Chris Burke, master Game Boy music impersario and ringleader of the 8bit collective, has a “talk show.” How different is it from “Late Night”? Let us count the ways.

This Spartan Life

First, there’s the setting. Guests have a tendency to get shot at — a lot. That’s the problem with hosting your talk shows on Xbox Live, in the middle of a Halo game. As it turns out, other online players didn’t immediately understand why a couple of characters would be hanging out apparently chatting. Result? They opened fire on the interview. No worries; the guest will respond.

And about the guests: geeks only need apply. The opening episode features filmmaker and arts advocate Peggy Ahwesh and radical digerati and interactive maniac Bob Stein. Bob Stein was the founder of The Voyager Company, whose ill-fated CD-ROM unit produced artsy interactive non-games by the likes of Morton Subotnik and Laurie Anderson. Ah, that takes me back . . . viva la 90s.

But never mind; the real story here is the Game Boy music from the ultra-talented 8bit collective. (Click the 8bit button on the This Spartan Life homepage to hear a full soundtrack.) If you think Game Boy, chiptune, or whatever the heck you’re supposed to call this genre can’t rock, think again. Glomag, Bit shifter, Nullsleep, and Bubblyfish will make you a believer. Add in the virtual Halo DJ (DJ Octobit) and the choreographed routines of the Solid Gold Elite Dancers, and that’s entertainment, kids. (Don’t miss tracks by Bubblyfish and Divag . . . actually, don’t miss any of the tracks.)

The show debuted in June to a gleeful, non-virtual audience in Brooklyn, bookending hours of awesome Game Boy music from 8bit played live. (Pre-sequenced? Think again — the music was just as rich, but definitely improvised, especially as one stubborn Game Boy kept crashing.) So far, just one episode; hopefully Chris will make more.

See also: Why the original Game Boy reigns supreme for music (all these players use original GBs) and . . .

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