August 14, 2008

I am 8-Bit project - "Ode to Mega Man"

Growing up with boy cousins as our closest "play dates" necessarily introduced my sister and I to the world of video games. We were absolutely thrilled when our Dad come home one summer afternoon with this amazing new invention- INTELLIVISON! We marveled at our ability to maneuver a supremely simple pixelated character across the screen. Of course, my dad promised my mom this new toy was educational, and he bought the obligatory "Electric Company Math Fun" game for us to play (MUCH to our dismay!), along with Snafu, Armor Battle, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Night Stalker, etc. My sister would thrill in horror as she watched me play Dungeons and Dragons, and we'd hear that electronic growling or hissing before we entered the next room- meaning a confrontation with either a dragon or giant cobra was inevitable. The frustration of getting eaten by the silent but deadly brain lurking in the room adjoining the one with the dragon...@$!$#!

So what does all this have to do with my choosing Mega Man as my piece for the show you ask? Not much, other than to give you some idea of how many choices I had to weed through before landing on Mega Man. When we got our first Nintendo, it was amazing! We played Super Mario Bros. for hours, Zelda until my mom thought her ears would bleed from the "irritating" theme music, Contra and Life Force until we could get through the game without dying once (using the obligatory Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A B A select start code for 30 men), and Mega Man until I'd pounded every robot and defeated the evil Dr. Wily for good- or so we thought... who knew there would be video game sequels? :D
I won't even get into the time I severely sprained my ankle over Christmas break in Jr. High jumping hurdles on the power pad while playing Track and Field...

Mega Man was my absolute favorite game, and I spent hours on it. The characters were cute, (more like the cartoons I loved) much more developed than the original Mario Bros, and my sister would watch and cheer me on all afternoon as I played. (How cool was it that his eyes would blink if you left him standing still long enough! :)
I decided to do my own version of Mega Man rather than create an exact replica of him-where's the fun in that? :) I felt that I had to honor the simplicity of the design of the early games, which meant I had to create a look that had pixels. I couldn't find any patterned fabric that was pixelated, so I used strips from 5 different fabrics in each color way to sew together and create my own version of pixels. You can see this process on an earlier post in July. That was definitely the most tedious and involved part of the whole project- but worth it in the end. I wanted him to look a little more angry and determined, and I made the facial features look uneven like they were pixelated as well. He was a blast to make, I wish I'd had time to get one of the stage boss robots done too, but no such luck. Bummer! For more WIP progress pics, head over to my flickr page.

BTW- Ben got me the "10th anniversary Mega Man Collection" on Gamecube, and I tried playing Mega Man again, and boy am I out of practice! All the fine grained control of the Wii system has spoiled me... gotta get back to my roots and play some more!


Jesse Jordan said...

You're awesome, Leeana. I love checking out your work.

Design Monkey said...

Hi Leeanna,

I'd love to speak with you about a commission, but I couldn't find any way to contact you other than your blog. If you're interested, please e-mail me at chris dot govias at gmail dot com.


Chris Govias

Leeanna Butcher said...

Thanks Jesse! I appreciate your feedback. :D