Artwork On Parade Feed

Original Mega Man Cover Paintings Revealed

Mega Man Soccer

While the online gaming community talks a lot about preserving original game code and assets, we don't often hear much about the boxes the old cartridges came inside unless we're talking about how having one boosts the value of the game in question.  All of that fancy art on the cover had to come from somewhere, and today's modern case covers usually spring from the minds of artists directly into Photoshop.  Back in the old days of the 1980s and 1990s, however. publishers commonly had to commission artists to paint actual canvas paintings for the cover.  Protodude's Rockman Corner has a nice exhibit of several of those paintings that were used for the covers of games such as Mega Man 3, Mega Man 6 , and Mega Man X.  Of the paintings on display, my favorite is Mega Man V (for Game Boy) because the character design style is what I always imagine for Mega Man when I think of the series, but I admit I'd love to have the Mega Man Soccer painting on my wall in a nice frame for the sheer "what the hell?" factor.

More Proof That Wario And Waluigi Are Knock-Off Mario Brothers

Mario and Wario hats

Nintendo has never revealed much about why Wario and Waluigi feel the need to copy Mario and Luigi, but there are plenty of signs that the duo are pretenders to the throne of great plumbing.  Their unkept mustaches and parodic physical appearances are one clear indicator that the two are not to be taken seriously, but did you know that this philosophy extends to their clothing as well?  And not just the inverse colors.  Thanks to high resolution character artwork for Mario Party: Star Rush, observant folks at Tumblr have noticed key differences in the fabric used to make Mario's hat versus Wario's hat.  It's some very interesting attention to detail.

The Mario Bros. and Wario Bros. hats are made out of completely different materials. While the Mario and Luigi have the embroidered emblems with sewn on borders, Wario and Waluigi have these felt-like patches, and it appears to be glued on instead as there is no stitches and the fabric is slightly raised.  The even stranger detail is that their hats are a different texture to the Mario Bros. With their caps being a fuzzy material, while the original hats are made out of a more a cotton twill. Overall the Wario Bros. hats feel cheap and newer, which is very suiting.

You'd think that with all of the gold that Wario has greeded away over the years, he could afford to have a decent hat made for him.  Nintendo's attention to detail is so important because it shows us smaller elements that contribute to the personalities and backstories of their characters. It would be easy to just apply the appropriate colors to the hats and call it a day, but not only did Nintendo's artists add textures that many people will never notice when they look at the artwork, they used the opportunity to choose appropriate textures for a minute detail like hat fabric and stitching.  Or, as my professional tailor/seamstress girlfriend says, "Costume detail: gotta love it!"

Dr. Wily: Portrait Of A Madman

Dr. WilyI know that hindsight is 20/20 and all, but when I see the gradual mental decline of Mega Man villain Dr. Albert Wily laid out in image after image, I think we should all have realized early on that the erratic scientist was not to be trusted and was very likely become a larger threat to us all.  Just because a man can create Robot Masters does not mean that he's well-balanced.  Take a look at this series of official Capcom character artwork that spans the classic Mega Man series from Mega Man (1987) through Mega Man 8 (1996) and you'll see his physical behavior and manner of dress start to show signs of the troubled soul within.  We really should have found help for him sooner beyond sending Mega Man in to clean up the mess again and again.

Continue reading "Dr. Wily: Portrait Of A Madman" »

Mario, Kirby, And Samus Aran Shine In The Nintendo Character Manual

WarioEarlier this year, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation author Blake J. Harris offered us a peek inside the official Nintendo Character Manual from 1993 where we learned such fascinating facts about classic Nintendo heroes and villains such as Yoshi's real name (T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas) and mushroom retainer Toad's original hometown (he has family in the Fungus Federation).  Now Blake has provided PTB with more pages from that guide.  Thrill at official artwork, PANTONE guides, and brief biographies for characters such as Luigi, Wario, Samus Aran, Kirby, and more.  Long-running questions about these characters are finally answered in this guide including Wario's relation to Mario and why Pauline returned to the Donkey Kong spotlight after an absence of nearly fifteen years.  Did you know that Mario loves opera music?  Some of this you may have seen before in previous excerpts (such as parts of Mario's bio), but I'm posting all that I have here in one place in the name of completeness.  It's a fascinating look behind the curtain at licensing guidelines that the end-consumer typically never gets to see.

Nintendo Character Guide (1993)_GreenExcerpts-01

Continue reading "Mario, Kirby, And Samus Aran Shine In The Nintendo Character Manual" »

Artwork On Parade: New 3DS Promotional Character Art

Nintendo characters in garish costumes

Nintendo of Japan cranks out of a lot of character artwork specific to its home region.  Some of the more expressive, cultural images (such as Mario and Princess Peach in traditional kimonos) rarely make it out of the country to be used in advertising the Nintendo brands overseas.  With the company preparing to launch the New 3DS in Japan, television commercials are already running to show off the new customizable faceplate options.  As part of the campaign, Nintendo's artists have put together some images of the company's famous characters such as Mario, Pikachu, and Link sporting some very garish, loud costumes to show that you can personalize your New 3DS to be as obnoxiously clashing as you want.  At least, I think that's the intent.  Let's have a look at some of these images.

