When I was younger, I only really played video games on my Stepdads PC. I have fond memories of playing thief and monkey island whenever I could a quick session. When I had to move, I was given a NES with around 30 or so games which I enjoyed greatly and played for many years. This lead into a SNES, SEGA Mega drive and eventually into a PS1 and N64. And despite the games industry moving on from pixels into Polygons, I have always had a strong fondness and nostalgia for them.

Initially, Pixels were used a necessity due to technology still being in its earlier days. Some of the earliest home consoles used few colours and low complexity graphics. As the technology developed further, systems were able to display more colours and hold greater file sizes, so the complexity increased. With increased file sizes came high numbers of sprites per character, allowing for smoother and more complex animations.

Technology eventually advanced to polygons and moved on to 3D spaces, but despite this there has always been a place for games using pixels. A good example of this would be the “Castlevania” series. When the PlayStation One first released, there was a large influx of games using polygons to better take advantage of the benefits the console offered. However, there were other series that kept with their Pixel roots and used the increased processing and memory power to make the most out of the system. Castlevania uses complex, high quality sprites with fantastic animations and even elements of 3D mixed into the game (Such as save rooms and certain magic effects). The series attempted to release 3D iterations on the N64 with mixed results (My experience at the time was good but playing it as an adult it seems very poorly designed and no where near as good as others in the series). With the move to PS2, the series attempted again to move into the 3D space with both a traditional styled Castlevania and a fighting game, both rather poorly received. Meanwhile, the series continued on the GBA with great success thank mostly to its traditional design that pleases fans of the series. However, from a personal opinion (And one mirrored by its fans), the pixel art style suits its best with clear Gothic influences and an almost hand drawn look about the assets. The series continued on the DS (A system that can handle 3D to some degree) with its pixel art style and was met with great success.

Despite greatly advanced technology, Pixels still have a strong part of the modern games industry. With games such as “Shovel knight”, “Undertale”, “Broforce” and more, Pixels as an artistic device are still strong in the games industry and look to be that way for the foreseeable future.


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