Video Game Art Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Video Game Art RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 54 Indie Games Collaborate to Create Playing Card Deck Thu, 25 Jan 2018 10:53:11 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Not every video game would make a great board game or card game, but just about every video game would look good in a card deck. Video Game Playing Cards takes us 54 games closer to having every video game in a card deck by featuring 54 indie games (52 cards plus two jokers).

Launching Wednesday, Jan. 24 on Kickstarter, Video Game Playing Cards is a playing card deck featuring licensed video game art. Each card is a different game and exclusive to Kickstarter backers. One deck costs $19, including shipping. The cards are expected to ship in March 2018.

Indie video games in poker deck

The deck features popular indie titles such as The Sexy Brutale, The Last DoorAragami, The Count Lucanor, and more. Prospective buyers can view all 54 cards on the Kickstarter page or the Video Games Playing Cards website. The main website also includes links to each game's Steam page and each game developer's website and Twitter page.

Each card does feature licensed art from the game. The CEO of JanduSoft, creators of Video Games Playing Cards and the development studio behind Caveman Warriors (one of the 54 cards), came up with the idea as a way to showcase some of the games they've come across at events. After working extensively with various studios to secure the art licensing, the poker deck idea became a reality.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until Feb. 23. As of this writing, the campaign is already at $3,118 of its initial $2,500 goal.

10 Video Games That Are True Works of Art Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:19:35 -0500 spacechaser

Are video games art? This much-debated topic has plagued gaming journalism and the gaming community for years now. To answer that question, one must first answer another: what is art?

"the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." - Google Dictionary

By that definition, video games should be considered art. Here's another excellent GameSkinny article on the subject, if you still need convincing. And on that note, here are 10 games that are, undoubtedly, works of art.

1. Journey

One of the most visually stunning games in existence, some people have even equated playing Journey to having a spiritual experience. Like some of the other titles in this article, Journey is a completely wordless game. The only way to communicate with any partners you're paired up with during your play through is with pinging noises and jumping, but somehow just having someone with you to experience the beautiful and nerve-wracking adventure is reassuring and comforting.

2. Darkest Dungeon

Perhaps a surprise entry on this list, Darkest Dungeon is a specific brand of beautiful. Suffice to say, this game wouldn't be as effective as it is without its disturbing monsters and moody lighting. Together with its punishing gameplay, Darkest Dungeon's ominous narrator and characters work to make a game that's both frustrating and impossible to put down.

3. Hyper Light Drifter

A dark and atmospheric post-apocalyptic adventure, Hyper Light Drifter merges beautiful visuals and somber electronic music to create a frightening world. This game is equal parts stunning and horrific, and is living proof that the two aren't mutually exclusive.

4. Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo's newest Super Mario title is probably the most joyful game of the year. Each Kingdom is lovingly sculpted down to the smallest detail and is full of secrets and funny characters. The scenery is bright and colorful to reflect its lightheartedness, with plenty of difficult puzzles and platforming to keep you on your toes.

5. The Witness

This confounding and beautiful game has no story, no purpose, and no people. The Witness is a first person puzzle game with surprises around every corner, quite literally. It's a good thing the environment in this game is gorgeous, because you'll spend hours staring at it in wonder only to discover its hidden meaning in an epiphany that hits your brain not unlike an electric shock.

6. Bioshock

In a terrifying undersea city full of bloodthirsty drug addicts, Bioshock makes it very clear that you can't trust anyone unless they're a hacked robot. There's a kind of wonder and disappointment that comes while exploring Rapture that makes you wish you'd seen it in its prime. The dilapidated city is simultaneously beautiful, sad, and scary. 

7. Gone Home

Starting out, Gone Home seems like a typical scary game, with something terrifying ready to jump out a you from every shadow. As you go on however, this game reveals itself to be so much more. With beautiful writing and highly detailed environments, Gone Home is a sad and emotional story, told through its setting more than through its narration.

8. Okami

Based on traditional Japanese calligraphy, Okami's visual style is unique in the gaming world. The earthy, natural colors of the human world help the brighter, magical elements pop. Though other games have used a similar cell-shading technique, Okami captures the feeling of being in a storybook, recounting the tale of the Shinto goddess who saved the world from darkness. 

9. Katamari Damacy

Another bizarre series of games, Katamari Damacy combines a hilarious concept with a cartoony style to bring its world to life. This game is chock full of silly objects and colorful characters. Katamari is just fun to look at, and is a joyful experience that'll make you want to come back and play again after you're done.


This list would be incomplete without including at least one VR game, so here it is. SUPERHOT is a challenging, visually captivating fps that uses color to differentiate between important elements. Through various fourth-wall breaks and, of course, the use of VR, SUPERHOT makes the player feel like they're actually in the game. 

So... are video games art? 

