Opinion: Pixel art style wearing a little thin.

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LucidDreams117

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Just watching the Samurai Gunn quick look. Nothing against the actual gameplay. Looks like a fun couch game. Just so happened this was the game, or straw if you will, that broke the camels back.

This art style, pixilated, sprites, whatever it's referred to as, is getting boring and old for me. It no longer serves as a unique style. It's become rudimentary. In the last year alone, I'm sure I've seen 10 games with this style. It's no longer cool nor does it stand out. I'm no graphics whore. I'll admit I like good looking games but I also appreciate a good art style. Sadly though, this one has become overdone. It was awesome the first couple times but now, it's just another look for games.

To play devils advocate, I'm sure the same could be said for say, modern shooters and their look. It's just for me, this one is no longer special. It's almost to the point, where unless you understand and enjoy the era this look harkens back to, it's become ugly.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? Anyone else agree?

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ryanwhom

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Most games that use the style couldnt exist any other way. Its a budget workaround, a lot of people happen to like a style that's much cheaper and faster to make than other styles.

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crusader8463

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#3  Edited By crusader8463

Doesn't bother me if it's used correctly. It's more that it's an easy way to make something look good for smaller devs with inexperienced artists or for groups that can't afford to pay people who can make a ton of high quality art. With the indie scene getting more and more prominent you are going to see more of it. It takes a ton of good artists to make the quantity of art you need for a game of any size and most people don't have access to that.

Plus, some people just like the look of it.

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afabs515

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@luciddreams117: I can definitely get behind you on this. Any time I see an indie game with an art style like this, I tend to immediately write it off immediately. It was cool the first 500 times, but it's starting to get really old.

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Milkman

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I get the complaint but it's not that easy. Making games is expensive and sometimes pixel art styles are the only way these games can get made.

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Dalai

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Pixel art might be overused nowadays, but at least there's some more variety compared to 5-10 years ago.

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joshwent

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#7  Edited By joshwent

I think the animations in Samurai Gunn are great, but the pixel art is terrible. The colors, the tones, the rendering... it's all just meh at best. I know you're not talking about that game in particular, but it's the one that influenced you to post this, so yeah, that pixel art is bad.

And you're right, it's "just another look for games", but that's exactly what excites me. We're beyond the point where pixel art has to be this quirky nod to nostalgia, and coming to a new generation of using that style to create beautiful things in innovative ways. Take a look at these...

No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

and of course

No Caption Provided

and

No Caption Provided

Pixel art is becoming more of a media all its own. Saying one doesn't like it is like saying they don't like oil paintings or pencil drawings. It's not the style/media, it's how it's done that matters.

I'll agree that I'm sick of shitty pixel art, or a game relying on their sub-par art to be in a way excused because it's pixel art. But that has no bearing on how breath taking I think the images above and hopefully all the ones to come are.

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Sinusoidal

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Good thing you (probably) weren't around in the 80s/early 90s when everything was "pixel art". You wouldn't have been able to play games at all.

Which brings me to "pixel art" being a moronic term for what basically amount to low-resolution games. EVERY game is made of literal "pixel art". At what resolution does one have to be to no longer qualify as modern "pixel art"?

Gitt offa mah lawwwn!!

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Vuud

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#9  Edited By Vuud

Sometimes it looks awfully lazy, like characters with literally tens of pixels or less. Sometimes it comes off as hipster, like the "graphics don't matter, man" mentality. Which is BS, graphics in video games never didn't matter. Designers were pushing that hardware to the limit, getting the most they could from the technology they have, that's why games look the way they did as much as any stylistic choices. Going the retro way can also sometimes be seen as pandering. Two sort of retro-style indie games with wonderful 2D art I always refer to are Braid and Capsized. That's the way you do it.

Also my inner PC elitist nerd says "I spent all this money on this hardware, I'm not gonna waste it on this indiepixel junk."

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BeachThunder

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#10  Edited By BeachThunder

Crappy pixel art is wearing thin. Good pixel art isn't.

No:

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Yes:

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mikemcn

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Some games it really works. E.g. King Arthur's Gold.

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It's a game filled with explosions, things breaking and general chaos, it wouldn't work in 3D and if they tried it would be much less impressive and manic. Little bits fly off bigger bits creating fantastic destruction.

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Vuud

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#12  Edited By Vuud

But that I wouldn't even call "pixel-art" which is a VERY ill-defined term any way. It's just low resolution 2D sprites and backgrounds. I just think this stuff would look a whole hell of a lot better if it was higher resolution with a more hand-painted look, you know, less "computery". And the technology to do that is readily available and not taxing on hardware.

