why lo-res?

I now see ultra-low-res pixel art as a kind of digital cartooning. It stands right on the line between the symbolic and the representational, leaving plenty room for viewer interpretation. Why draw sideburns when the viewers can imagine sideburns on their own? You just need to give them something to pin their imagination on, something to guide them a bit—cartoons are perfect for that.

-From Jason Rohrer’s statement on Gravitation.

There are a few other reasons that I like using tiny sprites, i.e. it’s more pleasurable than drawing larger ones, it’s easier in my skill range, there’s a fluidity to the movement in really lo-res that’s exceedingly difficult in higher resolutions (watch the opening screen of Gamma Bros* to see what I mean).

But then there are some philosophical reasons for it as well. I won’t go into them right now, but what’s interesting is I’m not sure which is the cart and which is the horse; did I have a philosophical reason to choose lo-res, or did I choose lo-res because it’s all I could pull off and then embraced a philosophy? Doesn’t really matter, once the two exist they orbit around each other, and philosophical ideas start to refine and restrict the art and artistic details inform the philosophy. From a purely design-based standpoint, it was important to have the characters all visible on the screen at once, at different elevations, and to be able to fit a one-eyed monster into the scene without having to zoom out.

Maybe when an episode has been released, I can talk about the deeper meanings. Meantime, feel free to conjecture!

*the PixelJam website seems to be down today, but I assume that’s a fluke.


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