Saturday, October 6, 2012

Indie Game Art Collection

Do you remember your best birthday present?

For me, it was this bike I got in 2nd grade - it was red and had long handlebars. It was beautiful.

I thought it would be impossible to ever beat that present - I mean, how could you exceed a 6-year-old's anticipation and imagination?

Well, it happened for me, yesterday!

Casey and Ginger contacted a bunch of indie game developers that I have worked with before and asked them for some artwork from their games. Then, they printed these onto painting canvases, and snuck into my house and installed them all!

They are amazing - the colors are vibrant and the art pops off the wall - it is simply astonishing.

Basically, I got home from RAD late, and came into my place, and BAM - this painting greeted me at the end of my entry way:

This is, of course, from Super Meat Boy, made by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes. Edmund supplied this amazing graphic - it looks sooo good and the printing is incredible. It is called "Meat Pile" and is stunning - it's so red in person that it's almost shocking.

At this point, I'm thinking "cool, Casey got me this painting!" It's awesome, and I'm ready to call him, when I round the corner and see this:

This is a grid of nine Rich Grillotti comics. Rich has made a bunch of indie games with Miles Tilmann, but Dino Run is particularly fantastic. These are called: Dying, Mini Orange Boss, Party Time, Rat Overeats, Zap at the Watercooler, Centipede, Froggy Eats, Reality Break, and Batman. The colors in these are unbelievable.

This is a close up of Reality Break (Rich gets so much from so few pixels):

And here is Batman up close:

There will another amazing one from Rich in a sec...

At this point, I'm freaking out! I turn around, and we have these three pieces:

In the upper left is "Snapshot" from the game Snapshot by Kyle Pulver - this painting is amazing in person, the eyes are super blue and the picture is so dynamic. Again, the printed colors are incredible.

Next to it, in the upper right, is Erin Robinson's "Oh Deer" which features art and the characters from her upcoming game Gravity Ghost. I love the tube socks on the deer! The hair really pops out from the blue-blackness behind her too. Incredible.

On the bottom right is "dys4ia", a series of graphics from Anna Anthropy's moving game dys4ia. I remember tearing up playing this game, and her painting shows all these moments. So cool!

Here's a close up of Snapshot (sorry about the framing on these three, I couldn't get back far enough). Isn't this color fantastic?!

And next, a close-up of "Oh Deer":

And a close-up on "dys4ia":

I'm totally blown away at this point, and look down the hallway to these three paintings, which I can tell immediately are from the upcoming StoryTeller game by Daniel Benmurgui:

Danial stayed with me over PAX and I told him lots of stories, and he made artwork from his game based on these stories! That's a little pixel-Jeff in the pictures (I even have spikey hair)!

This one is because I always say "It's bananas," about everything:

Next one, because I do video compression, of course. I love the tiny pixel-Jeff and the histogram next to us!

Daniel and I told each other stories of when we almost killed ourselves. His story was in a snow-bound volcano, mine was when I put dry ice in a bottle and screwed the cap on. His story is far more manily.

Finally, this is from a story where I once crashed my sports car into the side of the building that RAD was in. This was Mitch's fault mostly, but the sprinklers in the road were also responsible. I had nothing to do with it.

So, my mind is melting now, and we are only a little over halfway done!

Next, in one of the bedrooms, is "Chelonian Hill" by Jonas and Verena Kyratzes:

Jonas has made tons of games, but "The Sea Will Claim Everything" is super great. Jonas also included a story about this mighty turtle:

It is a tradition, in certain parts of the Lands of Dream, to celebrate birthdays by raising a toast to the Chelonian Hill. And like many traditions, it is both foolish and wise.

The foolishness has many aspects. For one thing, the Chelonian Hill is not a hill; for another, it may no longer be found in the region where the tradition itself began. You see, what the tradition calls a hill is in fact a turtle - or tortoise, as they are sometimes called - of immense proportions. No-one knows its true origin or age, but scholars believe it wandered the world many aeons before the coming of the younger peoples.

It was one such people who mistook the turtle for a hill; but to them it was not any hill. It was from the trees that grew on the Chelonian Hill that they built their first houses, and from the same trees that they cut the spears with which they subjugated their enemies. And so they saw this Great Hill as the foundation of their power, and to celebrate the day of his birth each man would stand in a mighty hall and raise his cup to the the immovable rock upon which the empire would stand forever.

Meanwhile, the turtle slept. From its own perspective, scholars tell us, it was only a brief nap.

