Saturday, November 8, 2014

Video game ANSI part 9: errata

OK, I got one game print ad post out of the way. Y'know what that means? It's time for another session of video game ANSI art appreciation! All right, let's get started:
I hate to mangle that Reset Survivor piece from a Blocktronics pack, but as slight as the eventual video game sprite reference was, I just couldn't pass up its splendidly demented start screen (which the author explains was a take on the Doom II configuration screen.) Now to shake things up, another song! I know that the video game soundtrack remix community is a massive thing which I have just barely scraped the edge of, and I probably won't get into it too extensively here just because blog posts are generally a terrible way to present audio. But this one is special -- another historic exclusive: it was made for Mistigris, my computer art group of the '90s (and just revived for an indefinite time as of this Hallowe'en!), in some vague plan for a game-themed artpack release that never happened. The pack-in-progress had an epic 10-minute-long video game theme megamix that was the subject of tragical data loss, but we still did have Onyx's Castlevania theme from the previous ANSI post and this -- for the first time ever, you can enjoy |<ing /|rthur revisiting the main theme from M.U.L.E. (Unless, as he has recently retroactively been caught doing from time to time, this was him stealing somebody else's sequencing and putting his name on it. But it sounds equally enjoyable and relevant either way!)

We have ... basically, a pile of further posts in this series to get out of the way. The more I delve into the what I thought would be minute pool of video-game themed ANSI artwork, the more I find -- for every post I make, further material is made available to me for two more posts. As the material on my workbench has expanded, I've had the luxury of hashing the pieces out into different themed categories, so you can enjoy comparing and contrasting different approaches to the same subject rather than the jarring and schizoid channel-flipping approach you've seen in previous posts. So this post is a pile of pieces made on rare or singular themes, whereas in the future we will be seeing more sprees on related topics.

Pokémon was a huge video game franchise -- at times singlehandedly floating parent company Nintendo through hard times -- though one under-represented in ANSI art, only emerging as it did in 1996, as this whole culture was in the process of winding down. Here are a few takes on the series' flagship mon(ster), Pikachu the electric squirrel:

Those first two are by Konami, an artist we've already seen in these pages and who will be playing a substantial role in this blog series very soon! And -- not that we'll ever be able to present a complete textmode Poképedia, but here's one more member of the evolving menagerie of hundreds and hundreds of fabulous creatures:
Changing streams, that was a nice Castle Crashers tribute from Blocktronics, and now here's a 67 (blocktronics initials, numeralized) take on another game by The Behemoth, "Alien Hominid".
A couple of stragglers from the Sam & Max love-in we recently shared: a .BIN (typically this just means an extra-wide ANSI), possibly ripped (produced through inauthentic means -- typically miscredited from another artist, or here supposedly machine-converted) -- but we can't argue with the results:
And I don't remember this incident from the Sam & Max game or the comics that inspired it -- could it have originated in their cartoon, perhaps?
Now for a brief change of pace - some "hirez", or high-resolution computer artwork. I found this piece from "Dominion", a logo stumping for Quake II, in my 16-year-old "unreleased computer art" directory and figured -- well, it was relevant to this blog, but some context would need to be provided in order to explain why it was remotely noteworthy at all. In the early days of computer art, people were creative but the tools were lousy -- many works of high-resolution artwork were basically made the same way ANSI is (but with square pixel ratios as in the 80x50 screen mode), with pixel art being plunked down one pixel at a time. (Then once the piece was done came the process of manual anti-aliasing!) When Photoshop came on the scene it was a game-changer, where suddenly your machine could do the heavy lifting and "try out" different variations on themes -- different fonts run through different filters -- as a kind of rapid prototyping. Except previously, where works might be prototyped in notebook sketch pads (as with graffiti artists), here the prototype would also be the finished product... a monkey could churn out dozens of such logos hourly, and the law of averages would ensure that at least a few of them would be worth looking at.

To those not privy to the brave new world -- not running the powerful programs or owning the formidable hardware needed to run them -- it could be difficult to differentiate between work produced through painstaking laborious effort and work produced by a couple of clicks. Then folks who had a hat trick of the skills, the infrastructure, AND sophisticated design sensibilities schooled us in separating the wheat from the chaff, and this sort of thing started to disappear from artpack collections:

We saw him once before -- it looks like here's another ANSI of British bionic secret agent Robocod, aka James Pond:
A surprisingly under-represented game canon here in ANSI-land is the Legend of Zelda. This work starts to address that, with a Link to the Past-era Master Sword by Scarecrow of VOR:
(I didn't notice at the time, but was elite warez group Razor 1911's logo always the Triforce from the Zelda games?)
Once more we have an Air Zonk to share with you, Hudson's futuristic take on caveman Bonk:
And here's something new, also from the ranks of Hudson heroes, a Bomberman:
Here are edited highlights of a much larger (1000-line) work, curated to fit the particular interests of this blog and its readers:
And some Pac-Man for kicks... first a logo:
Then a cartoonish Ms. Pac-Man in watOr's unique style from one of his Echo artpacks:
And before we go, here's one for a BBS named Pool of Darkness -- it's probably not artwork from the SSI AD&D game of the same name, but rather artwork themed after the name of the game, promoting a BBS named after the game. You can't have the art or the BBS (or its name!) without the game, through the game's clammy touch can't necessarily be felt or discerned in the actual content of the art. We saw this kind of thing going on before with Jed's ANSIs for the BBS "Final Fantasy", but I let them in ... because I'm a softie.