For the first post on this blog which celebrates all things 8-bit I had to place a review of a new title which showcases some incredible pixel art. Aficionados of the Pixel Art scene will have heard of the author – Andy Green has been a lauded artist and designer of classic and original loading screens. Using the original computer hardware, he has crafted some incredible and beautiful images. Until recently these could only be found on forums and Facebook groups. Thankfully there is no need to scour the internet for his banksy-like work as it has been collected in an attractive coffee-table book.
Upon opening this attractive tome, I was greeted with powerful and evocative images which at times tantalise and tease the senses and alternatively stun you with striking composition and colour co-ordination. When you sense the grand scale of the projects, the attention to detail and the ability to push the limitations of the hardware being used its clear that this publication is a major triumph for Andy.
This entire book is a love letter to the genius of gaming artists from the 8 and 16-bit eras. I would content that had Andy been utilising these skills in the 80s he would have been constantly in demand.
Throughout the pages there’s more than just gaming art, there’s homages to covers that should have been but never were. A section of breathtaking original art (one piece which is a particular favourite of mine – a Winter cottage scene is inserted below) and even a nod to his favourite book series – Fighting Fantasy. Each time you turn one of the 140 pages you are never entirely sure what is coming next but you can be sure of the giddy excitement of artistic discovery.
Looking at the above image, there’s an incredible sense of perspective and beautiful shading and hues. I found myself looking at this piece of artwork for over 30 minutes, finding something new to lose myself in. Whether it was the icy lake or the attention to detail on the heavy snow covered trees. I found myself returning to this screen over and over – with a feeling of a Thomas Kincade canvas, this evokes such feeling.
Within the pages you will also find some game screens that Andy has created for new indie-published game titles for the Spectrum and most interestingly screens for games that never graced systems. One particular highlight was a screen for the classic Flashback game. Looking at the screen below, you could see how the game could have been ported to the system. Such is the power of Andy’s work.
Andy also includes artwork using the Amiga hardware and also takes advantage of the upcoming Spectrum Next to create screens featuring stunning palettes available in the new system.
One more reason to purchase this book is that all proceeds are going to an MS charity. The contributors themselves are not getting a cut of the sales. This gesture alone makes it worth a purchase, never mind the fact that this may be THE book to place on your coffee table to while away many afternoons with a few biscuits.