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Last updated on Oct-18-2019 Download

Getting a lot out of little

Getting a lot out of little
by on (#221194)
I don't know if this would have been more apt in the NES Graphics category, but the idea isn't just graphics as much as the general presentation of an NES game.

One thing I'm a huge fan of in the history of especially late era NES games, is seeing developers getting away with more than you'd usually expect from the NES. There are some great examples out there of creative coding doing things you wouldn't normally expect, or timed code for awesome raster effects, or just super optimized algorithms that really press the hardware to the max.

But what I'm more interested in, is the subtle creative skill of getting the most out of just plain what you expect from the NES. A classic example is the extensive, beautiful use of black negative space in the background graphics of Batman.
Some of my favourite examples however, are these:

The intro to Final Mission - In particular, the explosion effect at ~0:51 - The slow panning, fantastic use of colors, and repeated debris sprites make this effect stand out over most other cutscenes I've seen on the NES, despite doing nothing to challenge the limitations we are already used to (repeated tiles? check! limited palettes? check!)

The final boss entry in Little Samson - This is one of the finest moments in NES games to me. Arriving at the crazy looking clockwork throne room as a flash of lightning lights up the room, letting you see the boss chilling in his chair. The light dies down (allowing a bunch of bg tile switching), and by the next flash of light, he's gone from the chair, and appears standing in front of you. Such a simple trick, but an incredible bone chilling effect! (never mind how the guy in the video proceeds to completely destroy him by abusing the mouse bombs :P)

I'm looking for inspiration though. What are some of your favourite moments of amazing presentation using only the "tools" you're already used to seeing on an NES?
Re: Getting a lot out of little
by on (#221199)
On top of my head:

-the cinematic opening to stage 1 in both cv1 and cv3. It’s just good directorship. It tells you all you need to know in a few seconds.

-intro to hunt for red october. very stylish. way better than the actual game.

-the cape flap in batman: return of the joker.

-the way mr.gimmick levels are drawn sometimes feels more like an animated show than a game.
Re: Getting a lot out of little
by on (#221214)
I've always been really impressed with the interstitial screens on Solar Jetman.

Things like these landing screens and the launching screen.
Re: Getting a lot out of little
by on (#221217)
I was thinking of solar jetman, but couldn't decide whether to mention it or not :D

I always loved the smooth shuttle animation in solar jetman. The cutscenes did impress me back when, and they felt a bit "pc gamey", which is probably a bit of a brit thing at that point in time. Compare with iron sword and solstice.
Re: Getting a lot out of little
by on (#221258)
Kirby does a nice variant on the castelian trick: ... qp_500.gif

what sets it apart from similar game scenes is that the wheel sprite is implying that things are going very fast, at the same time as the metasprite is moving pretty slow across the screen. It's very effective in combination with the bg animation.