Over on 1UP’s Retronauts blog, Bob Mackey has posted an interesting piece, which is actually the third of a series, wherein he takes a look at the pixel art (or sprites, if you prefer) of old video games, and notes how they don’t always seem very representative of what you will see in a game’s art.
This particular entry caught my eye, as he focuses on the first video game foe many people ever saw: The Little Goomba from Super Mario Bros. on the NES. The Goomba, or Kuribo as it’s known in Japan, is often depicted as a traitor to the Mushroom Kingdom which sided with the Koopa; in Japan, they’re meant to chestnuts. In either case, that’s not what Mackey sees when his eyes fall upon the 8-bit visage of one of Mario’s weakest foes.
What do you see?
At the end of the article, he invites readers to name other misinterpretations of pixel art. For the sake of convenience, here’s what I had to say:
Will from Illusion of Gaia: Somehow, the sprite just looked so much cooler to me than the actual art. And I thought his flute was something bigger, closer to a baton or a staff than the tiny thing his art in the manual depicts.
Mega Man X on the Super NES always looked like he was smiling/smirking to me.
And speaking of Mega Man, I don’t know if this counts, but it was forever before I knew Mega Man and Roll were supposed to be akin to ten year old children, because they stood so damn tall next to Drs. Light, Wily, and even the mighty Russian Cossack! The actual art does nothing to dispel this, even in the somewhat-better proportioned Mega Man 8 style.
Four feet tall! Not even as tall as Mario.
Oh, and Princess (Peach) Toadstool in the first Super Mario Bros. game always reminded me more of Wilma Flintstone than the art they would use to depict her. Thank God for the subsequent makeovers.
The first time I saw Lakitu in the instruction booklet, I thought it looked like he was riding a tooth.
Octoroks in the first Zelda never looked much like octopuses (octopii?) to me. When I first played saw the game being played before reading the booklet, I thought it was a top-down view that hid a pair of little feet underneath.
So, do any of you have any to share?