Monday, 25 July 2016

Video Game Art on C64s part 4 - Tributes

Video game art on c64s
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5

It's often said (by lying liars) that "art is the lie that tells the truth", by which we mean that it doesn't hold up a straight mirror to a situation, but conveys a feeling or experience more effectively than a dry documentation would. In this case, what the art is supposed to make you experience (as with the often-deceptive box art of the earliest home video games) is the feeling of playing one of these games. In any case, they're not start screens and couldn't in most cases be interpreted as samples of enhanced gameplay... but many (but not all) of the games referenced here did appear on the Commodore 64 platform. So they wouldn't fit in any of my previous C64 galleries, and so I throw them in here!

Here you go: Veto presents a piece titled such that little is left up to the imagination: "25 Years of Yie Ar Kung-Fu." I suppose this is as it might have appeared today if it was developed for the PlayStation 4.
Univerz presents the human side of the Space Invaders struggle.
Carrion gives us a 3D take on Bub and Bob from Bubble Bobble.
And here, a proof-of-concept by Mase for an extruded-pixels 3D version (like the recent 3DNES emulator) of Bruce Lee entitled "Brixels Don't Hit Back".
Buggyboy gives us "Bunker Party", with an all-star cast of retro gaming characters (including Mario, Pac-man, Space Invaders, and OK, plenty I can't name) as might be enjoyed... in a generator-powered post-apocalyptic scenario in a bomb shelter? (Perhaps I am reading too much into "bunker"?)
Mase gives us something entirely different from his previous offering, with a montage of Capcom promotional imagery. I'm letting us down here with my failure to immediately place all the mascots present: I see Ryu from Street Fighter, what I presume to be Arthur in gold armour from Super Ghouls and Ghosts, and a whole bunch of "huh, who's that?"s. History is slanted against Capcom here, with most of its biggest franchises emerging more recently than the C64 era (supposing that such a thing ever really drew to a close!) with, presumably, the montage not anachronistically including characters who never appeared on that platform -- so no Ace Attorney, no Resident Evil, where's Mega Man, what does the character from 194x even look like, really? If you can help me fill in these blanks, please weigh in! (Konami, ironically a Capcom expert as you shall soon learn for yourselves, covers a few more of the gaps: "bottom left is the blue soldier from Forgotten Worlds AKA Lost Worlds in Japan. The large fellow on the right is Strider, as he appeared in the original Strider games.")
And now we get to try this again, Mase providing another montage, this one featuring characters from games by more standard C64 developer System 3. It's easy to pick out characters from International Karate and of course their breakout hit The Last Ninja, also I see the dude from Vendetta and also there is, ahem, Flimbo. The car is from Turbo Charge, but who is NY Jacket Man and where is one of the Puttys? Drawing those is basically free.
Mirage shows us a souped-up Donkey Kong well in hand with a boosted Mario against him, in a piece entitled "Donkey Kong 1LifePal".
Calamity serves us up another Donkey Kong, DK Country-era, in this piece entitled "Fascinating".
I don't know that this piece by FIL is in reference to a particular game or just to the idea that life goes on after a game is done, with this piece entitled "Game Complete" -- the hazard-filled walls and corridors opening up, revealing a horizon of limitless possiblity.
Poison gives us a video game cargo cult with "I Pixel", wherein a ninja, kung-fu dude, a Bubble Bobble knockoff and a cute koala labour to construct a blocky statue of Mario. I wonder what will happen when he is completed? Will he come to life, jumping across the landscape in search of giant mushrooms? (I've gotta say, he is looking pretty complete already from what we can see, perhaps they are now hunkering down to work on a Princess Toadstool he will need to endlessly rescue?)
Yazoo doesn't appear entirely sure why they drew this picture of Mario, but nonetheless it was polished up with some logos and released under the name "Some Retro Shit". The modern platformer genre in a nutshell?
