Brendan Becker, CEO of MAGFest, the Video Game Music Festival, Will Visit NJIT On Feb. 12

Brendan Becker, a music composer and CEO of MAGFest, the video game music festival, will visit NJIT.

Brendan Becker, a music composer and CEO of MAGFest, the video game music festival, will visit NJIT to talk about gaming and to teach students how to compose music for video games.

He’ll talk especially about chiptune, a musical genre composed on the computer chips of classic game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  

Becker’s talk is slated for Feb. 12, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Animation Lab, room 236H in Campbell Hall. It’s open to NJIT students. He'll discuss the fundamentals and history of chiptunes, and also run a workshop where students will use tracker software to write their own chiptunes. His visit is sponsored by the School of Art + Design, which, through its highly-ranked Digital Design Program, offers classes in video game sound and music as well as digital sound and music.

Becker is an accomplished composer of chiptunes. He has used classics such as Atari, Nintendo, and Commodore 64 to compose major soundtracks including the widely acclaimed game Super Smash Land. In 2012, he also composed Pretty Eight Machine, a Nine Inch Nails tribute album recognized by band member Trent Reznor.

Becker, whose musical tag name is Inverse Phase, says that NJIT students should get “ready to get nitty gritty with 8-bit systems from the 70's and 80's.”

Kunal Majmudar, an adjunct professor who teaches in the Digital Design Program, says that chiptunes has a retro, old school sound that’s popular today with gamers. And Becker is a master of the form, says Majmudar, who along with teaching at NJIT owns a boutique gaming company called SWDTech, based in NYC.

“Becker is a giant in the gaming world and MAGFest is a huge cultural phenomenon,” Majmudar says. “It’s cool and exciting that he’s coming to talk to our students. I can’t wait to see him.”

By Robert Florida