Hello again and please accept my most humble apologies I’m afraid that I have been on holiday and, until fast, free internet access is available to me everywhere (as it ought to be) this usually proves an impediment to social networking. Did you know for example that, whilst happy to load the basic aspects of Facebook, the Internet at my particular resort refuses to let me see any actual messages or photos? Unbelievable; left in a situation I cannot face I have an incredible urge to “book”, my only consolation being that I shall not be required to take an extended holiday from my laptop for at least another few months.
Topic time. I did manage a cheeky bit of Internet access whilst away and, although I couldn’t actually do anything I was permitted the privilege of gazing at a webpage occasionally. One such webpage contained documentaries (a veritable documentary heaven you might say) and I happened to notice the title of one, which went somewhere along the lines of “The evolution of 8-bit art”. You know… Mario, Zelda, that kind of thing. Or maybe you don’t know. If not then they remain popular groundbreaking titles, and this article might not be for you although I implore you to give them a try nonetheless. Since I couldn’t actually watch said documentary (I intend to find a copy the second I am able) I had a little think about the subject material. 8-bit art, gaming and Geek Chic, what’s that all about?
In lieu of an actual view I managed to eek out a little online research and, for those of you who actually know what you’re talking about, please forgive any basic errors in what follows. I am one of those people who is thoroughly open to the idea of so called “geeky” subjects but after about an hour in front of a game I find myself more open to the idea of fresh air and social interaction. This isn’t a criticism of keener individuals, far from it; I admire your passion but frankly have no interest in matching it nor the capacity to do so.
In short, the shorter the better – less chance of a mistake I find, low resolution forms of 8-bit art emerged in the 1970s and 80s, continuing to develop throughout the 1990s, and can refer to peppy sounding synthesized electronic music or to pixel art. 8-bit simply refers to the 8-bit processors that consoles run off, which stored data 8 bits at a time. Easy right? From what I understand Super Mario Brothers is widely considered the instigator of the earlier forms and some of the most popular games continue to hold special places in our hearts. Indeed since developments in technology pushed for higher and higher resolution (for example the N64 refers to the fact that it worked from a 64-bit processor), the resurgence of lower resolution graphics in popular culture, especially graphic t-shirts, might surprise us. But should it?
Nope, the startup culture of homemade (a lot of early games were driven by passionate individuals on home computers) is the kind of ethos we might be driven to admire today as games on the mainstream consoles has increasingly approach £50+ in price. I mean really… REALLY? Do you actually get to go into the game and be batman, because otherwise that’s a lot of money surely?
Increasingly pixel art has offered many artists an easy, clear method of communication; indeed representations of more mainstream culture (for example Twilight) through pixel art can add an interesting juxtaposition of nostalgic and high-resolution modernity, which is perhaps difficult to do so easily with other mediums. The nostalgia factor is something that I particularly credit for growing interest in the genre; for me 8-bit representations instantly bring to mind memories of playing, or watching others, play games such as Mario and Zelda. More so however people who were born in the late nineties or early noughties have shown interest in a medium that they were technically too young to engage with the first time around.
So don’t worry if you missed out. Who cares? Even wearing a t-shirt, carrying an accessory or watching a movie (see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the entirety of which pays homage to 8-bit art and music) that features some representation of the game can show your support for all that these games represented. Also bright colors in simple blocks? Don’t know about you but that makes me happy. Its clear that the days are long gone when you had to be a technical genius to engage with this particular art form; it features on t-shirts everywhere, so if you like the look then don’t be afraid. Embrace the geek; you might just make their day.