Sunday, October 19, 2014

Video game ANSI part 8: another Blocktronics pack!

I've already regaled you with choice cuts from the 1980 artpack release of Blocktronics, today's ANSI art supergroup (and let's face it, sole inheritors to a pretty lifeless battlefield). But wouldn't you know it, they've kept on keeping on and, well, there have been subsequent releases -- with new renditions of video game characters and situations in the ANSI medium! It's funny with this weird beat, I can go from showing archival material dug up from 1992 and then zap directly to mid-2014. So has been the power of the enduring cultural relevance of video games, I suppose. A distinguishing feature of this "WTF4" pack (F4 being one of the function keys bound to displaying the ANSI "block" characters in ANSI editors) is that it contained what must be by far the longest piece of ANSI art ever commissioned -- I won't give you specific numbers, but for a ballpark, it measures about 7 stories end to end -- a group collaboration produced to compete at the Evoke 2014 demoparty (whose ANSI art category it won handily). Though it has recurring themes, the diversity of authors and subjects have resulted in recurring flashes of video game iconography surfacing in the greater work which is basically about something else. It opens as demonstrated below, with a classic gaming reference from the 1983 movie War Games. Then a group logo, and then the classic Konami code. Then some dream imagery, and then a classic arcade cabinet! I'm not sure what game is being advertised on the cab's sides -- there are Q*Berts being shot at by what look like Galaga ships -- but if you look at the joysticks and the screen, you can appreciate a classic smallscale representation of Konami's Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. Finally, the screen dissolves into an unrelated transition, with a lone Space Invader lurking in the eaves.
Another Invader or two turn up over the next few thousand lines, but this is the only other major game-related stop in the so-called "megajoint", a point at which a cubic dreamscape resolves into a playground for Q*Bert.
The pack has much more gameinalia in its other works however. Here, for an audience of Metroid and a panel of Space Invaders, the two great red junk food mascots of the early '90s, 7-Up's "Cool Spot" and Domino's Pizza's "Noid" -- both subjects of their own video games -- duke it out. (I don't see why: their products are complementary, not competing.) Cool Spot seems to be dominant in this conflict, aided perhaps by a line of 1-UP mushrooms.
What's the score again?
A fun thing about this piece -- it started as just a weird amoeba-like tree, but R5 felt it would be a suitable backdrop on which to superimpose the hilariously 4th-wall-breaking Mr. Resetti the mole from the Gamecube classic Animal Crossing. I saw an early draft and recommended a balloon-package to kick it off, and there it is! My contribution to art history.
Enzo has been using ANSI art to illustrate articles about tech for his day job; this is one about the whizbang potential of mobile devices, with a little bit of smallscale Pac-Man action going on in the background.
And there we are. But oh, my gosh! It takes me so long for these blog posts to come out these days that another Blocktronics pack has since come out, containing in it still further video game ANSI art. It's really a vicious cycle. My work is cut out for me. You'll be seeing more video game ANSI from this well-heeled crew of textmode art survivors.

And now, on a different note: Hallowe'en is coming up, and I didn't have enough long coffee breaks and no-work-scheduled days to revisit my month of spooky game ads as I did last year (though World 1-1 has been holding that beat down admirably so far in 2014), but here's something new for this blog: music! In preparation for a 20th anniversary reunion artpack of my Mistigris crew from the mid-'90s, I've been shaking down my computer art archives for unreleased materials I've been sitting on for upwards of 16 years. Here's a tune by Onyx, the 604's prolific Impulse Tracker addict of Sonic Equinox and Delphic Oracle -- and yes, sporadically Mistigris -- executing a tribute to the soundtracks of Konami's very Hallowe'eny Castlevania series, entitled NecroNuke. Enjoy!