Crafty Game Boxes
I’ve always been charmed by the use of clay, puppets, and dioramas in video game box art and advertisements. Unfortunately, it was never very common (mostly a Japanese phenomenon), and these days it seems even more rare. At least we’ll always be able to look at them on Tumblr!
1. Star Fox (Super Famicom, 1993). (Source)
2. Don Doko Don (PC Engine, 1989). (Source)
3. Eggerland (Famicom Disk System, 1986). (Source)
4. Kororinpa (Wii, 2006). (Source)
5. Famicom Wars DS (DS, 2005). (Source)
6. Pulseman (Mega Drive, 1994). (Source)
7. Faxanadu (Famicom, 1987). (Source)
8. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES, 1991). (Source)
9. Exile: Wicked Phenomenon (TurboGrafx CD, 1993). (Source)
10. Pikmin 3 (Wii U, 2013). (Source)
Abobobo’s Top 10 Best Famicom/NES Graphics
1. Batman (Sunsoft, 1989)
2. Shatterhand (Natsume, 1991)
3. Little Samson (Taito, 1992)
4. Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (Tecmo, 1990)
5. Kirby’s Adventure (HAL Laboratory, 1993)
6. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (Konami, 1989)
7. Gimmick! (Sunsoft, 1992)
8. Metal Storm (Irem, 1992)
9. Sweet Home (Capcom, 1989)
10. Crisis Force (Konami, 1991)
These games were picked for their visual beauty, style, and technical prowess. Effects, animation, cutscenes, pixel artistry, and overall atmosphere were all taken into account. Of course, there are a lot of great-looking titles for the NES, and the ones that didn’t make the cut include Super Mario Bros. 3, Megaman 5/6, Solstice, and Summer Carnival ‘92: Recca. Like any “best of” list, this one is personal and subjective.
For reference, the Famicom was released in 1983 and the NES was released in 1985.
See also: The Games That Pushed The Limits Of The NES (Racketboy)
Image sources: Batman, Shatterhand, Little Samson, Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, Kirby’s Adventure, Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Gimmick!, Metal Storm, Sweet Home, Crisis Force
An incredible example of what can be done with laser-cutting, Amanda Ghassaei's project "Laser Cut Record" features music inscribed directly into cut discs of maple wood, acrylic, and paper, resulting in lo-fi but playable records.
For what they are, the otherwise scratchy and off-kilter audio quality is actually quite amazing, and the sounds themselves are made all the more haunting and strange by the crackling noise and resonance of the material that hosts them.
[Image: "Laser Cut Record" by Amanda Ghassaei].
Some technical details are available at Ghassaei's Instructables page, and you can see the laser-cutting itself at work in the following video.
I'm reminded of a short letter called "Acoustic Recordings from Antiquity," written to the Proceedings of the IEEE in August 1969 by a man named Richard G. Woodbridge III. The somewhat eccentric Mr. Woodbridge explains that he has been researching accidental recording of sounds found, after careful analysis, on the surfaces of physical objects rescued from antiquity—in particular, pieces of pottery originally shaped on potters' wheels (seen here as a kind of primordial record platter).
Woodbridge even claims some sounds have been "recorded" as re-playable waves in the slowly drying shapes of oil paintings.
To listen to these lost recordings, the letter suggests, you simply hold a record cartridge near the work of pottery in question, such that the needle of the phonograph can "be positioned against a revolving pot mounted on a phono turntable (adjustable speed) 'stroked' along a paint stroke, etc." When this was done properly, he claimed, a "low-frequency chatter sound could be heard in the earphones."
That is, the voices of people present in the room during the making of the pot could be re-played from the surface of the pot itself.
[Image: "Laser Cut Record" by Amanda Ghassaei].
