Happy Accidents

Simon Cottee’s A Brief History of the Modern Pixel is the latest entry in an ongoing discussion in videogame circles about the power of the simplified aesthetic of early lo-res games. I get roped in as usual in connection to cartoon art and the points I make about universality in Chapter Two of UC, but it’s a very game-native presentation with some interesting points.

Comics and games both have some sorting to do when it comes to old technologies. Some of the old technical limitations have genuine aesthetic advantages and are worth hanging onto long after they’re no longer necessary. But mixed in with those happy accidents are other artifacts bathed in nostalgia and fetishizing that sometimes makes it hard to tell the useful from the merely warm and fuzzy.

Cottee obviously wants to help with that sorting so more power to him.

[link via boingboing via fpinternational]

Discussion (7)¬

  1. John says:

    That reminds me about another one of my projects that never left the ground…but was very cool to toy around with. AGI was meant for anyone who wants to create a game like Space Quest I or Kings Quest I. It was actually pretty decent and easy. I got as far as creating four rooms with nothing more than MS-Paint:

  2. Brett Harder says:

    Hmmmm…… I don’t know if anyone here is familiar with the independent animator Don Hertzfeldt (http://www.bitterfilms.com), but he is known for doing very unique stripped-down animated films using almost exclusively traditional materials. He draws everything by hand and then photographs each image with an antique camera. He is often asked what he thinks about the “war” between the traditional and digital techniques, and his reply is usually “Why does there have to be a competition in the first place?” I believe he is right. I feel we are living in a golden age for creators of all kinds. We have access to so many different art styles, mediums and philosophies that it seems rather foolish to limit ourselves to one thing or to only go with the “new”. I love reading webcomics, reading physical comics, drawing with a pen, drawing with a pen tablet, making animation on the computer and programming/creating games. I’m actually making a bastard child of a game right now based on a comic I wrote, using hand drawn graphics and synthesized on a computer. The amazing thing about living in this time period is that I have the opportunity to do all of these things! Nothing is competing, and the new and the old can peacefully co-exist. Great video!

  3. Sandra says:

    It’s related to the points against 90s style “Extreme” comic layouts; harder to follow and harder to read.
    I like retro games because I can clearly see what is going on and I don’t get motion sick.

  4. I liked very much your work.
    I´m an architect and designer that starting to work with ilustration and comics (www.cristianochaui.blogspot.com). You can give your opinion of my draws?

  5. Simon Cottee says:

    Haha! A fellow animation student just linked me to this! Which in turn has gotten all my friends jealous. Cheers for looking at this Scott. I myself am more interested in traditional 2D animation and find the pixel style a strange but alluring offshoot.
    Pixel art is a strange area. Has anyone made any pixel comics that aren’t grotesque fan made final fantasy sprites?

    My animation tutors always end up roping you in for animation character design too.