When the turtle awoke, the great empire that had grown on its back was long forgotten, its place taken by another forest. Only in the traditions of those who had once been conquered did any trace of its history remain. Long after the turtle had stood up and continued its journey, to create another thousand legends across the world, people still raised their cups to the Chelonian Hill.

And in that lies the unintended wisdom of the tradition. For whatever was the greatness of that empire, whatever were its crimes - what are they now but a brief interlude in the journey of that immense creature? And what are we, who are not even empires?

Sing now, and dance, and speak until the stars are bright. Drink deep from the cup of life, for the hills are alive and the world will move beyond us.

So awesome!

Then, I turn the corner to find these three pieces from Jason Rohrer:

That's "Inside a Star-filled Sky" from the game of the same name, "Good Heart" from a Sleep is Death run-through, and "Between" again from Between. Amazing!

Here's a close up of "Good Heart":

And it went on!

Over the fireplace, I then found a beautiful painting by Stephen Lavelle. Stephen did the fantastic English Country Tune and sends me the best status emails ever. This piece is called "The Rose Garden":

And then, in my bedroom, over my bed, this piece took my breath away:

This is "Birth Of Venus" again by Rich Grillotti, a pixel art version of Botticelli's Birth of Venus. I didn't crop this one so that you could see the scale - it's huge and beautiful. Rich extended this version just so the aspect ratio would work for my room. You just whisper "wow" when you see it.

And finally, I found this painting in my living room. It is, of course, by David Hellman, a close friend, the animator on the best cartoon ever, and the artist on Braid, which inspired this work. I've seen it before, but it's just stunning at such a large size. This is "Braid Hourglass Castle":

It's just amazing and I'm so happy to have some David artwork in my home.

And then, I noticed this book on the counter. Ginger made me an amazing book that shows each piece on a lovely colored background - it's like something you would buy at a museum gift store!


I was so incredible that I really didn't know how to deal with it - I called Dawn, I called mom, I called my brother Shann to show them on Facetime. It's just amazing, and I get misty thinking about it.

I am stunned, and humbled, and unworthy of this incredible gift. I can't describe how blown away I am - it is the best gift I have ever received.

I must thank everyone involved, but especially Casey and Ginger for planning this entire production, managing the incredible painting process, creating the amazing book describing the paintings, writing the custom resizing filters for some of the paintings (yes, Casey did that - holy cow), and also just being the best friends ever. I just can't get over it - I've overwhelmed. Next month, when I get Casey some socks for his birthday, I will feel particularly asymmetric.

I also want to thank all of the amazing artists that donated their time and art:

Rich Grilloti - my goodness, you are a maniac! I can't believe how many paintings you supplied and how much work you did on Birth of Venus! Thank you!!!!

Daniel Benmergui - you crazy man, I can't believe you did all this, next time I will have to make you flan. I love pixel-Jeff!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Edmund McMillen - the very first thing people will see when they walk in my apartment is a huge pile of bloody meat boys. Also, I started eating meat, so that was probably your doing as well. Thanks, dude - you are the best!

Stephen Lavelle - thank you, thank you, I already get so much out of your awesome updates, that this is just frosting. It seems like you can do anything - thank you for making me feel so untalented!

Erin Robinson - I can't believe you took the time to make this custom art when you were knee-deep in your game and probably preparing for Indiecade. But it makes me so happy whenever I see a video of your ghost flying around. Thank you, thank you!

Anna Anthropy - I love your work and your passion - thank you do much for taking the time to do this, you are amazing!

Jason Rohrer - the only person I know taller and skinnier than me - we must start a crime fighting team some day where we employ our Powers of Narrowness. Thank you for all the nice things you do for me - too much!

Jonas and Verena Kyratzes - we just got to know each other and you are already sending me gifts that I can never repay! My goodness, thank you!

David Hellman - again, you blow me away. I have no idea how I will repay this, but I imagine it involved thousands of talking parrots. I never told you this, but I once sent you hundreds of parrots - all in a large Fed-ex box for afternoon delivery (that 10am scam is a racket). Alas, they perished in transit (something about the altitude), and Fed-ex refused to reimburse me. I'm sure the altitude story is a ruse, because birds already fly pretty high, so what's the extra few feet that a plane requires? In summary, I'm sure the CEO of Fed-Ex is living large with your parrots. Next time I will use UPS. But be prepared, the droppings will be considerable.

Also, Casey apparently had help tracking down all my indie buddies - thank you to everyone that helped in this entire production.

Best present ever - I feel like a 6-year-old!