Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Video game textmode art part 19: Konami's Final Fantasy report

Obligatory post-irrelevant leading image: Settled! OK, you've now seen bibs and bobs of Final Fantasy-alia represented in this "textmode video game art" blog series, but nothing to really demonstrate what a juggernaut the franchise was in the late '90s. Here Konami (not the beleaguered company but the nickname of an artist who we've seen grandstanding before in an undirected virtuosic fashion) really fills in the blanks nearly singlehandedly. A couple of other artists add some drag factor, but I can't get away with imposing both artist and subject themes on these blog posts, so something's gotta give. We'll begin with a Final Fantasy 8 piece in Big 5 (what I described earlier as "Chinese Unicode"):
Small, but in a sense the triangles help to provide greater detail than an analogous screen of plain 80x25 ANSI would yield. Here are a couple Big 5 takes on menu artwork on a Final Fantasy 11 theme:
(And more, but different! Bump the Roman numeral, make all the letters slightly wider...)
Warmed up, yet? Just helping you to calibrate. here's a Bomb (it's a kind of enemy first appearing in FF2) by Scarecrow of VOR:
All right, you've adjusted your v-hold and buckled yourself down? Now let's switch into overdrive and get this show on the road!
OK, it's an original depiction of Terra Branford (totally notable!) from Final Fantasy VI!

And here's an original group shot of Cloud Strife & Sephiroth from that classic FF VII:

Another original take on a popular subject, it's Cloud Strife again:
Next, a curious original arrangement here, no doubt following one too many late nights playing Final Fantasy IV: "Cecil as both Paladin and Dark Knight":
Here's another original take on Cecil from the same game: the quote is directly sourced from the game.
An original depiction of Kefka from FFVI really putting negative space to good use:
Here we have a group piece, an original staging of Ramza and Agrias from Final Fantasy Tactics:
And while we're visiting that game, another original take on another character from that version of the franchise, one of FF's many, many Cids:
Here we get another original piece, Kururu from FFV.
Those were good pieces of monochrome art, but here in full colour ASCII is Auron from Final Fantasy X -- an image Konami describes as "pretty much taken from his official art". (But with more dollar signs, we can safely assume!)
Now an original presentation of a Jester class Moogle from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance:
And here, we get an original depiction of Rinoa from FF8:
The $ character for "filler" is only medium-intensity; the happy-face covers many more pixels, and makes for a brighter, more high-intensity pic that practically pops right off of the page! Here we get more FF7, now featuring Cait Sith! Everything is awesome!
For the last of these, Cyan (the character Cyan Garamonde, what do you think this is, the CGA fanart hour? No, that's magenta!) from FFVI:
Now we switch gears into full-bore ANSI art! (Funny to think that I really could have still further subdivided this uber-niche specialty post, "Final Fantasy textmode fan art by Konami", into different posts for representation of different styles. But no, I'm powering on through!) In a sense, we start actually losing detail with this less-abstract (or at least differently-abstracted) visual idiom. ASCII is an odd duck format to be sure, but it gives such splendid options for textures! So you don't get thrown too much, here's Cyan again:
This is an original design for Ultima The High Seraph from Final Fantasy Tactics:
And here, Squall from FF8. (Note from the artist: "I kinda hate that ANSI.")
Now there's an original take on Witch Edea, also from FF8 (I'm sensing bias toward certain games in the series... ones that were current when Konami drew these pictures, or ones that lend themselves unusually well to a textmode adaptation? My running theory is: the former.)
Following right up with an original design showing Locke from FFVI:
Here we have two original takes on Terra who you also saw in Konami's first piece in this blog posting:
An original toony group piece here, portraying all the characters in FFVI's final party:
An original design for Relm in FFVI:
Update: here are three that slipped the cracks! Without further ado... Golbez from Final Fantasy IV:
A tableau of some of the character classes from the first Final Fantasy game:
And here, Celes from Final Fantasy VI:
We now return you to your initially scheduled post in progress...

And here again, the stylish man it's impossible to escape in fanart circles, an original presentation of Cloud Strife:

And one MORE time, with a bit more detail:
And... further drilling in the exception that proves the rule (I know, why cap off the "Konami draws characters from Final Fantasy" post with art by different artists? I'm just a contrarian I suppose...), a big joint you can use to compare and contrast with that last one:
Phew, what an epic spree! That's not the last you'll see of Konami (you wouldn't believe just how much textmode video game art he's got up his sleeves!) but that probably is a fond farewell to the Final Fantasy games (especially numbers 6, 7 and 8). See you again soon, blockheads!