15-year-old chiptune composer wins Retro Sounds game soundtrack competition inspired by the BBC Micro home computer

BBC Micro
(Image credit: Future)

15-year-old Richard Hovsepyan has been announced as the winner of The National Museum of Computing’s Retro Sounds competition, which was launched to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the BBC Micro home computer.

Retro Sounds contestants were challenged to create an original piece of music for a fictional computer game using a Raspberry Pi, which could be seen as a spiritual successor to the BBC Micro in that it’s designed to encourage core computer skills.

Richard’s 30-second composition was inspired by Toby Fox’s soundtrack to the game Undertale, along with other music created using the 2A03 synthesizer that’s found in the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Entries to Retro Sounds were judged on their authenticity, original concepts and catchiness by two experts: Matthew Applegate, a British composer and founder of the Creative Computing Club, and BAFTA and Ivor Novello-nominated composer David Housden.

Discussing the winning soundtrack, Housden said: "Richard’s entry was a great composition. It’s well arranged with nice use of various sounds and textures and a strong melody. I was left wanting to hear more.”

Richard, meanwhile, discovered the competition through his parents and friends. “They encouraged me to give it a go, so I didn't really think much about it and sat down for a few hours to make a small draft,” he said.

“A few days later I had ended up with the finished product, and submitted it without any expectation to come even close to first place. Winning this competition means a lot to me, as it is a wonderful thing to be able to put on my personal statement for college applications.”

Richard says that he’s been playing video games since he was six years old and hopes to pursue a career as a games developer. You can listen to his winning entry here.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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