Even with simple games, or joke games, art had to be created for it to exist. Textures, sprites, character models, and even coding are forms of art in themselves. It seems unlikely that when artists join forces to create something, the result of the project isn't art. 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Why Video Games Should Be Considered Art Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:56:03 -0400 Sarah Elliman

It is incontrovertible that the debate around whether video games can be considered an art form or not is a contentious subject. Some believe it is the ultimate medium of expression, combining various art forms into one and making it interactive. Others believe that considering video games as art devalues the works of various artists in different fields. Although video games are legally recognised as art forms, the debate is still widely discussed. I personally believe that video games combine many beautiful art forms into one incredible interactive piece. You can learn from and experience situations you may never have been in before. The public's view on art and what mediums should be considered art vary as widely as the pieces of art present in our world.

In 2011 it was ruled by the Supreme Court that video games should be protected by the First Amendment.

“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas – and even social messages – through many familiar literary devices…and through features distinctive to the medium.”

- Anthony Scalia, Supreme Court Justice

Even legally protected as an art form, many don’t see the artistic nature of video games.

People view art in different ways and without a clarification of meaning it can be hard to differentiate between the mediums. Jonathon Jones wrote for The Guardian on the matter stating that:

"...any definition of art is one person’s reaction to life. Any definition of art that robs it of this inner response by a human creator is a worthless definition."

Understanding that this is a valid point if that is how you view art is applicable, however the basic component of this definition is that art is a reflection of life. If you take the opinion of the famous playwright, Oscar Wilde, he believed that ‘life imitates art far more than art imitates life,’ having varying personal definitions of art harms our view of video games as art.

So when definitions aren’t clear it is hard to define what should fit the unstable definition of art. Perhaps, you may argue that there are much more established forms of art and their importance is greater. It can’t be denied that prose, song and visual art have been established far longer than video games. However, this does not mean it isn’t an art form--video games simply haven’t had the time to gain the prestige of other art forms. Furthermore, what are video games but an interactive medium comprised of prose, song and visual art? Albeit not every video game is a masterpiece, but neither is every single book. When video games combine these three traditional art forms and use them masterfully, they create a soulful experience.

For example, if we are to start with visual art there are plenty of examples of video games that are visually appealing. There is no one true style when it comes to the visual aspect of video games. You can have a completely realistic style with a game such as Uncharted and be blown away by beautifully rendered landscapes. Or alternatively a game such as Limbo has a simpler art style, but carries the sinister nature of the game. It is not simply how we use the visual style but how it adds to the tone of the game. What Remains of Edith Finch is an absolutely stunning game and emits a sense of quiet and mystery even from its art style. The visuals match the purpose and the narrative of the game.

The same can be said for the writing of an individual game. Nobody could deny the power and heart-wrenching nature of the opening to The Last of Us. It set the entire tone for the game. You understood Joel’s character and knew why his interactions with Ellie were tenuous at the beginning of the game. A game with a good narrative does the same thing any piece of prose does: it makes you want to continue on. Whether you’re running home to read the next chapter of the book you’re reading or complete the next mission of the game you’re on, good writing makes you want to continue the story.

In addition if you played the first season of TellTale’s critically acclaimed The Walking Dead, you would know that at the end of the season there was not a dry eye to be seen. And what about video games that take inspiration from a piece of prose? The Witcher 3 reached legendary game status back in 2015, with many games, such as Final Fantasy XV and Assassin’s Creed Origins desiring to implement many mechanics from the eponymous game. The Witcher 3 had fantastic source material. (I highly recommend the books to anyone who is a fan of the series.) Does having source material based in more established art forms make it better? No, good writing comes from the team who are passionate about the game they’re making.

Lastly is the soundtrack. Song is an incredible part of human nature. Folk music is a testament to the longevity of song, and when a video game has the right soundtrack it makes all the difference. Life is Strange is a perfect example of this. It has a soundtrack that carries the message of the game, but the tracks are in themselves pieces of art. I have been introduced to so many new artists through games such as Life is Strange that I would never have found otherwise. Even instrumental music composed for a game carries a tone and a beauty within it, such as the Assassin’s Creed 2 opening instrumental. It carries an emotion and purpose that a video game would be lost without.

When you have the combination of so many brilliant art forms, how can you not justify video games being classed as an art form?

“Video games are also the only form of media that allows for personalizing the artistic experience while still retaining the authenticity of the artist,” - Chris Melissinos

is one opinion standing for the validity of video games as an art form. You’re not just a passive consumer when you engage with video games. You’re directly part of that experience and with more and more games implementing various choice paths in their games you can see the appeal. Video games allow you the option to interact with a whole new world and sometimes make it your own. You’re still experiencing someone’s vision, but you’re also part of that vision--which allows anyone who plays the game to become part of the art.

What is your opinion? Should video games be considered art or not? Leave a comment below with your opinions! 

