>> Saturday, July 14, 2007
The most popular CD-i titles will always be the titles licensed by Nintendo. Both loved and hated, a lot of people never gave them a chance and go along with the mass opinion. Today we're following a nice story recently posted at The Black Moon Project about the art that has been used in the Nintendo CD-i games. Because there's more than meets the eye ;). Thanks to Kao (from Zeldapower) we tracked down the artist behind Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon: Rob Dunlavey. Maybe you remember the official Zelda CD-i art reproductions we presented you in a charity auction? Next Devin contacted the artist behind Hotel Mario: Trici Venola. Both beautiful artists, click on 'read more' to see more ;)
Rob Dunlavey: "I recently got some fan mail regarding background paintings I'd made back in the early 1990's for several computer games. This work is terrifically different from my current mix of more-or-less recognizable illustration/design styles. I still really love this work so I thought I'd share it with you. Back in the early 1990's, I was employed by a computer game developer in Cambridge, MA. The best work I did there were the numerous painted backgrounds for two adventure games that played on the (soon-to-be-obsolete) CD-interactive sytem made by Philips. Programming was later added to the images to allow the animated characters to walk , jump and fight on the various surfaces. The images are fairly small and in proportion with television screens The backgrounds usually scrolled with the action; seeing them in their original state in this gallery is not the way gamers would experience them. The paintings started with extensive sketching in pencil and final rendering in Painter and Photoshop. Here are some of my favorites." Do you recognize these settings from the original game?
Kao: "Artist Rob Dunlavey created the amazing background paintings which players enjoy in Link: Faces of Evil. These images started as extensive pencil sketches and ultimately became the full, digitally painted (via Wacom tablet) backgrounds you see here, by using Painter in conjunction with Photoshop. Dozens of these such paintings had to be made for all of the scenes in the game. These images are in their original, full-color palettes." As Rob sais, his work on Zelda CD-i is far different from what he usually creates. Here are a few examples of his style:
Rob Dunlavey: "The particular game was titled "The Adventures of Link: The Faces of Evil". The Link character (an adventurous boy elf) was licensed from Nintendo by Philips which was trying to break into the gaming console business. They failed a few years later. For a few years, I was able to claim Nintendo players and titles as business expenses! I have to sheepishly admit however, that I hate to play computer games, always have. This work was done at the time when 3-d computing was just starting to make an impact on the desktop game market. The games I was involved in, while pushing the 2-d technology and aesthetic were essentially "behind the curve" of where the market went. So it goes. Back then, editorial looked pretty good so I started marketing that and the rest is history! ;-)" Take a look at the pictures above and compare them with the ones below. These were used in the game, including the character, enemies and health bar:
However, these few images do not justify the complete style of Rob nowadays, and I highly recommend you to visit his extensive gallery to see more art like this. And before I forget, his images are copyrighted by Rob Dunlavey, and used here for illustrational purposes only.
Devin: "The Fantasy Factory™ developed Hotel Mario is one of those oddities that turn up in video games every so often. Even stranger is the often overlooked psychedelic level design and artwork attributable to one Trici Venola. In a tribute to the artist (...and because we failed to contact her!) we've put together an article of sorts entitled 'The Art of Trici Venola'. We found plenty of resources and some marvellous digital artwork by Trici Venola that goes some way to explain the influences that inspired the design of Hotel Mario. Although some of the artwork is quite shocking, the content is very powerful and the style should appear very familiar to those that have played the game. It's not often Black Moon fails to make contact with a CD-i developer once we've tracked them on-line, however Trici Venola has proved a slippery fish! This is probably with good reason, as some final remarks on her website state that she's 'Travelling alone and drawing everything', presumably in Turkey. The website is 'The Art of Trici Venola' where we first got excited by the passage describing her work on a certain Mario Bros game. A quick look at the credits of Hotel Mario confirmed our suspicions, this was the artist we had been looking for.
For the original site you really should visit 'The Art of Trici Venola' for further colourful pieces of her work. Described as 'L.A. - Driven Cyberart', Trici Venola tried to preserve classical painting techniques and principles when applied to the rather limited constraints of computer software. The artwork as might be expected is outlandish and definately aspires towards controversial content. None more so than the 'Monsters and Bimbos' collection, some favourites include 'California Girl' and 'Precious Little SanMo'..." Take a close look at the picture below and find out the inspiration of Trici Venola that is used for the art in Hotel Mario. The hotel and the tree are remarkable!
Los Angeles mac artist Trici Venola is an award-winning commercial illustrator who has built game art for Mattel, Disney, Sega and the Mario Brothers. She's created art for Eddie van Halen, Paramount Pictures, Norton Utilities and two major campaigns for Apple.
Thanks to Kao, Devin, Rob Dunlavey and Trici Venola
All art images are copyrighted by their respective owners and posted here for illustrational purposes only!