Friday, October 17, 2014

ANSI, the Other 8-Bit Art

Despite the fact that I have 2 full-size old-school arcade games in my house (Dig Dug and Burgertime) and I do enjoy Minecraft, I am not a huge fan of 8-bit art. Back in 1982 when Burgertime was new, big-pixel games were the only games. Now people draw their game art in that style that just because they like it. I think some of the new games drawn like that look really good, and I am really impressed with artists' abilities to work in that style. But it's just not my favorite game art style.

If you haven't heard, 8-bit art (and also music) refers to a style reminiscent of the video games played on 3rd-generation home consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, and the Atari 7800. The term "8-bit" refers to the processors in those consoles. The number of bits became a selling point, and the different generations were identified by their bit number. The Super NES was a 16-bit console, the Nintendo 64 was a 64-bit, and so on.

So while I'm not a huge fan of 80's style video game artwork, I really love ANSI art. I used to make it for a BBS back in the 90's. I've seen some really amazing things rendered in just a few simple colors and an antique character set. And since all the characters used in ANSI drawings were expressed in only a single byte, I think that ANSI art is the forgotten 8-bit art.

I recently found an online tool that can convert your pictures into ANSI art. Below is one of my frog images rendered that way. I don't know if it will look right on all platforms (especially if you are reading this on a mobile device) but it looks ok to me in Chrome on Windows 7.

Try it with some of your own pictures! comic for 17 October 2014

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