Love Art? These 7 Hand-Drawn Games Will Blow Your Mind Fri, 01 Sep 2017 17:40:56 -0400 adelgirl


Skull Girls

Price: $9.99
Rating: Overwhelmingly Positive

Skullgirls is a 2D fighting game where players can choose from a multitude of fighters. This game is a great starter fighting game for people new to the genre. While there are many combos to learn for each character, they can be learned relatively quickly -- especially when compared to many other fighting games currently on the market. While there is a story mode for the game, many people prefer to go head-to-head against each other through local or wireless play.


The hand-drawn, anime art style lends itself perfectly the character of Skullgirls. In essence, it's like playing your favorite anime -- except its the one you never knew you wanted. 


Get Skull Girls on Steam.




Have you played any hand-drawn games that you think should have made the list? Have you played any of the games on this list and want to share your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below. 




We Need to Go Deeper

Price: $9.99
Rating: Very Positive

We Need to Go Deeper is a co-op game about exploring the depths of the ocean. The game requires 2-4 people to pilot a submarine through a trench into the dark depths of the sea. As you travel through the unknown, you and your companions must maintain your submarine -- least you sink. The ocean you explore is randomized whenever you and your friends start a new game, so you are always discovering new biomes and new creatures. 


We Need to Go Deeper has a unique art style that's quirky and fits perfectly with the bizarre nature of the game. Like a children's book, We Need to Go Deeper is imbued with a sense of wonder because of its art. 


Get We Need to go Deeper Early Access on Steam.


Hollow Knight

Price: $14.99
Rating: Very Positive

Hollow Knight is a side-scrolling Metroidvania RPG that mainly focuses on exploration. As you play, your character will gain skills and abilities that will help you discover new areas and new items -- which, in turn, will help you open new areas and unlock new items. It's classic Metroidvania in a perfectly hand-drawn aesthetic.


And while the art of the characters in Hollow Knight appears to be quite simple, the background contrasts with it in such a way that makes the game to look incredible. That perfect juxtaposition of simple and complex set it apart from other games in the genre. 


Get Hollow Knight on Steam.





Price: $19.99
Rating: Very Positive

Pyre is an RPG created by the same team that made the games Bastion and Transistor. The story follows a character that was exiled from society, where they meet up with a group of other exiles and embark on an adventure. Your goal is to help the group survive by defeating other exiles that attack your groups, finding supplies the party can use, and helping them improve their various abilities.


Pyre makes use of detailed character and background artwork in order to tell its story. It's reminiscent of its forebears, while its charming aesthetic meshes well with its tone and mechanics. 


Get Pyre on Steam.


The Banner Saga

Price: $19.99
Rating: Very Positive

The Banner Saga is a turn-based tactical strategy game on steam which takes place during the time of the Vikings. You control a Scandinavian warrior as they travel through a desolate world. As you progress, you gain and lose members of your caravan, and while you're fighting the cold, you're also fighting other clans. Banner Saga also makes use of the choices you make in dialog and combat to affect how the game progresses. 


Banner Saga's art was inspired by the Disney film Sleeping Beauty, as well as Donald Bluth and his work on game's like Dragon's Lair. 


Get The Banner Saga on Steam.



Price: $39.99
Rating: Very Positive

Deponia is a point-and-click adventure game where you follow Rufus. He lives in the city of Deponia and desperately wants to leave. He wants to leave the city so badly that he has tried time and time again to do so, with no luck, until he accidentally causes a woman to fall from her star cruiser -- and things change forever.


The art of the game is a simple, cartoony style -- but with incredibly detailed backgrounds. If you like point-and-click games, or want to try a new game, definitly check out Deponia. 


Get Deponia The Complete Journey on Steam. 



Price: TBA
Rating: TBA

Although Gorogoa hasn't been released yet, the art in this upcoming puzzle game from Annapurna Interactive for Android, iOS, and Windows looks absolutely gorgeous based on the trailers and screenshots we've seen so far. 


The basic conceit is that you are given four panels with which you have to interact in order to solve puzzles. You can drag the various panels onto each other or touch them in order to get to the solution of each puzzle. You can also take certain panels off of other panels in order to change the scenes in them. The details in each panel are fantastic, not only in art but also in how they can change so much yet still somewhat stay the same.


The details in each panel are fantastic, not only in art but also in how they can change so much yet still stay the same. Definitely check this game out when it is released.  


You can check Gorogoa out on Steam.


Hand-drawn games are amazing -- and the game art can be fantastic, too. The art various so much between the games and the movements are so fluid that you can tell that a ton of work was put into these different games. While these games do focus a ton on the art put into their games, they do not slack in other areas. The actual mechanics and stories of some of these games are great, but do not take away form the art of the games. These games in this list are some of the best hand-drawn games that you can purchase on steam. They are all various types and genres, from fighting to point and click adventure games. This list has something for everyone.


All of these games are playable on Macs and PCs, though make sure to check the system requirements for you computer before purchasing any of these games. 

