Anspiring 15-year-old games developer has won The National Museum of Computing’s BBC-Micro-inspired music challenge
Richard Hovsepyan took part in the museum’s Retro Sounds competition, which involved composing an original piece of music for a fictional computer game using Raspberry Pi.
He won first place for his clip inspired by Toby Fox’s Undertale Soundtrack and other pieces composed with a 2A03 synthesizer.
The competition formed part of a year of events by the museum celebrating the 40th anniversary of BBC Micro – the iconic computer that inspired young people and students to develop computing skills and helped contribute to the development of the British games industry.
Raspberry Pi was chosen because it shares the founding vision of the BBC Micro of encouraging core computer skills.
Entries to Retro Sounds – which ran during the summer – 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 composer David Housden.
Housden, whose compositions have featured in games for all major platforms, commented: “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 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.”
A passionate gamer and composer known online as Kachi, Richard’s goal is to pursue a career that channels both interests. “I’ve been gaming since the age of six on my Nintendo 3DS, and by now I could probably beat the first world of New Super Mario Bros with my eyes closed,” he said.
“Gaming has changed my life. It’s given me career options that I would never even have considered being a thing five years ago. I aspire to become a game developer for Valve or Jagex.”
Jacqui Garrad, museum director, said: “We’re passionate about inspiring people with the history of computing and are committed to spurring future development of computing through exciting and rewarding events and exhibitions. We’re thrilled to have realised this through Retro Sounds.
“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the entries to Retro Sounds and while each submission was excellent, Richard’s composition stood out due to its creativity and originality. Everyone at TNMOC is excited to see what Richard creates next and where his passion and talent takes him.”
Richard’s prize includes free entry to TNMOC and guided tour, a year’s access to the museum’s monthly Ambassador Kids program, a goodie bag of items from the museum shop and copy of Acorn – a World in Pixels that celebrates the visual games history of the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron.
Located on Bletchley Park as an independent museum, The National Museum of Computing brings to life the history and ongoing development of computing for the enjoyment and benefit of the general public and specialists.