Tag Archives: neo-retro

On Pixel Art and Design Decisions

I got a comment from David that I’d like to highlight and address, because I believe it highlights a misconception folks have about pixel art and the style of my games. I’ll cut the comment for length, but try to retain the intent.

I’m a visual artist, so critiquing your visuals is all I feel arrogant enough to do. They were well executed and suited their purpose in “Bars of Black and White” and in Exploit (and in the “Majesty of Colors” they were exquisite), but in “Sugarcore” and “How to Raise a Dragon” they cause the games to suffer. In “How to Raise a Dragon”, the pixels are not a bad idea, but they are also sort of sloppy looking. They are used in lieu of more detailed graphics to avoid having to draw, right? They are probably better than the alternative, but the use of pixels should not become your crutch. Instead it should be used to artistic effect.

The art style in “Dragon” was definitely chosen for artistic effect, not to avoid making art. Continue reading On Pixel Art and Design Decisions

Games From a Parallel Dimension

Screenshot from Scenic

I love games that come from another world. Odin Sphere is a game from a world where 3D never caught on, and people kept making 2D games with more and more advanced hardware. The Fool’s Errand is a game from a parallel universe populated entirely by clumsy geniuses, with brains the size of cities but the tragic inability to play action-oriented games. And Scenic is a game from a dimension where people really loved Mode 7 for some reason. Allow me to elaborate.

Continue reading Games From a Parallel Dimension

The Neo-Retro Urge

If you play independent digital games, you’re surely familiar with the retro style. Even the scary mainstream publishers have put out titles like Megaman/Rockman 9. This neo-retro approach — I’m not sure if there’s a common name for it — has modern developers make new games that could theoretically run on old hardware. There are quite a few excellent neo-retro games out there, like La-Mulana, a tribute to the MSX, most of the entries in the TIGSource Bootleg Demakes competition, and a work-in-progress game I’ve been playing today, This game is Wizard.

I’m making a distinction here between neo-retro games and games that just use “retro” graphics. Pixel art like in Cave Story or lo-fi art like in Cactus’s games are purely artistic choices, and don’t necessarily represent a deliberate restriction of the game design like the neo-retro approach. That’s what it is, really: a restriction.

Continue reading The Neo-Retro Urge