Woodbridge suggests that this might have alternative applications: "This is of particular interest as it introduces the possibility of actually recalling and hearing the voices and words of eminent personages as recorded in the paint of their portraits or of famous artists in their pictures." So an experiment was orchestrated:
With an artist’s brush, paint strokes were applied to the surface of the canvas using “oil” paints involving a variety of plasticities, thicknesses, layers, etc., while martial music was played on the nearby phonograph. Visual examination at low magnification showed that certain strokes had the expected transverse striated appearance. When such strokes, after drying, were gently stroked by the “needle” (small, wooden, spade-like) of the crystal cartridge, at as close to the original stroke speed as possible, short snatches of the original music could be identified.Through this technique, the overlooked—overlistened?—acoustic qualities of various objects, beyond high-brow pottery and oil paintings, can thus be revealed:
Many situations leading to the possibility of adventitious acoustic recording in past times have been given consideration. These, for example, might consist of scratches, markings, engravings, grooves, chasings, smears, etc., on or in “plastic” materials encompassing metal, wax, wood, bone, mud, paint, crystal, and many others. Artifacts could include objects of personal adornment, sword blades, arrow shafts, pots, engraving plates, paintings, and various items of calligraphic interest.Woodbridge calls the pursuit and revelation of these sounds "acoustic archaeology."
[Image: Like the rings of Saturn, from "Laser Cut Record" by Amanda Ghassaei; in fact, perhaps the rings of Saturn are an unread recording...].
But why stop at sounds?
Perhaps in two years' time, we'll watch as Amanda Ghassaei cuts DVDs—"the data on a DVD is encoded in the form of small pits and bumps in the track of the disc"—with a combined and simultaneous laser-cutter/3D printer ensemble, coating inscribed "small pits and bumps" with reflective metals.
Suddenly, wood, rock, metal, even exposed geology in situ can host visual content. Indeed, perhaps it already does, but we haven't invented—or we simply haven't applied—the right technologies for decoding it. In other words, we have DVD players; we just haven't, learning from Richard G. Woodbridge III, used them to "read" other materials.
In August 2015, you and some friends hike up to a rock wall in the middle of Utah, and there are DVDs printed all over the surface of the hillside, full-length albums laser-burned into White Rim sandstone, and audio-visual pilgrims carrying deconstructed laser-lens systems, scanning for hidden film fests and warbling soundtracks, swarm every surface all around them.
It's the rise of geomedia.
Meteor, our favorite video game shop in Tokyo, began hosting its annual Famicase gallery last week, displaying nearly 90 Famicom cartridges for fake games dreamt up by artists. It looks like more Western artists than usual participated this year, and judging by the messages we received, a lot of our readers heard about the show from our posts and participated! Congratulations! You might remember that we had our own piece featured by Famicase not too long ago.
I’ve picked out my favorites from 2013’s submissions for the images above. Yuko Yano’s Cat Takes The Breakfast sounds like a game idea JC and I kicked around back in the day — the goal in Yano’s imaginary game is to wake up your master to serve you breakfast. ExedStarSoldius曼蛇Xevi ForceZone 頭脳BeeType is also neat, mashing together of a dozen shmups.
Double Target: Cynthia no Nemuri VS. Quartet VS. Quartet, 1987
This game was originally called Quartet in Japan as well, but was renamed because the Master System port was only two players.
The Ubuntu button in 13.04 has received a last minute change: the background swirl now spins in a clockwise direction.
Trivial, right? In fact, if had it arrived sooner, then our recent post on ’7 subtle changes in Unity 7 you probably won’t notice…‘ would have been 8!
Left: Old direction; Right: New Direction
Why The Change?
But why has the background direction been altered? And why now?
We don’t need to go too far back in history to answer the latter question, just to yesterday when a bug report was filed by Matthieu James, Ubuntu’s icon maker.
In the issue he cites a mail forwarded to him by Mark Shuttleworth in which a user argues that the button background swirl should spin clockwise, as there are cultural and historical dispositions favouring this procession.
Still following? Good.
Now, there is certainly no denying that, for most cultures, the clockwise/right-leaning movement is seen as being ‘good’, ‘positive’, and, in some cases, ‘holy’.