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Nekroskop

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#13  Edited By Nekroskop

I want games to look like MGS1's low poly style, but that would actually take some effort,so I'm not keeping my hopes up.

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BeachThunder

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@vuud said:

But that I wouldn't even call "pixel-art" which is a VERY ill-defined term any way. It's just low resolution 2D sprites and backgrounds. I just think this stuff would look a whole hell of a lot better if it was higher resolution with a more hand-painted look, you know, less "computery". And the technology to do that is readily available and not taxing on hardware.

Not ill-defined at all: it's art where detail is controlled on a per-pixel basis.

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MariachiMacabre

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#15  Edited By MariachiMacabre

@joshwent said:

I think the animations in Samurai Gunn are great, but the pixel art is terrible. The colors, the tones, the rendering... it's all just meh at best. I know you're not talking about that game in particular, but it's the one that influenced you to post this, so yeah, that pixel art is bad.

And you're right, it's "just another look for games", but that's exactly what excites me. We're beyond the point where pixel art has to be this quirky nod to nostalgia, and coming to a new generation of using that style to create beautiful things in innovative ways. Take a look at these...

No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

and of course

No Caption Provided

and

No Caption Provided

Pixel art is becoming more of a media all its own. Saying one doesn't like it is like saying they don't like oil paintings or pencil drawings. It's not the style/media, it's how it's done that matters.

I'll agree that I'm sick of shitty pixel art, or a game relying on their sub-par art to be in a way excused because it's pixel art. But that has no bearing on how breath taking I think the images above and hopefully all the ones to come are.

Goddamn. I forgot how absolutely gorgeous Fez and (especially) Superbrothers are.

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Three0neFive

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BeachThunder

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@beachthunder: So this, this and this is all pixel art?

I don't see how any of those would be considered to have control on a per pixel basis - I am talking about specific placement of individual pixels.

Do you consider those to be pixel art?

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hippie_genocide

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This recurring thread is wearing a little thin

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crithon

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I've been chatting with the artist of Owlboy, those guys are making something super special.

but I kinda know where Luciddream17 is coming from, and Jeff Gertsman also mentions this a lot "people use it to just blanket nostalgia and they seem to get it wrong." And that could be just me also, like they don't quite get the whole emulating that art style right "that's not 8 bit, that looks like 32 bit." or "The NES could never produce that many colors at the same time" or my personal thing that bugs me when they reuse the Locke model from FF6

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Sergio

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Yes.

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Vinny_Says

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just now?

It's been wearing thin since late 2011 or so, at least for me.

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Kovie

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#22  Edited By Kovie
@luciddreams117 said:
In the last year alone, I'm sure I've seen 10 games with this style.

Well, fuck. Better shut it down, then. I'm glad there wasn't a time where every video game had to adhere to the style or anything crazy like that.

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Christoffer

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I have no problem with the art style itself. But I do have a problem when a game become too self-consious and referential about it. Just make a good game and it's cool, don't choke me with the retro, nostalgia, 8-bit, pixel, "hey remember old games?" etc. etc. That trick just comes across as derivative and unnecessary to me these days.

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xaLieNxGrEyx

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#24  Edited By xaLieNxGrEyx

To The Moon

That is all

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Prestige

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#25  Edited By Prestige

Polygonal 3D art is wearing a little thin.

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RonGalaxy

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#26  Edited By RonGalaxy

If it's expertly made, it shouldnt really matter

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charlie_victor_bravo

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@ryanwhom said:

Most games that use the style couldnt exist any other way. Its a budget workaround, a lot of people happen to like a style that's much cheaper and faster to make than other styles.

Yes, if there is one or two people making a game, doing it in any other style could easily double or triple the production time.

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Sinusoidal

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I want games to look like MGS1's low poly style, but that would actually take some effort,so I'm not keeping my hopes up.

Actually, making a low-poly game would be quite a bit easier than some of the more detailed 2D games. At least from an art perspective. Hell, I could model MGS1 Snake pretty easily, and I can't draw to save my life.

The reason it's not done is because those early, low-poly, low-res texture 3D games look like shit. I'll take a nicely drawn 2D game over that any day.

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Nekroskop

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#29  Edited By Nekroskop
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MachoFantastico

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#30  Edited By MachoFantastico

Pixel art can look amazing, but I tend to agree that there's an over-saturation of it right now. That said, there's not an whole lot of options out there for smaller teams to design their games because most other engines require to much financial resource and manpower so it's a tough one to judge. Pixel art can still be super eye catching, but it needs to be something truly unique.