Into the Pixel is celebrating video game art with a concept artwork competition Thu, 24 Mar 2016 14:24:47 -0400 Kat De Shields

There are many components that make playing a game a memorable experience -- be it gameplay mechanics, graphics, narrative, characters, or genre. Even before a game is playable, most players are enticed by information about the game, its premise, and the concept art that gives players a glimpse into the universe development studios will create through code. Fortunately, other organizations realize this and want to recognize the video game artists who paint those pictures of a game still in the works.  

Each year, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) come together to host the "Into the Pixel" (ITP) video game art exhibit, which celebrates video game artists. Now in its 13th year, the exhibition provides video game artists with a chance to have their work reviewed by industry experts from both the digital and fine arts world. Exposure is the grand prize for ITP winners, as their work is premiered at E3 and other events and venues. Artists may submit in-game or concept artwork. The submission deadline for this year is April 22, 2016

According to the ITP website: 

"Each year's collection covers a broad spectrum of genres and platforms, and reflects what the jurists feel represent the best art in the interactive entertainment platform from the past year."

Award winning pieces from the 2015 ITP collection included concept art from notable games like Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Ori and the Blind Forest, Overwatch, Battleborn, Destiny, and Assassin's Creed SyndicateTo view concept art from the 2015 winners, click here

Personally, I would love to see Compulsion Games' We Happy Few or Frogwares' The Sinking City submit to this competition. While a game is in development, it's the concept art that provides players with a flavor of the game before it moves to demo or beta, and, quite frankly, most concept art is stunning.

We Happy Few concept art from the game's website.

The Sinking City draws from H.P. Lovecraft and his work Call of the Cthulu.

Have you seen concept art that knocks your socks off? Share it in the comments below, and tweet the game dev studio to submit to IAP 2016! 

Must-have Nintendo prints by artist Orioto Sun, 19 Jul 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Manisha Hossain


Through the Night


Orioto showcases this SNES inspired piece in a new light, far from its 8-bit origin. A lonely Link stares at the the rainy, night sky, awaiting his adventure. This is one of the more gloomy pieces, and by gloomy, I mean it in the best way. It adds some sort of mystery to The Legend of Zelda.


Know of any other artists that pay homage to video games? Share it with me below!


Little Garden


Bringing in the nostalgia with Pokemon, this happy little piece shows the innocence of adventure as these future trainers search for their little pocket monsters. I'm sure we've all done it, just picturing ourselves running out and about, on our own, searching for our very own Pokemon. 


Flying Bully


Straight out of Super Mario World, a tentative Mario tries to knock off Iggy Koopa on this moving base in order to save a captured Yoshi. It's an interesting take on the existing level of the game. He added a background to what used to be a black abyss, which adds a much needed depth to the level that I didn't realize was missing, till now.


Lava Ballad


The anxiety that overcomes you as Mario rides the skull raft through this tricky level in Super Mario World is too real to ignore. Orioto transformed this 8-bit scene and brought it to life in a more vivid way, cartoon-like way. 


Cerulean Secret


I'm sure you remember that moment you stepped into Cerulean Cave and laid your eyes on the legendary Mewtwo. Relive that rush once again with this epic piece. Orioto took the 2D elements of the Pokemon games and completely transformed this moment. It's just how any of us would have pictured coming across Mewtwo for the very first time--in our minds, that is. Now it's all painted out, before our eyes.


Jungle Lineage


What a throwback! Paying homage to 90s platformers with a sweet scene from Donkey Kong Country. Orioto altered the vibrant color scheme and added some realistic elements to the game's scenery. Look at how proud Donkey Kong looks as Diddy leaps from rope to rope.


Lil Penguin Lost


Remember this little guy from Super Mario 64? This was the quest where players get to reunite the baby penguin with his momma. That being said, once he's back with her and the star appears, we best leave him alone. I sure hope Mario puts him down, or he's in for a chase. 


Master Sword


 Ah, the satisfying moment where you first lay your eyes on the Master Sword in the Lost Woods. Orioto revisited The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time with this nostalgic piece. He even included the spiritual stones fading into the background.


Mikaël Aguirre, known as Orioto online, is an artist that revamps our favorite video game moments into beautiful art. He has a gallery on DeviantArt, Tumblr and also sells his prints on Redbubble. Orioto's collection is rooted to his favorite games. From Final Fantasy to The Legend of Zelda, his art depicts iconic moments in lush, dreamy ways.


Calling all Nintendo fanboys and fan girls. Orioto's nostalgic Nintendo collection is bound to flood in great memories for gamers. He captures and recreates these moments in a new light and art form. Check out his other prints on his DeviantArt page. Also, check his Redbubble porfolio for other prints he has on sale. Move quick though, sometimes his prints go out of stock rather quickly!


Pictured above is Sweet Jungle. All of the following prints are available for sale in many different sizes and forms. Prices will vary according to material and size. Enjoy!

