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Chipzel color.jpg
Chipzel in November 2012
Background information
Birth nameNiamh Houston
Born (1991-09-23) 23 September 1991 (age 27)
Strabane, Northern Ireland
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer
InstrumentsGame Boy
Years active2009–present
LabelsBrave Wave Productions

Niamh Houston (born 23 September 1991), better known by her stage name Chipzel, is a musician from Northern Ireland. She is best known for making chiptune music, particularly with a Game Boy. She is also a video game music composer, and is known for the soundtracks of games such as Super Hexagon, Spectra, and Interstellaria.


Early life[edit]

Niamh Houston was born on 23 September 1991 in Strabane, Northern Ireland. When Houston was a child, her sister played several instruments and her father enjoyed Irish folk music.[citation needed]


Chipzel performing at Blip Festival in 2011

Around the year 2006, Houston began to discover chiptune artists such as Sabrepulse, inspiring her to start making her own music with Little Sound DJ on a Game Boy.[1] She continued to explore chip music, and in 2009, she published her first release, an EP titled Judgement Day.[2][3] She followed this in 2010 with her first album, Disconnected.[4]

In 2011, she performed at Blip Festival, a music event focused on chiptune. For live shows, Houston generally uses two Game Boys with tracker software connected to a DJ mixer.[5]

In February 2012, she published her second album, Phonetic Symphony.[6] Later that month, game developer Terry Cavanagh contacted Houston about using her music. Cavanagh was participating in Pirate Kart V, a game jam, and was making a game called Hexagon.[7] Houston liked Cavanagh's project, and thus allowed him to publish Hexagon with her track "Courtesy."[8]

Several months later, Cavanagh asked Houston to make tracks for his new game Super Hexagon, an extended recreation of the original Hexagon. She again accepted, and the resulting Super Hexagon EP was published in September 2012, featuring "Courtesy" from the original game, the track "Focus" from Phonetic Symphony, and a new track called "Otis".[9] Super Hexagon was very successful, receiving widespread praise for its design and music.[10][11] The game's success drew lots of attention to Houston's work, and sparked an interest in creating more music for video games.[12][13]

In October 2012, Houston published Fragments, a four-track EP which was released for free as "a massive thanks for all the support from Super Hexagon."[14]

In September 2013, Houston released her soundtrack for Spectra, a racing game published by Mastertronic Group that was released in early 2015.[15] Houston continued her trend of working on video game soundtracks, and worked over the following two years on the soundtrack for Interstellaria, a space-exploration and management game published by Chucklefish. The soundtrack and the game were both released on 17 July 2015.[16]

In August 2015, Chipzel performed as the opening act at Dare ProtoPlay.[17]


Video games[edit]

Other albums and EPs[edit]


  1. ^ Doody, Declan (1 November 2012). "Interview: Chipzel". The Arcade. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Release group 'Judgement Day' by Chipzel". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  3. ^ "chipzel comments on Does anyone know where I can find a full list of Chipzel's discography?". Reddit. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  4. ^ Chipzel (2 February 2010). "Disconnected". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  5. ^ Houston, Niamh (4 November 2014). "Music Made on Game Boys Is a Much Bigger Deal Than You'd Think". Vice. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  6. ^ Chipzel (11 February 2012). "Phonetic Symphony". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  7. ^ Cavanagh, Terry (26 February 2012). "Hexagon". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  8. ^ Robinson, Will (20 September 2012). "Interview with Chipzel". MuzikDizcovery. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  9. ^ Chipzel (6 September 2012). "Super Hexagon EP". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  10. ^ Smith, Graham (5 December 2012). "Super Hexagon review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  11. ^ Musser, Cody (19 September 2012). "Super Hexagon Review". IGN. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  12. ^ Richardson, Jason (3 March 2015). "Niamh Houston (Chipzel): "Listen to the blips and blops and fill in the gaps with your head."". Cyclic Defrost. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  13. ^ Loomis, Melissa (July 2015). "Chipzel Interview: Chiptune Musician Talks Video Game Music, Past & Present". Game Rant. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  14. ^ Chipzel (24 October 2012). "Fragments". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  15. ^ Nakamura, Darren (18 February 2015). "Race through ten Chipzel songs on a laser track in Spectra". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  16. ^ Chipzel (17 July 2015). "Interstellaria OST". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Dare ProtoPlay video games festival opens in Dundee". BBC. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Size DOES Matter on Android". Google Play. Channel Four Television Corporation. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  19. ^ Keiji Yamagishi [@MoreYamasan] (1 October 2014). "Finally, I can announce. I worked on the ADVENTURE TIME game for @WayForward, with @strotchy, @chipzel, @Monomirror" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]