Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thursday’

You would be hard pressed to not have noticed the return of hand-crafted pixel art to the world of gaming. Some of these have launched indy developers into mainstream success. Some big name developers are jumping on board as well. I can’t say I mind. I was always a huge fan of a well crafted sprite. I once designed a series of sprites for a (long since abandoned) RPG years ago. It brings back a welcome nostalgia as well as challenging artists to work within a much more limited palette. Here are a few examples over the last few years.

Minecraft (2009)-“Wait a minute” I hear you say. “This game is in 3D!” Well, yes. It is. But everything is built, primarily, of 3D pixels. I put this here because it helped modern, younger games get used to the aesthetic. For so long, games were “MORE BETTER FASTER” but along comes Minecraft with its charming low-def polygon cubes and it became about the gameplay. Not exactly on point, but a good starting point!

Mega Man 9 & 10 (2008/2010)-One of the kings of old-school games, Mega Man is looked on with nostalgia and reverence. They made many, many sequels as well as spinoffs, but sometimes you just can’t beat the old classics. So, Capcom, paying attention this once, went back and published a sequel years after the fact, going all the way back to Mega Man 1-6 for inspiration. The whole production screamed NES.  This was in large part to the success of downloadable legacy games on the consoles. The old master, Keiji Inafune, was back to his roots making the kind of games he wanted to again. Nostalgia was ramping up!

They Bleed Pixels (2012)-A strange combination of Super Meat Boy and Castlevania. Very retro looks with lightning fast gameplay. Not for the easily frustrated!

Retro City Rampage (2012)-This game started as a low def, NES version of Grand Theft Auto. It slowly took on a life of its own. Now, it is a nostalgia bomb with a look and feel reminiscent of the era without being completely hamstringed by the technology.

Hotline Miami (2012)-Less on homage and more an inspired by, Hotline Miami is a hyper-violent, top-down shooter in the vein of Smash TV, but amped up to splatter-flick levels. More colorful than most NES style games, but still having a similar look.

Thomas Was Alone (2012)-Talk about low-resolution! You play as several undefined boxes. Surprisingly deep with a very engaging narrative.

Shovel Knight (2014)-The current king of the retro pixel video game world. This one looks, sounds and feels like an old NES game despite being in high definition with none of the technical limitations of the era. Absolutely amazing that a new game from a new franchise (I have no doubt sequels are forthcoming!) could bring up such nostalgia. Definitely one to put on your list!

Boss Monster (2013)-Whats this then? Its not a video game. Its a card game! Featuring pixel art. Seriously. Highly recommend if you have a friend or two that like to sit and play games the old fashioned way while still feeling nostalgic about video games. Lots of fun and simple to grasp. In a stroke of brilliance, they are bringing things full circle with a video game adaptation over on Kickstarter. You can even buy the physical version as part of your pledge.

Obviously, this trend is fairly new, but doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Art can truly be at its best when given limitations. It forces the artist to consider things in a different way, giving rise to something truly special. What new games are you enjoying that use this throwback art style? Let us know in the comments!


“No body leaves this place wit’out singin’ da blues.” – Albert Collins

AIBS Singing da blues

Thor wasn’t always fighting the evil that men do. Once upon a time he went by the name Dawson and he fixed cars.

Not all geek movies were obviously aimed at our particular audience in the 1980’s. They often tried to carry a group of teenagers that would reflect a spectrum of social groups and appeal to a wide audience. Adventures in Babysitting is a teeny bopper, action adventure, comedy. There is an underlying nerdy streak to this movie and it was really one of the first movies to have a blatantly nerdy GIRL. Maybe it was before it’s time or maybe it was a sign that things were changing in society.

What’s Adventures in Babysitting about?

AIBS Poster

Chris is supposed to be on the date of dreams but her boyfriend cancels at the last-minute. Having nothing better to do, a babysitting job pops up and she decides to take it because she needs the distraction. Meanwhile her friend Brenda gets stranded at the bus terminal in the city with no money and a cast of scary characters threatening her safety. Begging for her life, Brenda convinces Chris to drive into the city, with Sara and her brother to pick her up. Just as they are about to leave, everything starts to go wrong when Brad’s douchey friend Darryl black mails his way into joining the trip. A series of missteps leads them on an improbable adventure and through life-or-death situations.

The cast meets interesting characters along the way such as The Hook Handed Man; The Car Thief; The Blues Man; Inner City Gangs and even Thor.

Why do I love this movie? Sara.

AIBS Group

Sara is a little girl who is obsessed with comics and especially Thor. She wears a Thor helmet, a red cape and carries a plastic Mjolnir. Her devotion to the character is unflappable. Even when she comes face to face with the cranky Dawson, at Dawson’s garage she bows to him. Tapping her hammer on the groundshe greets him as a God. Her zeal wins over Dawson and his goodside comes out when Sara offers him her Thor helmet. She is convinced that because he doesn’t have his helmet, he’s not acting like himself. That melts the heart of the super cranky, muscle bound Thor look-a-like.


Sara was so relatable when I was a kid. I was into comics. I was into dressing up and being weird. Branded a tom boy, no one really understood that instead of Barbie, I wanted to read the Outsiders and Amethyst Princess of Gem World. (Seriously bad ass comic btw.) I had friends that were into elves and fantasy but they were more of the Anne McCaffrey vein. We would sometimes play pretend. There was always an elf, a dragon born and me, A NINJA! This character, Sara,  wasn’t truely outrageous, wasn’t wearing thigh high boots and wasn’t wearing a liatard. I could related to this little girl, about my age, being super excited about nerdy things.

Other things I love about this movie include singing the blues. That scene always stuck with me. Part of that is because my Mother loves to quote it, often. Recently, I had her over to hang out with her and my Dad. We wound up watching it because she went through my Netflix. It was in my recently watched catagory.

The Lords of Hell, scene on the train is like watching the dialogue after a Michael Jackson video between the two gangs.

The Doctor in the hospital. This was a social statement. He was overworked, nonplussed, and clearly taking some of his own meds.

Secret geek moment, Chris’ scarf reminds me of Dr. Who. It’s not exactly Tom Baker worthy but reallyclose.

Adventures in Babysitting is in my “infinately rewatchable” catagory. Other movies include, Ghostbusters; Shaun of the Dead; HotFuzz and Galaxy Quest. I love this movie and own it on DVD. It’s currently on Netflix. Enjoy.

AIBS Promo


Secret bonus… this scene reminds me of Jellyfish Princess. They did release this movie in Japan. Maybe it had an influence on the manga author.

AIBS ThenHeKissedME

Chris singing “And Then He Kissed Me.”

Zukimi as a Princess

Zukimi as a Princess