Gamer Gift Guide: Last Minute Gifts for Gamers Sun, 16 Nov 2014 20:13:51 -0500 Mary-Kate Wagamon


Make a Gift


Rating: N/A


Price: Varies Depending on material used


Buy It: Free patterns found at Moogly


If you're crafty then you can always try making gifts for your gamer friends. Hand-made gifts can add a more personal touch to a gift that shows thoughtfulness and effort in the gift-giving process.There are a lot of free project ideas and how-to guides, like this one on crocheted video game characters, that you can find online. 


League of Legends Gift Card


Rating: No Ratings Yet


Price: $25.00


Buy It: Target


If none of the previous items seem right to you, or if they happen to be sold out at every store nearby, a gift card is one of the best last minute gifts you'll find. There usually not too expensive, but can be really helpful to gamers. This card increases the in-game currency for the League of Legends player, allowing them to purchase items and unlock Champions.


You can also pay for a gamer to play their favorite MMOs for a few months with gift cards for subscription-based games like World of Warcraft.


The Art of Naughty Dog


Rating: No Ratings Yet


Price: $39.99


Buy It: Barnes & Noble


If any gamers you know are also interested in art, then a collection of artwork from their favorite games might be the perfect last minute gift idea for them. This book contains art from games developed by Naughty Dog Studios, including Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and The Last of Us


Dragon Age Inquisition Collector's Edition: Prima Official Game Guide


Rating: No Ratings Yet


Price: $24.68


Buy It: Barnes & Noble


A guide to his or her favorite game gives a gamer the chance to learn more about ways to complete certain challenges. Some game guides, like this one, include a "behind-the-scenes" look at what went into making the game and exclusive access to in-game items. 


Gunnar Gaming Eyewear-Intercept Onyx Frame


Rating: 4.5/5 (55 customer reviews)


Price: $58.99


Buy It: Best Buy


The recipient of these glasses will no doubt thank you for saving them from the eventual eyestrain that comes from long hours of staring at a screen. These glasses allow for "high resolution, panoramic viewing with wide lenses" and were built with comfort in mind, so gamers can relax and play for as long as they want. 


X-Rocker Gaming Chair


Rating: No Ratings Yet


Price: $59.99


Buy It: Target


What gamer doesn't want to be comfortable while they play? 


This mesh and foam gaming chair is not only comfortable, but also includes speakers in the headrest, built-in sound controls, and is foldable for easy storage.


Gaming Keyboard: Razer-Blackwidow Ultimate Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard


Rating: 4.8/5 (121 customer reviews)


Price: $109.99


Buy It: Best Buy


If any Desktop gamers you know are also looking for a new keyboard, here's one that will match the gaming mouse in the previous slide. The backlit keys, PC and Mac compatibility, and several other features make this keyboard ideal for any gamer. 


Gaming Mouse: Razer-Naga Expert MMO Gaming Mouse


Rating: 4.7/5 (220 customer reviews)


Price: $79.99


Buy it: Best Buy


Any Desktop gamers on your list will probably appreciate a new mouse specifically designed with gaming in mind. 


This mouse not only gives the player the ability to make adjustments while playing, but also has a "12-button thumb grid," which allows the player to easily select functions commonly used while gaming. 


Gaming Headset: Turtle Beach X12 Amplified Stereo Gaming Headset-Black (Xbox 360)


Rating: 5/5 (8 customer reviews)


Price: $40.99


Buy it: Target


Headsets are a great gift for gamers who have to deal with noisy surroundings, or who don't want to worry about the noise level of their game. Plus, gaming headsets like this one come with a microphone so gamers can chat with friends. 


This particular headset, for the Xbox 360, is light-weight, has plenty of audio adjustment options, and superior sound quality that picks up noises you might otherwise miss.  In addition to headsets for Xbox 360, stores like Target and Best Buy have headsets that work with other gaming platforms as well, ranging in price from $24.99 to around $300. 


The holiday season can be a great time of year. Buying the right gifts for everyone, however, is often more than a little stressful. Particularly if you wait until the last minute to do your shopping.


For the gamers in your life, the latest console or newly released game might seem like the perfect gift, but stores are more likely to quickly sell out of these popular items. But don't stress too much, because we're here to help you out with some last minute gift ideas for gamers. 

Video Games: The Beauty Beyond the Bullets Sun, 22 Jun 2014 09:51:22 -0400 Fathoms_4209

I'm strolling along a bustling street. The sun is shining, enthusiastic vendors are hawking their wares, a town crier is attracting a small, mildly interesting group. I continually scan the skyline; not to catch the occasional flitting bird, but to marvel at the wondrous architecture of a time long past.

It's Rome and the year is 1503. It's not real but as I'm playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, I choose to focus on the beauty and meticulously designed environment. I'm tempted to simply stand and watch. I watch the forbidding movements of the patrolling guards, the limping of an old man, the swaying of the courtesans; I watch with relative awe.

"It isn't real," my brain says.

No, it isn't. But it's an example of the beauty of interactive entertainment that often disappears beneath a maelstrom of bullets and blood.

