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Chipzel in 2012
Background information
Birth nameNiamh Houston
Born (1991-09-23) 23 September 1991 (age 32)
Strabane, Northern Ireland
GenresChiptune, bitpop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, record producer
Instrument(s)Game Boy
Years active2009–present

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, Interstellaria, and Dicey Dungeons. Her music is also featured in other games such as Just Shapes and Beats and Spectra.


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.[1]


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] She followed this in 2010 with her first album, Disconnected.[3]

Chipzel performing at Blip Festival in 2011

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.[4]

In February 2012, she published her second album, Phonetic Symphony.[5] Later that month, game developer Terry Cavanagh contacted Houston about using her music.[citation needed] Cavanagh was participating in Pirate Kart V, a game jam, and was making a game called Hexagon.[6] Houston liked Cavanagh's project, and thus allowed him to publish Hexagon with her track "Courtesy."[7] 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".[8] Super Hexagon was very successful, receiving widespread praise for its design and music.[9][10] The game's success drew much attention to Houston's work, and sparked an interest in creating more music for video games.[11][12]

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."[13]

In September 2013, Houston released her album Spectra. Game developer Gateway Interactive approached Houston and proposed making a game based on the album. In early 2015 the game was released (also titled Spectra), a racing game published by Mastertronic Group.[14]

Houston has continued to work 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.[15]

In August 2015, Chipzel performed as the opening act at Dare ProtoPlay.[16]

Chipzel worked with Terry Cavanagh again in 2019, creating the music and sound effects for his new game, Dicey Dungeons.[17]

In May 2023, Houston became the host of the six-part BBC podcast 'Cheat Code: The Gaming and Tech Podcast' [18]



Other, featuring, remixed tracks[edit]

  • "Just Dance" (Lady Gaga Remix)
  • "Inspire Your Generation" (Preview)
  • "Immerse"
  • "Court-esy" (Chipzel VS Quad City DJ's)
  • “Secret Level” (w/ No Mana)


  1. ^ a b 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 (2 February 2010). "Disconnected". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  4. ^ Houston, Niamh (4 November 2014). "Music Made on Game Boys Is a Much Bigger Deal Than You'd Think". Vice. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  5. ^ Chipzel (11 February 2012). "Phonetic Symphony". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  6. ^ Cavanagh, Terry (26 February 2012). "Hexagon". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  7. ^ Robinson, Will (20 September 2012). "Interview with Chipzel". MuzikDizcovery. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  8. ^ Chipzel (6 September 2012). "Super Hexagon EP". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  9. ^ Smith, Graham (5 December 2012). "Super Hexagon review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  10. ^ Musser, Cody (19 September 2012). "Super Hexagon Review". IGN. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Loomis, Melissa (July 2015). "Chipzel Interview: Chiptune Musician Talks Video Game Music, Past & Present". Game Rant. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  13. ^ Chipzel (24 October 2012). "Fragments". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  14. ^ Nakamura, Darren (18 February 2015). "Race through ten Chipzel songs on a laser track in Spectra". Destructoid. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  15. ^ Chipzel (17 July 2015). "Interstellaria OST". Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Dare ProtoPlay video games festival opens in Dundee". BBC. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  17. ^ "The Chiptune Maestro".
  18. ^ "Cheat Code The Gaming and Tech Podcast".
  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.
  20. ^ "Size DOES Matter on Android". Google Play. Channel Four Television Corporation. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  21. ^ Hancock, Patrick (13 August 2019). "Review: Dicey Dungeons". Destructoid. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  22. ^ "WayForward Unleashes River City Girls Details". 3 July 2019.

External links[edit]