EMP Countdown 5! 3 More Days…

Apologies for the inconsistent post titles, I can’t ever remember what I used before and nothing seems to sound right.

Day #5: Jonathan Lavigne (& a bit of Paul Robertson too)

Jonathan Lavigne or Pixeltao is a devoted developer/pixel artist who is responsible for the great look of several awesome games. Despite my fondness for exciting, experimental, rule-breaking, risky indie developments, I love Lavigne’s game making rhetoric. On his blog he says:

I love every aspect of the process involved in making video games: pixel art, coding, game design and drawing. I don’t have any pretentions about being original or experimental. What I’m really into is creating simple, fun and well designed games.

Ninja Senki was the first of Lavigne’s games I came to discover, drawn in by its strikingly colourful pixel-art and and subtle retro-references. Just as he describes, there’s nothing unpredictable about this game- the player really knows what to expect. It’s just a rehash which plays like a multitude of enjoyable games. Which makes it successful!

Lavigne’s next big creation was Wizorb, another retro rehash. Wizorb just takes elements from all over the place, from classic RPGs to action and adventure games, and combines them with a classic “block breaking” style main campaign. Lavigne points his potential players towards games they may have played in their past such as Breakout and Arkanoid. Personally, I had a clone of something like this on an early Windows PC! The twist on this clone is that there is a story plot set in a fantasy world, and as well as playing in this breakout style, the player can use items they’ve gained whilst playing to purchase new skills etc. which breaks away from the arcade-style high score objective. In my opinion, by remaking a collection of old games and merging them together, Lavigne has actually created something quite new and exciting.

Lavigne’s biggest success has to be his work on Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Videogame, where his ability to clone really comes to light. The game takes the style of a Streets of Rage style beat ’em up, including many of the same gaming cliches which are common amongst this genre. The game is the perfect accompaniment to the comic series and the motion picture, which use a lot of retro videogaming themes and throw in references all over the place. The game includes the character art and animation of Paul Robertson, an anime inspired pixel-artist with some… strange tastes. Robertson uses frame-based animation to create his 2D game-sprite like animations, however the game itself is not made in a completely traditional way, evident in elements such as the large non-tiled background images.

One of Robertson’s few animations non-obscene animations, depicting the film Attack The Block. Most of Robertson’s images/animations either directly or indirectly reference retro videogames in some way!

Links For Jonathan Lavigne:
Official Pixeltao Blog
About Scott Pilgrim on the PixelDrip Gallery

Links For Paul Robertson:
Paul Robertson on Livejournal
Scott Pilgrim Sprites on Game Set Watch