Big User gives us a taste of life in Mega Turrican. Hm, I think that this is simply a horizontally flipped and somewhat squashed alternate take on the game's box art.
And for those of you who just can't get enough Turrican (I think that perhaps enough time has passed for anyone to get their fill, but I seem to be in the minority here), here is another tribute by RadiantX.
Plastique delivers us "Kiss Me To Arcade". I don't know which gag to drop, something about Ms. Pac-man or perhaps the observation that he hasn't any lips? Either which way, he appears to be wearing a look of some consternation on his minimalist face.
Yippee Kai Ai, little pardner, Mirage shows us a buckaroo baffled by a seemingly hopeless predicament Mr. Pac-Man's insatiable hunger for fruit has led her into.
When you just feel like throwing in the towel, don't resort to profanity -- do like JSL suggests, and just say "Pac it"! The scenario is both unmistakable and quite fresh, Pac-Man's mazes not typically reduced to crumbling ruins, and the ghosts are both more horrifying than usual -- with a hint of the hunter-occupied pig skins from Princess Mononoke -- and more numerous than we have been conditioned to expect. No wonder Pac-Man (who must be quite hungry, he's slimmed down quite a bit) is so puzzled he has a little question mark over his head. (Also: perhaps the first time I've ever seen Pac-Man's nostrils! An historical first here, folks.)
And here Bren provides us a late piece for my C64 PETSCII video game art file, another Pac-Man (well, the piece is called "Pac-Maniac") and its story is... pretty straightforward. It looks like it's the ghost issuing its sheet-soiling epithet, but as it is not currently blue, as soon as Pac makes imminent contact with it, he'll be down a life!
Ilesj shows us how it feels to play Outrun, an idealized "cruising down the highway for pleasure" simulation, with a distinct bent toward arcade-style horizontal raster line aesthetic. The image is a gestalt of a couple of different platforms' box art (including, of course, the C64's) and you can learn a great deal about the creation of this image by reading a blog post by the artist on the subject!
We're just lucky that the protagonist of Space Harrier didn't actually take up as much of the screen real estate as SIT demonstrates here, else it would have been impossible to see approaching enemies or dodge incoming projectiles, view blocked by the hero's heroic posterior. But it's a nice likeness! (Stephen Ian Thomson reports: "Not seen that space harrier piccy for forever. Thanks for adding it. Was never finished hence the empty background." And now you know!)
War is hell, and Mirage wants you to appreciate the predicament of the human gunner in Space Invader's mobile turret.
Assassin gets top points here for celebrating Day of the Tentacle here, Purple Tentacle busy chasing uber-nerd Bernard. In the background, a meteor lights up the night sky in homage to the sinister purple meteor motivating the plot of the game that launched both characters, Maniac Mansion.
JSL here demonstrates what it feels like to play Pitfall! Take New World jungle ruins, add one archaeologist, et voila!
And with just a couple of (pointy) extra ingredients added to the mix, you can upgrade your Pitfall! to Tomb Raider, as JSL has done here!
Stepping forward quite some ways here, we've got Tychus Findlay from Blizzard's StarCraft 2 chewing up some scenery (and, OK, a cigar) in this piece by Arcane entitled "Hell, it's about time".
Finally, we arrive at a tormented dancing rabbid from Ubisoft's Rayman games, drawn by Yazoo.

As a special closing treat, I've just discovered (after most of these files had hung around in limbo for a year and a half) the works of Gergely Kwayne64 Sinkó, whose bio reads: "The guy who makes pictures of C64 games that probably won't ever exist." And for his proof of concept, here's a whole suite of awesome illustrations for the nonexistent C64 port of Accolade's Star Control 2. Ilwrath, Zot-Fot-Piq, Earthling, Utwig, Thraddash, Melnorme, Vux, and a full-fledged screen mockup with Spathi. It's a thing of beauty!

And that's all for me for now! I'm using these as spacers between my ANSI art posts, and I only have one more installment of C64 art to go... a very special omnibus. Stay tuned!

Video game art on c64s
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5