To people of a certain age the high point of pixel art was the 80’s and 90’s. Pixel art was brought to the mainstream with the release of game consoles in the early eighties and reached it’s zenith in the 90’s. These decades saw the rise of computer games, but as the years went by and the computers became more powerful pixel art became replaced with more polished and smoother graphics and textures. However in recent years there has been a renaissance in pixel art, fuelled in part by retro geek-chic but also by smart phones and other digital devices that allow classic games from bygone eras to be played on the go. Pixel is back baby!
Those 8-bit and 16-bit graphics we all loved back then often evoke feelings of nostalgia and take us back in time. Nostalgia aside, pixel art is a wonderful art form in its own right and many of us have come to love it. With so few pixels to work with pixel artist’s had to make each one count and count they did, there are many iconic images that are seared into gamers consciousness. The recent rise in the indie game scene has seen many new studios and indie developers using the pixel art style to create their games as it compliment their work and makes game production more accessible and financially viable. To this end I created a series of lessons where the children had to produce graphic illustrations using pixel art as their inspiration. When creating the lessons I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the children could identify the various old-school pixel art computer characters, the children easily identified such icons as Mario, Pacman and Sonic but the more obscure icons such as Samus Aran and Donkey Kong were quickly recognised too. Pixel art will feature heavily in our game creating sequence of lesson plans later in the school year but for the meantime here are some examples of the work the children did.