The crappiest golden age: video games

It really is time to ask how NES, donkey kong, and blocky Mario work as an aesthetic. This essay on the fake video game from The Wrestler makes it seem like the a craft the world is on he verge of disappearing.

Hume noted that one of the bigger challenges faced when creating Wrestle Jam was limiting her character sprites designs to the reduced palette of 8-bit hardware. “Recreating yesterdays game with today’s technology was hard,” Hume recalled, saying that early Wrestle Jam designs were aesthetically inappropriate, “a modern style version of an 80s game,” designs that had to be throttled back to match antiquated hardware. That even meant dumbing down the programming.

“To get that exact look and feel encompassing everything we knew an 80s wrestling game to be, meaning the awkwardly timed reactions to punches and kicks to the generally stupid AI,” Furino said.

nes gawkerMomus’s take on them in 1999 is very appealing: that they’re the closest modern society has gotten to cute pictograms of the ineffable.

When, on either side of the globe, the aliens emerged from their craft clutching Space Invaders machines, there were two different reactions. In Akihabara passers by, many of them clutching 128-bit Dreamcast consoles under their arms, started laughing at a bunch of funny looking country cousins trying to offload yesterday’s game systems. But in Paris, where there has always been a humane and tolerant attitude to noble savages of all kinds, there was some real anthropological interest, not to mention a wry appreciation of the kitsch factor. This trendily retro technology appealed to the artists, DJs and graffiti kids of Bastille, Ivry, Pigalle and Montmartre, who saw the Space Invaders consoles as something charmingly vintage, ripe for recontextualisation. Instead of playing these antiquated games, clearly fit only for some Museum of Jurassic Technology, one posse of Info Decos on the Rue Keller thought it would be funny to recast them as some sort of techno-ethnic, pseudo-primitive craft. With painstaking care, working under cover of darkness, they glued images of the cute descending alien craft tile by tile to the walls of Paris. Like idiotic chickens dropping little eggs instead of bombs, ceramic Space Invaders started appearing on street corners all over Bastille and Le Marais, next to the liberation slogans of displaced third world peoples, graffitti spray tags and street signs.

The great thing about video games is that people in their 30s can imagine what it was like for the Normans to think that the Bayeux tapestry was as realistic as things could possibly get.


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