Whether it makes sense to us today is moot; the fact is that the vast majority of us are socialised to believe that clockwise = moving forward and moving forward = good. It sits within in us at a subconscious level, handed down to us from ancient times when the movement of the sun in the sky ( ‘east’ to ‘west’) was revered as important, life-giving and divine.
‘Sunwise’ became shorthand for ‘the right way’. Shorthand that remained core through subsequent cultures and civilisations; a crutch that influenced architecture, mathematics, science, mechanics.
The procession of clockwise over anti-clockwise is a movement we’re just darn well used to. Even some of our words, like ‘sinister’ are hold overs from this, being derived from the latin for anti-clockwise ‘sinistro‘!
‘iron age thinking’
Back to the present. The BFB icon in 13.04 has now been changed (albeit committed to Unity but not yet landed) to conform to this cultural/historical expectation.
This hasn’t pleased everyone, especially Steve Riley who writes:
“The notion that left = bad and right = good is steeped in ancient (and wrong) beliefs about what nature prefers. It’s the 21st century now. Do people really make technology decisions based on iron age fairy tales?”
He wasn’t alone in feeling a little peeved. The Ubuntu Documentation team, who have already taken screenshots of Ubuntu 13.04, also felt a bit put out. And Kevin Godby raised the point of whether this change means other anti-clockwise-leaning icons will also be hanged, like the new Software Updater icon.
Ultimately it’s a change that is both trivial and, to those who don’t care about such inferences, an irrelevant one at that.
But for designers, who speak a language that’s heavily based on symbolism, the change of direction will be seen a touch of finesse aimed at reassuring the subconscious eye with a familiar shapes, patterns and flows.
And that, cultural reasonings aside, is the most important thing: making sure it looks good.
"[...] Android may not be my or your first choice of Linux, but it is without doubt an open source platform that offers both practical and economic benefits to users and industry. So we have both competition, and good representation for open source, in personal computing.
Even though we have only played a small part in that shift, I think it's important for us to recognize that the shift has taken place. So from Ubuntu's perspective, this bug is now closed.
[...] Along those lines, it's good to reflect on how much has changed since 2004, and how fast it's changed. For Ubuntu, our goal remains to deliver fantastic experiences: for developers, for people building out production infrastructure, and for end-users on a range of devices. We are doing all of that in an environment that changes completely every decade. So we have to be willing to make big changes ourselves - in our processes, our practices, our tools, and our relationships. Change this bug status is but a tiny example."
The full comment can be found HERE.
What do you think?
Originally published at WebUpd8: Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.
Street Fighter 2 manhua. Can YOU spot the subtle celebrity likeness?
"Let me tell you a little story about innovation and creativity. Years ago, I worked on a wiki-based..."
Let me tell you a little story about innovation and creativity. Years ago, I worked on a wiki-based project to find the first instance of ideas/techniques in video games (like the first game to use cameras as weapons, or the first game to have stealth as a play element). It excited me to dig to give credit to those who laid the foundations of ideas that we now take for granted. I couldn’t wait to show the world how creative and innovative these unknown game designers/developers were.
I went into it with much passion and excitement, but unexpectedly, it turned out that there were almost no “firsts”. Every time someone put up a game that was the first to do/contain something, there was another earlier game put up to replace it with a SLIGHTLY less sophisticated, or SLIGHTLY different version of the same thing. The gradient was so smooth and constant that eventually, the element we were focusing on lost meaning. It became an unremarkable point to address at all. We ended up constantly overwriting people’s work with smaller, less passionate articles, containing a bunch of crappy games that only technically were the first to do something in the crudest manner. Sometimes only aesthetically.
After a lot of time sunk into this project, I came to the conclusion that I was mistaken about innovation/creativity. It would have been a better project to track the path of ideas/techniques than to try to find the first instance of an idea/technique. I held innovation so highly for years before that, but after this project, I saw just how small it was. How it was but a tiny extension of the thoughts of millions before it. A tiny mutation of a microscopic speck that laid on top of a mountain. It was a valuable experience that helped me very much creatively.”
