Retro Complex - Sunnexo ♪

Retro Complex

Thinking out of the box in the limitations of a box.

Bandcamp release includes the LSDJ sav/project file!

Thanks to Avolicis for creating the artwork!
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Retro Complex - Dev Talk

This is a track about thinking out of the box while inside the limitations of a box. It’s my first attempt at making a song using only a Nintendo Gameboy.


This song is heavily inspired by vocaloid and anime openings, the most important influence being “Bocchi The Rock!” . It’s an amazingly creative show about a socially anxious guitarist who dreams of playing in a band, which I can heavily relate to!

I used “Little Sound DJ” for the Gameboy to make the entire thing, it’s a surprisingly capable music tool despite it being on such old and limited hardware. Now that I’ve modded my Gameboy with a better screen and sound quality I’m able to use LSDJ to it’s fullest extent! Playing with LSDJ is a lot of fun and you can get cool sounds from it with enough experimentation. The portability of a Gameboy made it incredibly easy to write music wherever I went. At some point I even brought it to my work office when I got bored...


I’ve used FL Studio well over 6 years by now and I’ve gotten used to the almost infinite things you can do with it. You could make a project with a hundred instruments and FL would still work fine. That however made learning LSDJ quite a challenge, because it seemed like there was barely anything to work with! LSDJ only offers 4 sound channels and a tight memory limit. Whenever I made a new section in the song I would fear that I’d run out of memory before the song even ended! Guess it’s safe to say I’ve developed a retro complex...

I want to thank @pouale and @defmech for giving feedback on the track, pointing out things I never would’ve found on my own! Please check them out, they’re Gameboy wizards.


written by @avolicis

Sunnexo provided me with an inspiration page to help communicate what kind of art they wanted. After a bit of back and forth we settled on a themed recreation of their room in an isometric style. This was the first time I've made isometric art, so it was pretty interesting learning about its process compared to flat or perspective art.

(^ Sunnexo’s reference pictures ^)

Circular shapes in particular were kind of a pain. The lack of perspective meant I kept making things the wrong size - the small scope of the art helped, though I still had to adjust things a lot, as you can see in the progress timelapse below. We limited animation to simple movements or colour changes because of the isometric style, too. We also decided on a more-or-less set palette instead of free colouring like for previous art I'd made for them.

This, thankfully, I have experience with. I enjoy working with limited palettes as it forces novel uses of colour; however, I am by no means an expert at it! I still had to make tweaks here and there, especially with the relatively (retro) complex features of the scene. Speaking of features, If you've seen the DESYNC art, you might recognize the "glitch tiles" in the window, as I basically lifted them directly from the DESYNC cover. I have a feeling they will be a recurring theme! There might be a few other things you recognize... let's call them easter eggs!

Overall we're pretty satisfied with how the cover turned out, and hope you like it too!

Artwork progress timelapse

22/04/2023 - 13/05/2023

art by @avolicis

Bandcamp release includes the LSDJ sav/project file!