Continue reading "Artwork On Parade: New 3DS Promotional Character Art" »

Nintendo Using Famous Characters To Promote Wii U

Wii UIt seems like such a natural, common sense move for Nintendo to use its famous stable of characters to promote the struggling Wii U, but the company has only now started to use Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and others to show off what the console can do.  New original artwork showing the characters using the Wii U's unique features has been uncovered by Kotaku and NeoGAF via Nintendo's Japanese website and for those of us who like new Nintendo art done in the old 2D style, these images are a total treasure.  Check these out!

Yoshi sings

I had no idea Yoshi was so musical, although I'd imagine that only being able to say "Yoshi" would limit his karaoke skills.  Mario is using the GamePad to choose the next song on the playlist while his dinosaur pal mangles some greatest overplayed hit, no doubt.

Continue reading "Nintendo Using Famous Characters To Promote Wii U" »

Sigma On Parade

Sigma Every hero has his or her arch-nemesis to battle again and again in a series of ultimate showdowns. While the original Mega Man squared off against Dr. Wily oh so many times, his successor Mega Man X was destined to take down the former leader of the Maverick Hunters following an encounter with Dr. Wily's legacy project that forever changed the future of humanity and robots alike.  Today's installment of Artwork on Parade follows the development of the villainous Sigma across his debut game and many sequels, but despite the fact that he returned for another face-off time and again in a variety of dangerous and deadly forms, in the end he was left shattered and damaged beyond repair or redemption.  On the other hand, he has a knack for rocking the stylish capes and bulky shoulder pads, so he can't be totally evil.  Not with that fashion sense. 

Continue reading "Sigma On Parade" »

Zebes On Parade: The Art Of Super Metroid

Samus hunts bounty With the new Metroid: Other M for the Nintendo Wii poised to tell another tale of the ongoing saga of Samus Aran, it seems like a good time to take a step back and have a look at one of the bounty hunter's most beloved adventures.  Considering that Other M opens at the end of 1994's Super Metroid, it's only proper to have a fresh look at the promotional character artwork created for the Super NES title nearly two decades ago.  From Samus herself to the titular Metroids to Space Pirates and Mother Brain's army of horrifying space monsters, planet Zebes saw a lot of action before being blown to kingdom come. Let's review a little of that madness before moving on to Samus's latest challenge.

Continue reading "Zebes On Parade: The Art Of Super Metroid" »

Nintendo Concept Logos On Parade

Paper Mario 2Whenever screenshots of an anticipated game currently in development are released, fans excitedly rush to see what famous characters such as Mario are up to this time.  We gawk over images of early game prototypes, but all too often we overlook how a game's logo can change during the development process.  In this installment of Artwork On Parade we'll examine several early concept logos from the Nintendo archives and compare them to the eventual finished product.  Sometimes a game's name may change, resulting in a slight tweak to some of the artwork.  Other times entire names and properties are altered, resulting in more sweeping revisions.  Then there's the little changes to fonts, colors, and all of the other aspects that make up a design.  Let's have a look at the major, the minor, and the downright unrecognizable alterations of the logos you thought you knew.

Mario Baseball

When Mario Superstar Baseball was first revealed for the GameCube back in 2005, it went by the more mundane title of Mario Baseball and featured this logo inspired by a traditional baseball diamond and a font for the word "Baseball" that would be at home on an actual jersey.

Mario Superstar Baseball 
By the time the game reached stores, however, it had picked up a "Superstar", dropped the diamond, and gained some color.  This logo fits more into the family of Mario logos with the rainbow lettering, but losing the diamond and the jersey font turned the overall design into something painfully generic.  Note the slight alteration to the font used for "Mario" as well. 

Continue reading "Nintendo Concept Logos On Parade" »

Bowser's Insides On Parade

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside StoryIt's been a long wait, but the North American localization of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has finally arrived courtesy of Nintendo, and with it comes a new collection of character artwork for us to study and adore.  Mario and Luigi are back to deal with the latest threat to the Mushroom Kingdom, this time teaming up with traditional antagonist Bowser to drive Fawful, the Engrish-cackling sidekick villain from the original Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, out of the kingdom once and for all.  The catch?  Bowser has inadvertently shrunk and swallowed everyone's favorite plumbers, sending the brothers on an Innerspace / Fantastic Voyage riff as the leader of the Koopas and self-proclaimed king of awesome handles things out in the conventional overworld.  Let's take a tour (with just minor story spoilers of around the first hour or so of the game) of some of the colorful cast of characters that populate Bowser's world (both inside and out) in this installment of Artwork On Parade.

Continue reading "Bowser's Insides On Parade" »