88bit is the alter ego of Cleveland-based pianist, composer and recording artist, Rob Kovacs, where he performs virtuosic note-for-note piano arrangements of classic video game soundtracks mainly from the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Kovacs is one of the only pianists in the world to publicly perform some of these early game soundtracks, many of which have never been released outside of the games they’re in. By acoustically recreating early electronic music (music never intended to be performed by humans), Kovacs is stretching the limits of traditional classical piano playing and bringing video game music to audiences that might never have otherwise heard the music.
Kovacs first started recording and performing as 88bit since 2017 and has played at major events including GDC, the Game Audio Network Guild Awards, PAX, MAGFest, the Mensa National Gathering, NeoSonic Fest, Classic Game Fest and many others. He has performed music by and for legendary video game composers including David Wise (Donkey Kong Country) and Takashi Tateishi (Mega Man 2), whose respective series have sold millions of copies worldwide.
Outside of 88bit, Kovacs is an award-winning composer, pianist and recording artist. He is internationally recognized as the first person to perform a solo version of Steve Reich’s Piano Phase by playing both piano parts on two pianos simultaneously. Additionally, Kovacs has composed music for American Greetings’ e-cards and several award-winning short films. Currently, he is composing the score to the virtual reality game, STRAYLIGHT, set for release in July 2021.
Funding is provided by the Local 4 Music Fund, Leonard DiCosimo, president and the Music Performance Trust Fund.