Mable & the Wood
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Pixel art exploration game gets its moral ambiguity from Studio Ghibli films

Mable & the Wood is a 2D exploration game about a young red-haired girl with the ability to transform into other creatures. The idea is to get her through the titular colorful woods. However, the more you use the girl’s powers, the more you take from the forest, slowly destroying it—regardless, it’s the only way to reach some areas, and it’s the only way to beat the enemies you meet. The idea behind the game was born in April 2015, as it was made for the Ludum Dare game jam that month, which carried the theme “An Unconventional Weapon,” hence the shape-shifting. Now…

among thorns
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Another perfect marriage of cyberpunk and pixels

Cyberpunk worlds always seem to draw me in. Whether it’s the derelict planets visited by Spike Spiegel and his bounty hunting companions in the cult classic anime Cowboy Bebop (1997-98), or the replicant-laden world of the famed Blade Runner (1982), cyberpunk has always remained a static aesthetic in the media I’ve read, watched, and played. And freelance pixel artist Matt Frith’s bite-sized cyberpunk point-and-click adventure game Among Thorns is no exception. The setting in Among Thorns is described on as “a world suffering with a technological plague, Cora Bry is recruited for a shady job.” So, essentially, a textbook example of any…

hyperlight drifter2
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See how far Hyper Light Drifter has come before its arrival next week

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) wasn’t a tough sell. It had audiences entranced from its first trailer. A desert slashed with muted yellows and clay reds set against a crisp aquamarine sky spoke for itself. The dies irae of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” was only there to make sure you never forgot. The first trailer for Hyper Light Drifter was different in almost every way, but the effect was the same. Alex Preston introduced his stylish action-RPG not with an apocalyptic bang but with the rhythmic chiptune meditations of a specialty Baths track. Grounded in Will Wiesenfeld’s introspective beat, Hyper Light Drifter wrapped its precious pixel art…

Pixel art
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Interactive illustrations give pixel art a new lease of life

Pixel art has produced a new trick from up its jagged sleeve—responsive pixel art. Or, as inventive web designer Marcus Blättermann calls it: “resolution-independent pixel illustrations.” Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but don’t worry, interacting with it for the first time should empty your gob as you involuntarily gawp in wonder. It is nothing if not visually spectacular. You’ll need to head over to Blättermann’s website to play around with the illustrations. There are seven in total (though there’s room to add more), all of which work the same way, just with different images to reveal to you. To explain…

radiouniverse2016
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Radio the Universe gets a few pixels closer to completion

Don’t worry: Radio the Universe still exists. The intensely intimate, meticulously detailed cornucopia of beatific pixels which first surfaced circa 2012 is still progressing, slowly but surely, with a planned release sometime later this year (fingers crossed). In a recent update, the game’s creator, 6e6e6e, discussed the array of challenges associated with building up and refining Radio the Universe’s environments. Visual progress like the kind reported last November might look straightforward enough, but it doesn’t come cheaply. “I was busy constructing an imaginary transport line while a coastline froze over,” 6e6e6 wrote on the game’s Kickstarter page late last month.…

leon1
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Die, die, and die again in this Twitter-based adventure game

When I scroll through my Twitter feed, I’m never hard-pressed to find selfies, silly jokes, personal anecdotes, opinions on whatever dumb, ignorant thing Donald Trump said recently—but what I don’t expect to find is a Choose Your Own Adventure game, complete with pixel art gifs and a seemingly infinite number of choice-related deaths. Pixel artist Leon Chang “launched” (or rather “tweeted out”) his social media-based Choose Your Own Adventure game Leon on October 21st. While not the first to make such a game, Chang’s Leon is the first to combine both gifs of original pixel art and hundreds of burnout…

pixel_gallery_screenshot
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At last, a virtual art gallery made for bizarre gifs

A building constructed of concrete slabs with a sign reading “Hyper GIF 3D Gallery” awaits you beyond pixelized trees. An open door beckons. Within it, a description of the current show declares “Akihiko Taniguchi, solo show of GIFs.” keep digital art within a virtual space  This is the entrance to a browser-based 3D art gallery. While the street you begin on consists of detailed high-rise buildings—across the street is a restaurant, and next to it a brick building appears to have flowers painted on it—the interior of the gallery itself is, much like physical art galleries, comprised of off-white walls,…