I switch games.

Here, I'm a little boy. One night, he wakes to find his world has changed. A quiet yet atmospheric rain continually dampens the Parisian sidewalks along which I scamper. When the rain hits my body, I'm at least partially visible. When I am sheltered from the ceaseless drops, I am entirely invisible, although I do leave telltale tracks in the water.

The mysterious beasts that roam the night hunt another prey. There's a little girl who always seems to be just beyond my grasp. She's being pursued and I must reach her in time. I have no weapons; I have no super skills; I'm just a little boy, living a compelling nightmare that arose from the broad pastel strokes of a talented artist.

When I've had my fill, I leave the artistically infused world of rain behind.

Now I stand in the midst of a seemingly barren landscape. I'm holding a sword and I'm riding a valiant steed. I hold the sword up to the slanting sunlight; the blade catches it and magically focuses on a point on the horizon. I head off at a dead sprint, intent on reaching my quarry. The subtlety and mystery of my situation is somewhat disconcerting, as is the knowledge that whatever I find could crush me into a fine powder in a matter of seconds.

As I approach my destination, my pulse quickens and my mind begins to whirl: What will I have to do to conquer the mammoth beast? Will it require an attentive, strategic examination of the environment first? Or should I find a safe place and observe my gargantuan foe for a while? Or, what if I can't see it initially? How do I bring it close enough without losing my fragile life? And could my courageous horse be of any assistance?

When the latest mammoth enemy comes into view, a thrilled, fearful emotion rips through me. After working and thinking hard, I finally bring down the immense beast with an equally immense satisfaction. I take out Shadow of the Colossus disc and try something else.

I'm nothing but a little stick figure. Or rather, I'm a godlike being that can tell this figure when (and how quickly) to walk. He has only one goal: Reach the exit - marked by a simple black circle - without falling. It seems relatively simple at first and indeed, the first puzzle is simple. However, I immediately grasp the future complexity of the game.

"Perception is truth," they say. Here, we find that exemplified in one of the more challenging interactive experiences in existence. I twist the puzzle one way, I twist it another. I try to find the exact right position, which will allow a path to open that wasn't there before. As I think, the soothing strains of a violin concerto allow me to concentrate and further appreciate the art form before me.

It's a little frustrating but an appreciation for what has been created overrides the irritation. Hence, I switch from echochrome (with the full knowledge I will return), and sample another.

I am but a bit of paper. I can assembly myself almost as I see fit; the more paper accoutrements I unlock, the more customization options I have. I run on spindly paper legs and interact with a world made up entirely of paper. The enemies, the trees, and indeed, every last bit of the environment is comprised of paper. It's an immensely creative, wonderfully engaging world that constantly surprises me with its innovation and singular sense of style.

It distinctly reminds me of another set of games, where I play as a cute little sack puppet of sorts, who interacts with endlessly imaginative environments, the likes of which I'm allowed to create (if I've got the requisite motivation and imaginative skill). Between Tearaway and LittleBigPlanet, there are mountains of unique possibilities. I need only open my mind and discover them.

Time for something completely different? All right.

Should it be the brilliantly presented desert in Journey? Or the brilliantly presented desert in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception? Two desert environments; two worlds created entirely differently and with entirely different purposes. Should I play through Alan Wake again? I recall the tortured writer's frightening travels and the otherworldly experience he has; I recall feeling simultaneously edgy and intrigued. Perhaps I'd rather pick up the 3DS and relive the glorious days of yesteryear, when my friends, Mario, Metroid and Zelda, proved year in and year out that beauty - if in a more family-friendly form - is forever part of Nintendo's milieu.

From floating on a breeze as a bunch of flower petals, to catching a picturesque sunset in an amazingly appointed fantasy landscape, my options appear limitless. Do they go beyond bullets and blood?

Oh, absolutely.

The Future of Video Games: Where Should We Go From Here? Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:53:55 -0400 Fathoms_4209

When humans decided to strive for the stars, they went out and reached the stars.

Okay, so they didn't actually "reach a star," but you know what I mean: We broke earth's previously inescapable barrier and put out a tentative, probing finger. We sampled what was beyond. We came away with more questions than answers but those questions exist now, and they'll be answered by future generations.

How does this apply to video games? Well, if you really think about it, this is a form of entertainment that's in its infancy stages. It has such a long way to go, and we're only starting to glimpse our proud new advancements.

However, for the purposes of this piece, the question is not "where will we go," but where should we go?"

Is it really just about bigger and more realistic worlds?

The current trend seems clear: make our virtual worlds bigger and more realistic the whole way 'round. Our games are more immersive and dynamic than ever before, despite what some of the old-school purists might think. As a quick side note, the industry has changed so drastically that it's just plain illogical to compare the video games of today to those of two and three decades ago. I mean, we're just talking about  completely different experiences.

