News Article

Life of Pixel Is a Platformer Set Inside Classic Computers

Posted by Sammy Barker

Way back machine

There have already been a handful of interesting ideas published as part of Sony’s cross-platform portable gaming initiative PlayStation Mobile – but Super Icon’s upcoming Life of Pixel is in a different league.

The quirky release – which is currently in submission with Sony – promises to deliver a puzzle platformer set inside classic computers such as the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum. According to the developer, all of the graphics were created “using the pixel resolution and palette restrictions of the [original] machines”. Consider us intrigued.

“This was a bit of a personal dream project as I never got to do game art for the older 8-bit machines,” creative director Richard Hill-Whittall explained on the developer’s blog. “It has been fantastic exploring the limitations of each machine and creating level graphics and sprites within those limitations, yet trying to make them look as good as possible.”

In addition to Life of Pixel, Super Icon is currently putting the finishing touches to its second PlayStation Mobile title Mega Blast. But despite committing to the platform in a big way, the developer reckons that the jury’s still out on Sony's new scheme.

“Sony has been very pro-active in sourcing content for PSM, and I believe that this is something they should continue to do, as PSM will be a hard sell for many developers,” Hill-Whittall continued. “The biggest kicker right now with PSM is the complete lack of a cross-platform development strategy. Currently, to get a PSM title onto iOS requires a significant amount of work."

Still, the studio's eager to see the platform grow – presumably because it's got two titles in the pipeline, and it needs to see a return on its investment.


User Comments (5)



Ginkgo said:

Richard Hill-Whittall had a personal dream to do game art with an 8-bit machine. Wow. Really? Having owned a C64 back in the day I know its limitations and how frustrating it is.

In it's high-res mode there 320 × 200 pixels, but the screen is grouped into blocks of 8x8 pixels, and each 8x8 region only supported 2 colours!

The effort and visual tricks needed to pull off graphics with this is hard to over emphasise. I don't know who would choose to do it by choice.
There was a low-res mode 160 × 200 pixel that supported 4 colours per 8x8 square making things a little easier.

I'm guessing that this game has just been done with the 320 × 200 pixels and 16 colours, But if he truly wants to live the "dream" he should embrace the full monty of trying to program on of these puppies with their 2 colour per square limitation.

If he actually has done then colour me impressed!



Slapshot said:

Oh wow, this looks interesting indeed. Good find Sammy, I'm going to have to check this out myself.



get2sammyb said:

@Slapshot Yeah, I thought this sounded fascinating too. Hopefully the platforming is up to snuff, because it seems like a really cool idea.

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