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In today's main feature, citing the game industry's fixation with "realistic" graphics, Marque Sondergaard considers alternatives and the limiting term "cartoony", as he ...

Quang Hong, Blogger

April 17, 2006

2 Min Read

In today's main feature, citing the game industry's fixation with "realistic" graphics, Marque Sondergaard considers alternatives and the limiting term "cartoony", as he attempts to better define the use of stylized art in video games. Sondergaard references recent games such as Psychonauts and explains how he sees them fitting in to the 'stylized' game paradigm, but in the following excerpt, he reminiscences on the early days of "realistic" video game graphics: "I remember the first major breakthrough [from my personal perspective] in realistic games visuals, which came back in 1986. Rambo: First Blood 2 published by Ocean, had the most incredible looking loading screen. Even the mainstream was amazed. You'd never seen anything like it! Why, the look practically rivaled that of the original movie poster! You could actually make out the actor's face, muscle striations and what make of weapon he was holding. All of this was accomplished with some 10 different colors used over 320 x 200 pixels. But if you remembered the original reference and concept, it was quite laughable. And once inside the game, the ”realism” was quickly ruined. Limited to very few possible colors, the artists had to make do with garish combinations of green, purple, pink, black, and white. The best of the artists of that day strove to conjure up more believable colors by using color theory; placing a color next to another color that would draw out particular qualities from the original, and thus make it seem different from when placed next to a third color. Apparently, the only way to tone down the fluorescent green into something somewhat believable in a nature setting was to put it next to the magenta or purple." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including several methods of stratifying "cartoony" game art by adapting concepts originally devised by Scott McCloud and others (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

About the Author(s)

Quang Hong

Blogger

Quang Hong is the Features Editor of Gamasutra.com.

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