The Abstract Art Style wiki last edited by SaturdayNightSpecials on 10/22/13 04:04PM
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Abstract art style employs lines and geometric shapes that are not meant to resemble anything in particular. Geometry Wars and Breakout are two well-known examples.
Early game developers often chose abstract visuals, because real objects could only be crudely translated into game graphics at the time; this was especially true prior to the release of the NES, on consoles such as the Atari 2600. Some games were given context in the manual or marketing that the game alone could not convey, such as Yars' Revenge or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Without this external context, both games would be considered graphically abstract. With it, however, they must be seen as heavily stylized or primitive.
'Abstract' does not simply mean stylized or cartoonish. Dictionary.com defines the word as it relates to art: "of or pertaining to the formal aspect of art, emphasizing lines, colors, generalized or geometrical forms, etc., esp. with reference to their relationship to one another". For a work to be considered abstract, it should not resemble or represent anything real or derived from real life, even in a heavily stylized way. This excludes games with exaggerated visuals like Mark of the Ninja, as well as surreal games like The Neverhood.