Anyway, the point is that the future can't only be about bigger and more realistic, right? There's virtual reality, of course, but I have severe reservations about that. And besides, that also involves enhanced realism. What else might we consider, though? What, besides greater immersion via increased realism? It has to go past a higher resolution and frame rate; the gameplay has to go beyond running around and killing things.

Video games are about interaction. So, perhaps the future of gaming involves the definition of the word "interaction."

For the purposes of legitimacy in the eyes of the art community...

I'll always say video games are an art form. I don't see any other way to categorize them. However, gaming isn't exactly garnering headlines in the leading art-oriented publications and the industry itself appears to have a poor reputation in the eyes of the literati. As a student of the classics and a strong believer in a classical education, maybe the best thing we can do is emphasize the true artistic aspects of this great industry.

Maybe our advancements need to reside in the writing and design categories. Maybe we'll enjoy enhanced interaction when masters of writing and design lend their talents to the industry. There's nothing quite so involving as a perfectly presented story and atmosphere within a unique, fantastical environment. We have the free reign to produce a huge variety of entertainment; there are no limitations in regards to genre or category.

I believe that the technology will inevitably increase, so we shouldn't specifically seek that out. We need to seek out that which is most lacking, and that which could elevate this entertainment medium to another - previously inaccessible - level.

What if the best artists came together with the best science-and-tech?

This is what we should be striving for, in my estimation. What if we combined the excellence of multiple forms of entertainment in gaming? What if we took our best novelists from the world of books, our best composers from the world of music, and the best designers from the art world, and combined them with next-level tech? Like I said, I think the latter will happen, anyway, but what if we incorporate the talents of all types of artists?

In short, I really believe we should be heading in a multi-talented direction. Because gaming feasibly could embrace just about all forms of artistic achievement, I think it should. I'm not interested in purely technological improvements because - and I know this will sound old and stodgy, but whatever - such advancements have no soul. They don't mean much to me on a personal level.

That's what we need to do: Combine what affects us in a deeply personal way (granted by the artistic masters) and the technology we're all convinced will come with time.

What do you think?

Kingdom Espionage: A Look Behind the Scenes at Video Game Art and Game Development Sun, 22 Dec 2013 08:12:27 -0500 Ask Erin

Have you ever wondered how video games get from the rich imaginations of game designers on to the electronic screen? Are you curious about what it takes to become a video game artist? The folks at DreamHatch Studios are hard at work on Kingdom Espionage and have posted the project on Kickstarter with a whole lot of concept art, offering rare insight into the game development process! Check out these concept stills.

Sweet, right? But game design isn't just about how things look standing still.

Characters have to move, and the world around them has to be able to interactive based on those movements.

So game art has to include notes on the way things work, becoming a sort of a cross between art and, well, let's call it fantasy-based engineering. Take a look at this concept work for the ice ring spell:

See how the artist's concept includes the start of the spell, the cast effect, and the final explosion? These notes help to ensure that the artist's vision is translated into the final product, and it gives the programmers something to relate to visually while they are laying the groundwork for the character's movement. To see how this art translates onto the moving screen, check out the game's Kickstarter page for a video!

When thinking about game design, characters are almost always the first thing to come to mind, but game art is much, much more than that. Have you ever thought about the elements in the game that the characters have to interact with?

Everything that appears in a video game has to be envisioned by a video game artist.

Trees, rocks, sky, buildings, animals, weapons, caves, dungeon walls... everything! Take a look at these concept drawings for traps that you can connect to the floor tiles of your castle.

See how the art isn't just a picture? The artist has included notes on how each trap operates, including how it looks before the trap is sprung, how the trap is triggered, and what happens when it is released. Video game art is often about designing moving parts, and the concept art has to reflect those interactions.

Finally, video game art has to be fleshed out.

From the concept art to the final product, complete with rich textures, light, and shadow, giving the player a sense of depth and realism (assuming the game is going for realism), video game art must be comprehensive.

Take a look!

For more concept art, complete with post-production stills and video, visit the Kickstarter site for Kingdom Espionage! Have more great concept art to share? Post a link in the comments!

A Peek At The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Cartridge Art Tue, 12 Nov 2013 01:09:50 -0500 Ryan Chizmar

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and its amazing 3DS XL bundle are set to hit store shelves in less than two weeks. With the release date fast approaching, Nintendo is revving up their ad campaign and spoilers are starting to leak out.

With A Link Between Worlds Nintendo plans to shake things up a bit. The latest installment will go off the beaten path with non-linear gameplay and originally featured the Nintendo Network logo on its boxart - which led me to wonder if Four Swords would see a return - but it looks like it has been removed.

While we've seen the boxart, the cartridge art has remained a mystery - until now. Jose Otero, Associate Editor at IGN, sent out a tweet featuring the elusive art for all the world to see. As Zelda Dungeon points out, Link usually isn't featured on the cartridge, but for the latest game in the series he managed to pop in for an appearance. Have a look for yourself:

                  And I didn't realize until now the reversible art was only available in                                      Europe.

