Friday, 25 November 2016

Video game appearances in recent artpacks, late 2016

Howdy! Long time no post, I know, I've been quite busy with a couple of projects -- which you'll be reading more about in today's post! I have more of our bread and butter, video game ANSI art, to share with you, but also high resolution fan artwork -- and even actual game assets and box art imagery -- to share with you. And all that... to a soundtrack of artpack-released video-game cover songs. Performed on accordion. Weren't expecting that, were you? These tunes are just a part of the oeuvre of Adam "An Historic" Matlock, and to fortify the 22nd-anniversary Mistigris artpack that we just released (just, as in, yesterday), I thought they would be a nice bouleversement -- culture originating from a digital source and then manifesting through traditional, analogue means. We skimmed a suite of tunes from classic late-'90s Square console JPGs and you can enjoy them all here in this post. This is, of course, Aerith's theme from Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation 1, released way back in 1997.

But I get ahead of myself. The name you're used to seeing here, especially when covering recent developments in textmode artwork, is that of Blocktronics, the ANSI art mega-group. They had a Hallowe'en release last month and it did not disappoint! By which I mean, it contained not just ANSI art, but some ANSI art on video game themes. Here, for instance, is a 3D Space Invader by Enzo:

And from a the dedicated scholar of the oldschool, VileR (who you may recall from last year's Mistigris artpack) made the leap upstairs to Blocktronics with this piece, celebrating the latest iteration of The MS-DOS Collection with a handful of oldschool imagery made ANSIfied: in the distant mountains, the tanks from Scorched Earth duel endlessly; on the outskirts of the city (indeed, The City From SimCity 2000) a Kong-like simian, last seen in GORILLAS.BAS for QBasic bundled with MS-DOS 5, perches on a rooftop... meanwhile, rampaging through the streets brandishing a floppy diskette is Murphy from Supaplex. But why settle for my description, when you could drink it in with your eyes?
OK, that's it for Blocktronics for the time being(, and I'll mark the transition with another An Historic accordion track, the introduction to the Super Nintendo's Secret of Evermore from 1995). But my artgroup Mistigris also enjoyed a Hallowe'en artpack release, MIST1016. It featured no fewer than two pieces of spooky seasonal art inspired by Konami's vampire-slaying series Castlevania -- the first an ANSI art / HD photography mash-up experiment by Whazzit (who released many further similar pieces, fascinating despite being sans video game references, in the above Blocktronics pack). Here in a real-world church, an ANSI art Simon Belmont confronts an ANSI art Dracula, while ANSI art bats perch overhead. Basically, it's amazing.
Simpler, but still a splendid marriage of message and presentation, xer0 shared with us this (ANSI-less) glitched-up remix of a screen from Castlevania II. The message is intended to convey to the player that something has gone horribly wrong, but to a player, nothing would communicate that message more starkly than gameplay glitching out!
Which brings us to this month's Mistigris artpack, (Now playing: An Historic - Locke's Theme, from Final Fantasy VI for the SNES, 1994) which not only contained references to video games, but an actual game: Glitch by Chris Godber, which you can play here. But there were other intriguing goodies contained therein... consider the following, from the prolific desk of Starstew: a turtle playing Yar's Revenge on an Atari 2600:
And then we served up another VileR celebration of The DOS Collection all our own -- by wishing a happy 35th birthday to the IBM PC by invoking the game it included, Bill Gates' DONKEY.BAS ... which he also celebrated by making a tiny textmode re-implementation of earlier this year!
Next we have another piece by xer0, a bit of sprite art superimposed on an unrelated animation, leaving us with the curious spectacle of Luigi from Super Mario Bros. 3 endlessly running at raccoon flight speed across the surface of a record spinning on a turntable. This is an unlikely juxtaposition, as records were already a historical curiosity by 1988, the year of SMB3's release, with cassette tapes by far the market leader for music sales at least until 1991, when they were surpassed by compact disks. (See there, you didn't expect to learn anything from reading this post, did you?) Hence the title of the piece, I suppose: "Luigi is an OR hipster."
Here's a curio I jumped at the chance to share with the world: the original line art by artist Mark Ericksen for the unreleased game Nuclear Rush, for the unreleased Sega VR platform. It being so very, doubly unreleased, no one ever got a chance to enjoy his hard work... but it is undoubtedly video game-related, and so despite the glaring absence of those chunky pixels I know you all love so much, here it is!
Finally, MIST1116 contained something I'd been angling after for over a year, actual in-game art assets from Imaginary Games' 2015 mobile CCG Afterland, which featured the music of the Creaking Planks. Players just saw these things as little icon thumbnails on an already-small mobile screen, but I'd been to their offices and seen the full-sized originals hanging in frames and knew that the players were missing out not ever to see Elin Jonsson's artwork at a reasonable size... or, as is the case, quite a bit larger than you'd ever want to see on your computer monitor! The first is "Forlorn", and the second "Paria":
All that said and done, let's leave off with one more tune, An Historic's rendition of The Red Wings, from Final Fantasy IV for the Super Nintendo in 1991. Hats off to the artists, and here's looking forward to more inspired art derived from the realm of video games!