Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

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Ronian53
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Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Ronian53 » Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:15 pm

Now in today's industry, you can see a lot of western developers recreating the NES japanese pixel style in indie games. And even create anime characters that look straight from Japan. But in the 90s, developers from America, Europe and Japan had a different art style. Japanese games looked the most professional, American pixel art looked a bit rough, and Europe looked closer to Japan, but with much more gradients. What caused artists from different regions to have a different style back then?

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rainwarrior
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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by rainwarrior » Thu Dec 10, 2020 1:06 pm

Why did Ronian53 create all these discussion question threads and never reply to any of them?

I'm starting to think they're just going to edit spam into all their old posts any day now...

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Nikku4211
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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Nikku4211 » Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:44 pm

rainwarrior wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 1:06 pm
Why did Ronian53 create all these discussion question threads and never reply to any of them?
When you're bored in Corona times... It happens.
Ronian53 wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:15 pm
Now in today's industry, you can see a lot of western developers recreating the NES japanese pixel style in indie games. And even create anime characters that look straight from Japan. But in the 90s, developers from America, Europe and Japan had a different art style. Japanese games looked the most professional, American pixel art looked a bit rough, and Europe looked closer to Japan, but with much more gradients. What caused artists from different regions to have a different style back then?
How can you verify that this is a regional thing? Which games are you talking about, anyway?

Doom (1993) was made in the US and looks really fine, even if we don't take into account that its renderer was advanced for its time. Sierra and LucasArts games from the 1990s also look professional.

If you're talking about console games, LucasArts also made some console games, and they're no exceptions.
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anikom15
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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by anikom15 » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:13 pm

I don’t know about Western art being less ‘professional’ but in the 80s and early 90s Japan had an economy unlike anything else in history. Funding for artwork was generally not a problem. Western game companies were on much shakier ground financially, esp. immediately after the video game crash.

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Pokun » Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:14 am

I think there were a tendency for Japanese games to put more work on the art.


But I'm with Rainwarrior, I would like to hear some examples from OP, what he had in mind.

Ronian53
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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Ronian53 » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:35 pm

Usually in games developed in America they had tons of dithering, while Japanese and European games used dithering, they only used a checkerboard pattern which would blend together and look more pleasant. But American developers seemed to use harsh dithering patterns which wouldn't even blend properly and looked ugly on the eyes. I don't know how to describe this but their art sometimes also looked more rough.

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Nikku4211 » Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:59 pm

Ronian53 wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:35 pm
Usually in games developed in America they had tons of dithering, while Japanese and European games used dithering, they only used a checkerboard pattern which would blend together and look more pleasant. But American developers seemed to use harsh dithering patterns which wouldn't even blend properly and looked ugly on the eyes. I don't know how to describe this but their art sometimes also looked more rough.
Okay, but can I get some game names here?
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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Pokun » Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:42 am

Yeah western games do seem to favour dithering a lot more. I'm not sure if there is a technical reason though, as Japanese games for certain platforms also seems to use a lot of dithering. Especially for computers that didn't use tile- and sprite-based video composing, such as PC-88. It might just be to increase the number of colours.

Xanadu, PC-88 version

Xanadu, MSX version (MSX1 uses tiles and sprites.)

46-okunen Monogatari: The Shinkaron, PC-98

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Nikku4211 » Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:34 pm

Pokun wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:42 am
Yeah western games do seem to favour dithering a lot more. I'm not sure if there is a technical reason though, as Japanese games for certain platforms also seems to use a lot of dithering. Especially for computers that didn't use tile- and sprite-based video composing, such as PC-88. It might just be to increase the number of colours.

Xanadu, PC-88 version

Xanadu, MSX version (MSX1 uses tiles and sprites.)

46-okunen Monogatari: The Shinkaron, PC-98
Dithering is usually used because the artists needed more colours out of either the system's or their palette.

PC-88 seems to usually only display 8 colours at once for V1 and V2 mode, and PC-98 can only display 16 colours at once.

The MSX1 might use tiles and sprites, but it only has 15 colours, and depending on the video mode, either a group of 8 tiles has only 2 colours each or just each 8x1 region. The very same video chip used by the MSX1 has also been used in the SG-1000, ColecoVision, TI-99/4A, and as backwards compatibility modes for the Master System and Game Gear.
I have an ASD, so empathy is not natural for me. If I hurt you, I apologise.

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Yave Yu
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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Yave Yu » Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:46 pm

I see your some topics, are you try to throw baits for fishing?

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Nikku4211 » Sun Dec 20, 2020 6:51 pm

Yave Yu wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:46 pm
I see your some topics, are you try to throw baits for fishing?
If he is, you're literally taking the bait hook, like, line and sinker.
I have an ASD, so empathy is not natural for me. If I hurt you, I apologise.

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Oziphantom » Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:59 am

What is your incept date Ronian53?

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by DarkKobold » Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:03 pm

I always wondered why all "PAL Trash" games looked the same -

Zero Kamikaze Squirrel, Oscar, Fire & Ice, Sink or Swim, Mr. Nutz, Incantation, Zool...

They were mostly collect-a-thons, and all pretty bad. And they had the same art style.

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Oziphantom » Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:36 pm

DarkKobold wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:03 pm
I always wondered why all "PAL Trash" games looked the same -

Zero Kamikaze Squirrel, Oscar, Fire & Ice, Sink or Swim, Mr. Nutz, Incantation, Zool...

They were mostly collect-a-thons, and all pretty bad. And they had the same art style.
Amiga ports, it was the "en vogue" style at the time.

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Re: Why did old video game pixel art look different depending on the developer's region?

Post by Oziphantom » Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:37 pm

Oziphantom wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:59 am
What is your incept date Ronian53?
AKA how old are you?

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