- Dave Freeman, a game designer, friend, and former coworker (via adiscourseongaming)
The shrinkification of technology is as inevitable as death and taxes, but we still can't help but be excited to see that Japan's NHK, working with a company called Astrodesign, has managed to shrink an 8K-capable camera into this relatively compact package. Compared to the HD-capable smartphone in your pocket it's monstrous, but when put next to existing Ultra HD cinema cameras believe it or not this is tiny.
The secret to the 8K camera's trim figure is a 33-megapixel sensor that's just under an inch in size, so all of its components are able to squeeze into a housing that's about four inches square. Its compact form factor also allows smaller, lighter lenses to be used, which will eventually help bring the cost of 8K production down so the next-gen format has a better opportunity to catch on.
Of course, given 4K technology like cameras and TVs is only just being rolled out, 8K seems like a pipe dream for now. But with the introduction of HD many years ago, consumers discovered that increased resolutions could vastly improve their viewing experience, and eventually we'll even be complaining that 8K looks like crap. [DigInfo TV]
Our brains recognize brands before we even get to the text … but what happens when that second of the process process yields the reverse of what we expect?
In this series of experimental logo swaps by Graham Smith, our expectations are subverted right at the point of recognition – Coke replaces Pepsi, UPS becomes FedEx and so forth in realms ranging from fast food to digital technology.
The result is a kind of temporary cognitive dissonance, and poignant reminder of just how much we rely on visual cues – from shape and layout to color and typography – to interpret input and apprehend iconic designs.
Some of the trades work relatively seamlessly – a surprise number actually work visually – you could almost believer that Twitter, Facebook and Google could simply have gone a different direction with their designs.
But given our own familiarity biases when viewing them, it is hard to say in some cases, too. Either way, it is clear that our experience and associations play a major part in the power of branding.
[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]
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The concept of computers has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. They have gone from room-sized monstrosities to desktop beasts to laptop machines to tiny powerhouses that we can carry in our pockets. But it would be a mistake to think that computers are done evolving. The materials we use to build computers are constantly changing, and their form factors will undoubtedly change rapidly as well. These concepts show just what might be possible in the very near future of computer design.
Napkin PC Concept
Operating on the idea that most great ideas start as napkin sketches, designer Avery Holleman decided to design a computer system that looks just like a group of napkins. A stack of napkin-like screens and a set of “pens” are kept in a handy holder, allowing collaborators to simply grab one of each and sketch out an idea.
The holder is actually a base station and computer, allowing all of the processing to be done in the case so that the “napkins” themselves can remain small and easy to handle. A couple of napkins can roll up and be secured with a kind of napkin ring that holds two pens, letting the system go with you to impromptu meetings or anywhere great ideas might strike.
Feno Foldable Notebook
Designer Niels Van Hoof had a compelling vision for the modern laptop: why not eliminate wasted space and make the screen itself fold up to make the entire machine smaller? The screen would use OLED technology to let it fold in half without damaging the display.
The keyboard could then shrink significantly, allowing just enough room for the keys and eliminating the vast amounts of space under the keyboard that is usually dedicated to the trackpad. A pop-out mouse takes care of that, letting you navigate naturally and then store the mouse inside the laptop’s body when you’re done.
[ By Delana in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]
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Pioneers in 3D-printed fashion are showing off the capabilities of rapid-prototyping technology with dresses, hats, shoes, swimwear and jewelry. Machines layer buildable materials like nylon or steel according to computer-generated blueprints, eliminating the need for fabric and conventional soles and fasteners. The results are delicate and architectural, but surprisingly strong. Designs are custom-printed to the wearer’s exact dimensions for a perfect fit.
N12 Bikini by Continuum Fashion
While 3D-printed fashions have been showing up on runways for a few years now, the N12 bikini was among the first to actually be available for purchase. Every single piece of this bikini is 3D-printed including closures, and snap together without any sewing. Order through the Continuum Fashion shop.
