These days, everybody knows how advanced game graphics has become. Especially in such productions like “Battlefield 4” or “Crysis 3“. However, one moment, evolution in gaming reached a point when people stopped (finally!) pay attention to graphics’ quality. Why so many people started to interest in projects based on pixel art?
Before we go on and answer this question, I would like to explain what is “pixel art” and how it looks. Pixel art is a way of making a picture with single pixels. This style of art is derived from old games, developed on first personal computers or Atari and Commodore console. That’s why quality of graphics (apart from the fact that it goes with nice effects or more extended mechanics of games) leave much to be desired.
A game created by Phil Fish, “Fez“, is a good example where graphics is stylized as Pixel Art, despite using three-dimensional world. An interesting anecdote heard in “Indie Games: The Movie”: Phil admitted to the fact that he made visual side of his game three times, each time with larger knowledge about making pixel art. It’s worth to add that it took four years to finish “Fez”.
Another game that stolen hearts of many players (despite simple, though beautiful graphics) was “Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery”. Also, I have to mention difficult “Super Meat Boy” which earned a lot of money in just few days after development.
Of course, given examples don’t show that a sentence “do anything in Pixel Art and you become a millionaire” is true. With this style of graphics, a unique and interesting mechanics must go and, like in the first case, a good plot and atmosphere. Nonetheless, they still don’t guarantee a success. Unless it’s ”Call of Duty“. By the way, can you imagine CoD with graphics based on pixel art? “Duty of Calls 2: Pixels of Madness“.
Why people still want more and more of this? Some might think that the most important reason, which contributed in popularization of most ideas created by man, is internet. This tool allowed creators to go everywhere and find people who would understand you and would buy your product. You only have to present a magic offer. What’s more, simplicity of making pixel art goes with mentioned simplicity of advertising your game. Elementary pixel art is easier to implement than a 3D model. Even 2D engines are more user-friendly than 3D engines. Of course, all of this doesn’t change the fact that you have a lot of work to achieve something good.
But the most important reason is graphical implosion. At some time, development of graphics in games slowed down and new products offer the same quality now. Today, slogans like “ultrarealistic graphics” stopped working. People want games with original mechanics, not another, same refactored meat. This is why we sacrifice our time for simple and not-graphically bad games more often and appreciate feelings of authors showed there.