Why Developers make their new games look old

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Call it nostalgia or being a rebel. Just don’t call these games cheap. They are hard work to make, not to mention expensive too. Pixel art is not simply running your favorite image through a filter to pixelate it. Pixel art is making an image look round and soft while using squares. Programming the game might be cheaper nowadays compared to what it was 20 or 30 years ago, but the best game engines can cost over $1,000 and there are usually no formal education to learn how to use these engines. If you want to be a purist, you can code the whole game by hand for several months or years.

Many developers (mostly independent) have opted for the 8-bit look and invest lots of time on the (not so) perfect isometric pixel art. These games often pay homage to games the developers grew up with. Just do a search on Zelda clones and you will get over 1,840,000 results. The best clone I have seen for is for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 2D (OoT 2D) — reported by Wired. OoT 2D pay homage to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past — my all-time favorite SNES game.

These games have simply changed the hardware they run on and where they are done. Two or three decades ago, some of these games were made for platforms like Atari 2600 and personal computers like C64 by white shirt and tie programmers for big corporations like Ocean and Virgin.

What hasn’t changed is the gaming industry looking for the next multi-million dollar title. In other words, geeks and gamers remain fairly the same. At the end of the day, that is all that counts.

Article by Frank Olvera