                  — Jose Otero (@jose_otero) November 6, 2013

Although the cartridge itself isn't gold, the art is very nice! What do you think? When I finally get my hands on it I'll be writing up various guides, so let me know what you want to see in the comments below!

Thanks Courtney for the tip!

Finding Inspirational Video Game Art and Designers on Dribbble Sat, 25 May 2013 11:17:46 -0400 Ste Grainer


Dribbbler: Jake Fleming
Source: Grilly Screen Capture


Illustrator and UI designer Jake Fleming posts great screen captures and artwork for games in progress, including this screenshot from Grilly the Cheese (see the full source for an animated screencast).


Dribbbler: Neven Mrgan
Source: The Incident announcement


Software designer for a prominent Mac software company by day, game designer by night. Neven Mrgan did the artwork for the popular iOS game, The Incident, and shared his progress on Dribbble. He is currently working on a new game called Space Age.


Dribbbler: Andrew Kuhar
Source: The Wind Waker


Not everything game-related on Dribbble involves work on new games by game designers. Plenty of illustrators and designers are inspired by the games they play to create their own illustrations. This beautiful illustration of Link is a prime example.


Dribbbler: Shaun Inman
Source: Super Clew Land


Web designer turned indie retro game designer Shaun Inman created Super Clew Land with Rusty Moyher and Matt Grimm as part of Ludum Dare, a 72-hour game jam. In December 2012, he successfully kickstarted Retro Game Crunch, an ambitious project to create six retro games in six months with Rusty and Matt. He posts to Dribbble to share his process and progress on new games.


Dribbbler: Justin Mezzell
Source: Epic Armory: Lancer


Dribbble also encourages designers to share and challenge each other through impromptu contests (called Playoffs). Some designers have created a recurring series of Playoffs called Epic Armory centered around recreating famous weapons from video games.


Dribbbler: Timothy J. Reynolds
Source: Onett [Earthbound]


Milwaukee-based Timothy J. Reynolds doesn't seem to be directly involved in the games industry, but I for one would love to see more of his style of 3D illustration. This shot, inspired by Earthbound, looks even more lovely up close.


Dribbbler: Creature Box
Source: Giant Clank


Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin of Creature Box craft beautiful concept and production artwork, character designs, comics, and game artwork and share them on Dribbble.


Dribbbler: Christopher Lee
Source: Star Wars - Compendium Poster


Christopher Lee doesn't explicity mention game design, but his character illustrations (see his ThunderCats and Masters of the Universe illustrations as well) and pixel art animations  (see It's Ladies Night and One Last Hurrah) are beautiful.


Dribbbler: Oleg Milshtein
Source: Velocity-X


Oleg has a really fun style of character design and posted these backgrounds from Velocity-X.


Dribbbler: Mario Sifuentes
Source: Metal


Mario joined Dribbble just a few months ago, but has already posted some great pixel art and artwork for Metal Junk, an iPad game.


Dribbbler: Weasly Grizzly
Source: Zoomed


This Russian pixel artist is a master of isometric views. His work is beautifully crafted, whether it's an animated diorama of a building (seen above) or a pixellated KA-50 Hokum A (Black Shark) helicopter. He's also created some beautiful fantasy elements.


Dribbbler: Robert Podgórski
Source: Scribbles!


Based in Poznan, Poland, Robert Podgórski has a wide variety of game art on display - from retro pixel games to isometric games to sketch games.


Dribbbler: Michael B Myers Jr.
Source: Pixel Video Game Characters


Pixel artist and illustrator Michael B Myers Jr puts a fresh spin on many classic video game characters like Samus Aran and Gordon Freeman (along with sci-fi characters from Star Wars and Firefly). He also designs great t-shirts themed around video games.


Dribbbler: David McLeod
Source: Zelda - A Link to the Twitch


David McLeod works as a designer at and has worked on several other game-related projects like OpenEMU and the Video Game Archive.


Dribbbler: Johnny Waterman
Source: Digital Materialization


Johnny Waterman is a senior UI artist at Rumble Games, working on the visuals for web-based and mobile games.


Dribbbler: Rodrigo Bellão
Source: Global Game Jam Wallpaper


Rodrigo created this poster for the 2013 Global Game Jam, an international event where game developers and designers come together for 48 hours and quickly craft games based on a secret theme (unveiled at the opening of the event). He also has concept artwork for FIFA and artwork for several iOS games.


Founded in 2009, Dribbble is a community site where designers of all types share their work. It’s a daily source of inspiration where participants can discover new trends in design across a wide swath of disciplines from hand drawn illustrations to web design to video game artwork. It’s a great place for indie developers to find and partner with visual leads. And it’s a wonderful place for anyone interested in design to meet and learn from others in their field of interest. Following is a very small sample of the game-inspired artwork that can be found on Dribbble.