shifting to the Middle Eastern setting of the original game. Gameplay trailers are expected at this years E3.

Mass Effect 3, previously scheduled for release late this year, has been pushed back to Quarter 1 2012.

Brink, a game best described as a hybrid of Mirror’s Edge and Team Fortress 2, launches tomorrow. For those who are eager to try out the game early, The Mana Bar is hosting a preview event tonight until midnight.

It’s been reported that the Australian release of The Witcher 2 has been edited to fall under the MA15+ rating. The edited content has to do with a scene in which the player is granted the option to accept sex as a reward. This option has been removed from the Australian version. The Witcher 2 is scheduled for release on 17 May.

Blizzard has dropped a hint that public Beta testing for DIABLO 3 will begin in Quarter 3 this
year. At this stage we don’t have a release date, but this news makes an early 2012 release seem likely.

Bungie, developers of the popular HALO franchise have stated that they will not be presenting material at E3 this year. This years conference is happening from the 7-9 of June, with Nintendo hoping to steal the show by showing off its next generation console.

EB Games have announced that they will be presenting a new annual games expo to be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre. EB Games Expo, will be held this year on October 15 and 16 and feature presentations from EA and Ubisoft with more likely to be confirmed. The event is open to the public and tickets start at 29.95, with VIP passes also available for 99.95.

Blizzard have announced that World of Warcraft subscriber numbers have dipped to a mere 11.4 million. This is down from its peak of 12 million at around the release of the Cataclysm expansion. Blizzard executives are planning on speeding up content delivery to regain market share.

Valve have released the beta version of Portal 2’s authoring tools, allowing users to create their own levels and puzzles. Check the official Portal 2 site for more info: thinkwithportals.com