The genre of chiptunes repurposes vintage computers and consoles — particularly the Nintendo Game Boy — to create music that can be as simple as an old game soundtrack or as complex as a tiny symphony. The Lo-Fi SES is sort of the opposite. It's an electronic musical instrument designed to feel like a stripped-down modern game controller and produce sounds that evoke the 8-bit music of yore. Face buttons produce sounds, the D-Pad records and plays back loops, the side bumpers adjust the effects, and a jack at the bottom sends audio out; six AAA batteries will get you 24 hours of playtime. You can slot extra accessory "cartridges" that will swap out sounds, act as effects pedals, or connect the SES to a computer ("USB: A Link to the Hack.")
The SES' creator promises that if you're so inclined, you can add your own sounds, change the software, or do basically anything an Arduino microcontroller can handle, as long as you have a USB cartridge (an extra $15 for Kickstarter backers, on top of the $65 controller.) He's also encouraging the kind of modifications that people make to Game Boys, like lights and custom cases. It's not really "pure" chiptunes, and the nostalgia is secondhand, but it's one of the cutest musical controllers out there. It's passed its $5,000 goal and sits at around $15,000, with over a month to go; if things go according to plan (which, granted, is far from a given on Kickstarter), the Lo-Fi SES will be shipping by December.