Exoskeleton 3D Printed Shoes by Janina Alleyne
The Exoskeleton collection by Janina Alleyne is a futuristic, vaguely alien-looking series of footwear inspired by the structure and silhouettes of marine invertebrates and insects. With 3D printing, shoes and garments can be printed to the exact size of the wearer, making uncomfortable-looking designs fit like a glove.
Parasol Hat by Heidi Lee
Artist and milliner Heidi Lee created this parasol-inspired cocktail hat, modeled by Andrej Pejic for WILD Magazine’s Woman issue.
Invisible Shoe by Andreia Chaves
Created in collaboration with rapid prototyping studio Freedom of Creation, fashion designer Andreia Chaves’ Invisible Shoe features a 3D-printed base that is then covered in a mirrored shell. This produces an optical illusion effect, making the wearer’s feet seem to blend in with their surroundings.
Jointed Jewels by Alissia Melka-Teichroew
A ‘selective laser sintering process’ enables jeweler Alissia Melka-Teichroew to create a range of unusual jewelry from plastic powder, which is fused into solid form using a computer-controlled laser.
Seed of Life Corset by ThreeForm
This piece of wearable sculpture features a segmented design with movable joints and hinges, and it’s made to fit your body perfectly. The Seed of Life Corset from ThreeForm is available at Shapeways for $2,500.
Escapism Dresses by Daniel Widrig, Iris van Herpen and .MGX by Materialise
This incredibly complex series of dresses from Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen was produced in collaboration with London architect Daniel Widrig and digital manufacturers .MGX by Materialise. The digitally-printed dresses are lightweight and flexible, amazingly detailed and yet easy to produce.
Biomimicry Shoe by Marieka Ratsma and Kostika Spaho
Look closely at the heel of the biomimicry shoe by Dutch fashioned designer Marieka Ratsma and American architect Kostika Spaho. It’s modeled on a bird skull. The hollow structure of the skull creates a high platform sole that is nevertheless lightweight, using less material than a solid structure.
[ By Steph in Design & Products & Packaging. ]
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Oh man, my Reder feeds have been imported and now a lot of old stuff like this is resurfacing.
With such stark contrast between the subtleties of the salt and the void created by cloth, at first blush, you’d think these were illustrations or oil paintings. Meet Shanghai artist / photographer Bence Bakonyi. There’s something so clever in how he twists your sense of medium & scale. Find more of his work on Behance.
Put simply, a fractal is a never-ending pattern. Put not-so-simply, a fractal pattern is a "geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry." From rivers to trees to mountains, nature is full of fractals, making these amazing patterns both complex and familiar at the same time.
With tools like Google Earth at our fingertips, people like Paul Bourke, a Research Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia, have put cool websites together like this one, featuring some of the most stunning aerial shots of Earth's landscapes that you'll find on the internet. With the help of other geographical enthusiasts, Bourke has a pretty extensive collection of fractals from all over the world. We selected some of our colorful favorites to share with you guys.
United States of America
Pretty amazing, huh? If you're interested in learning more about fractals, check out some of these other interesting links:
Ouke no Tani: El Giza no Fuuin / King’s Valley II: The Seal of El Giza, MSX 2.
Some of the music from this game was remixed by Michiru Yamane and used in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.
(Konami - 1988)
from Wikipedia: “The game consists of six pyramids each with its own wall engravings and color pattern; every pyramid contains 10 levels. The idea of the game is to collect crystals called soul stones in each level by solving the different puzzles and evading or killing the enemies using the many tools and weapons available to unlock the exit door that will take you to the next level.”
Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together concept art.
An ad showing the cover of Xanadu Next (2005) by Falcom, along with a wallpaper of the source art. This game was a spin-off of the 1985 action-RPG Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu. It was later ported to N-Gage as a multiplayer game.
Shining Force: Kamigami no Isan (JP)
Shining Force (NA)
Shining Force: Kamigami no Isan VS. Shining Force, 1992/93