Famous movies as 80s/90s games!

PIXELFEST!

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ve already realized that I really like pixel art, be it highlighting The King of Fighters XII’s modern approach, or giving some tips for creating cool animations. However, pixel art can also be used for reimagining current games in a much simpler form, as Junkboy does, who even includes some gameplay alternatives in his work.

This time I introduce you to Aled Lewis, who uses this retro style to portray some famous movies as famous 80s/90s games:

Thelma and Louise (1991) as Out Run (1986)

Thelma and Louise (1991) as Out Run (1986)

Rocky IV (1985) as Punch-Out!! (1987)

Rocky IV (1985) as Punch-Out!! (1987)

Forrest Gump (1994) as Tecmo Super Bowl (1991)

Forrest Gump (1994) as Tecmo Super Bowl (1991)

Back to the Future (1985) as Streets of Rage (1991)

Back to the Future (1985) as Streets of Rage (1991)

Groundhog Day (1993) as Streets of Rage (1991)

Groundhog Day (1993) as Streets of Rage (1991)

Hot Fuzz (2007) as Streets of Rage (1991)

Hot Fuzz (2007) as Streets of Rage (1991)

Battle Royale (2000) as Bishōjo Senshi Sailormoon S (1994)

Battle Royale (2000) as Bishōjo Senshi Sailormoon S (1994)

You can purchase Aled Lewis’ artwork at his online shop and at the Such Pixels exhibition, open until March 1 at the Gallery 1988 West (Los Angeles).

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Modern games in 8 and 16-bit

Although modern games can offer striking visuals, vast worlds, epic multiplayer battles and creative gameplay possibilities, the 8 and 16-bit eras defined genres, styles and mechanics, appealing to creativity to overcome technological challenges. And they had pixel art, of course.

Although some games are taking a fresh approach to emulate that look, they are a minority. Fortunately, the Stockholm-based illustrator Junkboy has been hypothesizing for some time how contemporary games would have looked in the golden retro age.

The great thing about Junkboy’s creations (besides his obvious artistic skills) is that he takes his idea one step further: instead of replicating the original game in retro style, he delivers a complete reimagination, including a gameplay change when necessary.

Below are some examples.

Uncharted 3 - 2011

Uncharted 3 (2011)

Mirror's Edge - 2007

Mirror’s Edge (2007)

Dead Space (2008)

Dead Space (2008)

Red Dead Redemption - 2010

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Resident Evil 5 (2009)

Resident Evil 5 (2009)

Super Smash Brawl (2008)

Super Smash Brawl (2008)

Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

Bioshock (2007)

Bioshock (2007)

Bayonetta (2009)

Bayonetta (2009)

You can see Junkboy’s work here (via Geekoeye)

Metal Gear Solid’s visual evolution in 1 image

Yesterday, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima twitted a picture that shows how the franchise has evolved graphically between Metal Gear Solid in 1998 and the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V (in March).

1998 – 2014

Although the shown characters aren’t exactly the same, they do share DNA (fans will understand), so it’s a fair example.

Source: Hideo Kojima

Lara Croft’s many faces

Lara Croft's faces

With 18 years and 10 Tomb Raider installments on her shoulders, Lara Croft remains as the queen of gaming. As a matter of fact, in 2010 she was distinguished by Guinness World Records as the most recognisable female character in a video game (in your face, Chun-Li!).

Lara, an eternal sex symbol, has gone through many redesigns along the years, improving her polygon count with each incarnation. (the ponytail is still there, though). The team from HalloweenCostumes.com have made an amazing work detailing her looks in every game, adding a clever comparison between the in-game and the promotional models.

Tomb-Raider-Infographic

Source: HalloweenCostumes.com

5 tips for making great 2D animations

Pixel art is surely charming, especially for the nostalgic effect. However, new techniques and tools have also helped to cause a new blossom of gorgeous sprite-based games during the last years, as I showed you a couple of days ago with The King of Fighters XII.

Another fine example is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game (2010), based on the Scott Pilgrim comic books and developed to tie in with the release of the film of the same name.

Paul Robertson and Jonathan Kim, 2 of the skilled animators behind the game’s appealing visuals, have put together a list of 5 tips for making great 2D animations.

1. Push it to the limit.

I always imagine other people’s reaction when they look at something I’ve done, and if it seems underwhelming I’ll push it further or add more to it till I think it’s good enough. Actually this works for any art, not just pixels. (Robertson)

2. Make everything bouncy and feel alive.

You have to animate] things like hair and clothes blowing in the wind or swaying around while they move, giving them exaggerated facial expressions, cute or funny idle animations, anything that makes them feel like they have a personality. (Robertson)

3. Create strong key frames and silhouettes.

You have to be careful about the negative space. Make sure everything reads from just looking at it against a white background. You don’t want an arm to be inside the torso area, and you can’t tell what’s going on. (Kim)

4. Try to limit your frames.

The first purpose it has to serve is for gameplay, and then afterwards to make it as good-looking as possible. (Kim)

5. Don’t fret too much over the craft.

People can be all like, ‘Hey, that’s too many colors for what kind of effect you’re trying to do.’ And it’s like, ‘No, you guys are caring too much about particular details instead of looking at the whole picture or what the image is trying to represent. (Kim)

You can find the full article, as well as some tips and advices from Robertson and Kim, here.

The King of Fighters’ beautiful return to pixel art

The King of Fighters (KOF, from now on) is one of the oldest fighting series in the industry, being KOF ’94 the first entry. Details aside, it consists of 3-on-3 team based fights, with characters coming from other SNK (its developer) games.

The King of Fighters ’94

Many new editions followed that one, turning the franchise into a hit. Visually, most of them shared a similar 2D approach, until KOF: Maximum Impact came out in 2004, 10 years after the series debut, featuring 3D graphics for the first time.

The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact (2004)

However, in 2009 (15 years after the first game), KOF XII was released, going back to the 2D style, only in an incredibly detailed way. In an era ruled by 3D, its team decided to create industry-defining pixel art.

The King of Fighters XII (2009)

Let’s appreciate it in motion:

You should check the team’s motivations here, and a step-by-step tour here. You can even see each character with its own animations. Believe me, they are really worthwhile.

Source: King of Fighters