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phampire

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When any art style is done poorly it wears thin. I still like pixel art in general.

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tsutohiro

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@ryanwhom said:

Most games that use the style couldnt exist any other way. Its a budget workaround, a lot of people happen to like a style that's much cheaper and faster to make than other styles.

Not to mention that some games wouldn't even work well using polygonal models. Risk of Rain for example is an excellent game, but the perspective of the camera is so distant that it would just look pixelated anyway.

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Tordah

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I don't think I will ever grow tired of pixel art when it's well executed.

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avantegardener

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#34  Edited By avantegardener  Online

@ryanwhom said:

Most games that use the style couldnt exist any other way. Its a budget workaround, a lot of people happen to like a style that's much cheaper and faster to make than other styles.

This, but yeah, it's starting to wear a bit thin, but when it's executed well, it's still very striking. Funny thing is with only about 30-40 years history in the medium of video games, where do you go for your retro fix next.

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tread311

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Games have reached the place music has been for a while now in that there is so much out there that you can easily find the stuff you like and ignore the rest. There is something for everyone and we are better for it. Wasn't that long ago that these smaller games didn't happen.

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AMyggen

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#36  Edited By AMyggen

@phampire said:

When any art style is done poorly it wears thin. I still like pixel art in general.

Yup.

And what's the alternative for many of these games, really? Most "pixel art games" are indie games on a small budget, and are made like this as much because of lack of resources as anything. I much prefer pixel art topolygonal 3D art on a small budget.

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kaos_cracker

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Depends how pixely it is. If it is like Fez or something then I am fine with it, but if the game basically looks like a SNES game or something I don't wanna look at it.

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CptBedlam

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#38 CptBedlam  Online

@phampire said:

When any art style is done poorly it wears thin. I still like pixel art in general.

@phampire said:

When any art style is done poorly it wears thin. I still like pixel art in general.

..

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Justin258

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@luciddreams117: Ten games with this one style is a lot? Out of how many released this year?

And yes, some of them are going to look bad. That doesn't mean that the idea is bad, just that some of the people using it implement it badly. So what everyone else has said.

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Humanity

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#40  Edited By Humanity

Godspeed. Last time I tried to raise a point that indie developers should stop mimicking 8bit games from 1990 and try to come up with their own style I got instantly shouted down with "if you don't like it don't play it asshole!!!" And "oh so if you don't like it no one should play it huh idiot?!"

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Ares42

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I'd say there's good pixel art, and there's bad pixel art. However as things get more popular you generally start to see a bigger and bigger representation of the bad.

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Popogeejo

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#42  Edited By Popogeejo

Pixel art is just easy to pick on. It's no more prolific than using 3D models or whatever else but for some reason people feel like they can paint pixel art as one standard style when it's really a medium. It's like saying painting is overdone and all the same while ignoring all the difference between Caravaggio and Picasso.

The idea that there's an over saturation is also pretty misguided. It crops up a lot in Indie games but is barely there beyond that. It's just easy to pick out. As OP says, the same can be said of modern 3D games.

Pixelart may be losing it's "specialness" because Indie Devs are using it more but if it's done well then that two others games this week were also pixelart shouldn't matter.

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OurSin_360

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Yeah, like some said pixel art isn't a "style" really, it's more like a visual medium. It depends on what the artist does with it. I would call it a style for games like minecraft that seem to be rendered in 3d to look like it's pixel art

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Firepaw

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I'm getting a bit tired of the simple stuff, others have posted pictures of stuff that is fairly complex and absolutely beautiful - and I'm not tired of that.

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MEATBALL

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#45  Edited By MEATBALL

Crappy pixel art is wearing thin. Good pixel art isn't.

No:

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Yes:

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This, though McPixel's art does fit the game. But as a general guide, yeah.

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EMPRPNGN

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I think video games are a wide enough medium to encompass multiple forms of art design at the same time. It's not like there's no other choices. The Witcher 3 is coming out next year alongside pixel art style games, and that's totally alright.

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Illuminosopher

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I say if you don't like it don't play it, I mean you do know you don't have to right?

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development

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#49  Edited By development

@luciddreams117: I thought the same thing. This is no way an indictment against all pixel-art, being a pixel-artist myself, but that game's art style is super boring and actually seems a bit lazy.

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deactivated-590b7522e5236

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I'll take simple pixel art over deviant art sprites/backgrounds any day.