Back to Bits
News

Artists pay tribute to NES games with a collection of GIFs

Videogame GIFs are one of my favorite things on the internet. Retro game nostalgia less so, but that hasn’t stopped me enjoying the NES game-inspired GIFs that are being showcased on Back to Bits. The website launched today and is a curated animation project created by Washington-based artist Jerry Liu. His reason for putting Back to Bits together is simple: he wanted a way to bring likeminded artists together and to celebrate the games of his and their childhood. a range of different art styles and approaches The GIFs that you can see today were created by more than 40 different…

DUSK
News

DUSK is the grubby circus act a ’90s-style shooter should be

DUSK is an intentional throwback. It’s a game that deliberately, lovingly evokes the running, gunning, and no-reload bullet-dispensing of ‘90s shooters like Quake (1996), Blood (1997), and DOOM (1993). As with most exercises in nostalgia, it’s also pretty off-putting at first. Why make another Quake when right this instant Quake is available to play, as good as it ever was? Why roll around in the past when the future is always so much more exciting? But give DUSK a chance and it makes an argument for itself. In the first moments of its preview version, a trio of burly, flannel-clad guys with burlap sacks over their heads and…

chat2
News

Start editing your away messages: Emily Is Away is getting a sequel

Emily Is Away was released just over a year ago, and since then, Emily has amassed a lot of friends—like, 1.5 million of them. Many of which will be excited to hear that early next year Emily Is Away Too, a sequel of sorts, will be released. Perhaps “spiritual successor” is a better word; Emily from the first game isn’t being carried over for the second game. Emily Is Away Too will have new characters—and a new Emily. Someone named Evelyn, too. Oops, wrong IM “The sequel behaves much more like a chat application,” creator Kyle Seeley said. “It features embedded links to websites,…

414648560_c2d2da8922_o
Feature

The 1990s, the decade that never ended

In 2013, the New Museum in New York presented an exhibition titled NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star (named after an album by Sonic Youth). It curated art from the year of Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Soon after, New Jersey’s Montclair Art Museum featured Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s (named after a song by Nirvana). Jason Farago, writing about these shows for the BBC, posited that “this wave of 1990s shows marks a welcome effort to impose historical rigour on a period we still sometimes call ‘contemporary,’” but, “they reveal that the gap between then…

glitched gif
News

GLITCHED will break the fourth wall just to be your friend

You’ve lived in the same town all your life, a tiny idyllic village well removed from the world beyond its borders. Life is simple but reassuring in the way of a well-maintained schedule or a checked-off to-do list, and you have very little to want or desire beyond it. You’re content to tread well-worn paths with your best friend and ask nothing else of life. One day, in flagrant defiance of all established patterns, your friend says that he’s going away—reasons unknown, motive mysterious. The night before his departure he disappears, and you look up at the sky, and see…

LowPolyScenes
News

Iconic movie moments turned into gorgeous low-poly scenes

Brazilian artist Bruno Alberto is a man on a mission: take every movie you loved from your childhood, pick a scene from it, and turn it into a gorgeous low-poly animated diorama. So far, Alberto has only shared four on his LowPolyScenes Facebook page, but boy, they are a good four. Let’s start with his rendering of Free Willy (1994), which obviously depicts the scene where a henchman eats popcorn evil-y… OK, I may be lying. What other scene would you pick from this movie aside from the one where Willy, as promised, finally goes free? It’s a bit sped up, but everything…

ratchet and clank header
Feature

In Defense of the 3D Platformer

Let me say it up front: the new Ratchet and Clank remake is magnificent. It also feels extremely strange, as though it hails from a parallel universe that isn’t quite our own. In this universe, the 3D platformer is ascendant. Good games are defined by everything it has in abundance: by the quality of their move upgrades; the length of their long jumps; the theming of their worlds; the cackling of their villains. Every game is legally required to have a fire level. Every game conveys the same set of values—duty, honor, the heroism of the ordinary, the sacrifice of…

01
Feature

How Japan shaped nostalgia in games

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. For Shigeru Miyamoto, the inspiration for The Legend of Zelda (1986) series lay in the natural beauty of his hometown of Kyoto, Japan. As a young boy, the Nintendo designer behind Mario, Zelda, and Pikmin would take hikes around nearby forests, rivers, and old Sonobe Castle ruins. It was on one such hike that Miyamoto happened upon a cave that fascinated him. He returned to it a few days later, shook off his nerves, and, armed with a homemade lantern, journeyed into its mysterious depths. It was this feeling of discovery and…

Star Fox Zero header
Review

The joyless heroics of Star Fox Zero

As I sit at my keyboard, trying to figure out what in the world I could possibly say about Star Fox Zero, I find myself forced to concede that there’s not that much wrong with the game as a game. As an engine built to allow players to fly around in a high resolution version of a spaceship apparently built out of triangles, Star Fox Zero is entirely functional. There are things to blow up, which will also seek to blow the player up. There are big spaceships, and big imposing robots with hidden vulnerabilities (which are signaled to the…