I am the artist for the game Incursion (& yes shameless plug here: http://www.incursion-game.com)
I am happy to say that reception over all for the Incursion beta demo has been pretty great… & I just want to blog a bit about my inspiration & reasons for making the art.. the way it is… nostalgic..
It was my sister’s birthday & I must have been about 5 years old. The thing my sister wanted for her birthday more than anything else was an NES. Back in those days my dad was still in medical school supporting a family with two kids.. how he did it.. i don’t know…. especially with a car that would only start if you hit the engine with a hammer (literally)
My parents were strapped for cash, but I knew how much my sister wanted an NES for her birthday. My grandparents have always been the type that hand out cash to you every time you see them & as a young kid you tend to hold onto whatever money they give you because what are you going to spend it on? I had probably about fifty dollars (could have been less, but that is what my memory tells me) & so I convinced my parents to allow me to help pay for the NES so that we could afford to buy the system for her birthday since I knew how much she wanted one.. Heck, I wanted an NES too.. but I was younger than my sister & just knew that the way she talked about the nintendo that it was something awesome.
It took some convincing, but I remember standing in the store saying “Steph wants a nintendo for her birthday!” my parents were hesitant but they decided to buy the console.. i remember being so excited and thinking “Steph didn’t think they would get her an NES, but I helped get her one!… whether or not I actually gave them money towards it or not… I can’t really remember, but I could swear that I did. After that… well lets just say a lot of mario was played since it came with the system & for a long while we didnt have any other games because my parents were broke.
My sister and I used to rent the original Zelda religiously since my parents didn’t have the money to purchase it until later on… My sister played more than I did since I was a bit too young to grasp what was going on.. to be honest I think she was too, but she still managed to get pretty far. I was there watching her play for moral support & keeping track of where she had been already in the game world etc… I didn’t care that I wasn’t playing just watching was enough for me.
There was something so magical about all of those nes games.. & I still remember asking santa for dragon warrior & sitting on one of my grandparents friends lap who was dressed as santa at a family party & thinking it really was santa.. & then! There it was! Dragon Warrior!!! I couldn’t have been more excited & it gets me still to this day very emotional thinking about it. I ran to my sister “LOOK, LOOK! DRAGON WARRIOR!!!!”
If you haven’t figured out the point of these two stories out of the many many many stories of my fond memories of playing games as a kid.. well.. let me explain it to you…
Playing video games with my sister when we were kids was so exciting.. wonderful, full of imagination etc… & probably some of the best times I had as a kid.. I hated school.. in fact i still do.. but not nearly as much as I did when I was younger.. Video games filled me with all the great experiences life has to offer a kid.. the sense of wonder, the beauty, the new & exciting world.. the innocence.. Looking back playing games as a child captured the experiences of being a child in one awesome experience.
Then I was in middle school:
When I was 15 I met this weird new kid in school who dressed like he was a character from the movie hackers.. We ended up talking in a computer class & we both saw that we were making funny art & animations instead of doing the work we were supposed to. This weird “hacker” kid ended up being really into computers.. I remember going to his locker when we first became friends and he opened it up and a pile of programming books filled the entire locker so much so he had to carry his bag with him to each class & he could barely shut the locker..
This weird hacker kid would become my best friend Pete Jensen who still is my best and now my only “real” friend besides my girlfriend, brother & my siblings. Next thing I knew I was getting into pc video games like doom & quake & Pete introduced me to level editing… Since I had a knack for art Pete decided we should try to make games together.. and that’s how I got my start.. making pixel art for a game engine pete wrote from scratch at 16 years old using ansi c.. and when i say from scratch.. I mean from SCRATCH! I had found something that I really enjoyed & even wrote in my freshman year letter to myself that I would read when I graduated: to summarize “I want to make games when I graduate & if I have to… go to school for art or graphic design” Ten years later and way too many failed game projects to count.. well! Doing art for Incursion is a dream come true & happy to say I am almost done with my graphic design degree.
The art of Incursion comes from my true true true true true love for old games & my childhood both playing games and not. It’s meant to be kinda lofi & kinda crappy (well at least in some peoples opinions…) I have been doing the nostalgic art thing since way before it was cool.. I have been doing indie game development as well since before it was popular since when I was 15 doing pixel art with my friend Pete it was definitely not a cool thing to be doing.. in fact all I wanted was a more modern engine so I wasn’t so restricted by pixel art/8-bit graphics/256 colors. How things change.. =).. I still love vector art & hope that maybe the next game I work on will be vector art based.
I absolutely love the indie game scene since its what I have wanted to be a part of since before it really took off like it has now. Was I a pioneer? I dunno… but in some ways what Pete & I were doing was a head of its time for being behind its time.. as in doing nostalgic artwork and gameplay which is now more of a popular thing… since I was 15 over 10 years ago… i am an old man who is about to turn 27.
The artwork of Incursion is not nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake.. it is not a marketing strategy.
The art comes from a deep emotional place that stems from my life & history of playing games. I hope to include with my art and characters in Incursion at least a decent amount of mythology, jungian concepts that goes at least a bit beyond what most games have and hope that Incursion will have a deeper meaning to it.. about the human experience.. about growing up and discovering who you are… a message of some sort to be found within the gameplay and art. I am a contemplative individual that wants to make a game that leaves you with some sort of impression.. that has always been my goal with working on a game.