When it comes to video games, this was the golden period. The industry was a vortex of excitement, cooperation, and invention, and it hasn’t slowed down since. In this essay, we’ll look at contemporary design’s obsession with ’80s video game design, which we’ll examine in depth.
Three of the most prominent early video game designers
Let’s take a look back to the golden era of gaming to get things started. For many young people in the 1980s, the openness and innovation of the three major video game industry giants had a profound impact on their lives.
In 1972, Atari Atari was introduced to the public. Home console systems released in 1977 by Nintendo altered the game and made them the fastest-growing US corporation ever, with at least 75% market share. Space Invaders, their most popular game, was an arcade classic. He crowned the golden age of gaming with the first Shoot ’em up video game subgenre established by Tomohiro Nishikado. Coin shortages were caused by the popularity of Space Invaders in Japan, which brought strategic gameplay with repeated images and luminous alien creatures to arcades. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (NES)
Donkey Kong was a huge hit for Nintendo in the arcades when it was released in 1981. Gaming was a booming business in the United States until 1983 when it all went downhill. Despite a 97% drop in revenue, the outlook for gamers was gloomy at best.
Nintendo had to entirely rethink its strategy like every other corporation. As a result, they took advantage of a gap in the American market. To emerge triumphant from the collapse, Nintendo released a high-quality home system, the Nintendo Entertainment System. That’s a good thing for the whole gaming business.
However, they needed a new start for the console’s major release. To front Super Mario Bros., Nintendo designers repackaged Donkey Kong’s hero Jumpman as the dungaree-clad poster boy Mario. Mario (and Nintendo) resurrected the video game industry with the help of their sibling Luigi, and they’re all still household names over 40 years later.
In contrast to Nintendo’s initial appeal to younger gamers, SEGA elevated the status of video games for the general public. In addition to being the most popular gaming option for every 16-year-younger old’s brother, they were a huge success in marketing to teens. Sonic the Hedgehog was a ruthless competitor to Nintendo, and he proved to be a business-defining moment for the corporation. There is a medical gene named after this mascot because of its widespread effect on modern society.
It was a time when LCD, vector, and raster graphics were used extensively in the ’80s video game screens, each having a unique look and feel.
Graphics on an LCD screen
Many portable games, including Nintendo’s “Game and Watch” series, were the first to use LCD (liquid crystal display) technology. A pre-formed collection of images on LCD panels never overlaps, but instead represents every potential arrangement of images in a given game. Traditionally, this form of the display was suited to tiny screens and simple games with limited capability since it used the same technology as vector graphics.
X and Y coordinate systems are used in vector graphics, much as they are in today’s designs. These technologies make it easy to rotate and resize objects. For example, in Battlezone, the scaling mechanism increased the size of tanks as they got closer. Through the use of these early instructions, vector drawing helped pave the path for current 3D graphics.
A reverberation of the past —
Graphic design trends now are heavily influenced by 1980s video game design, including color schemes, famous characters, typography, and whole aesthetic movements. This might be explained by the persuasiveness of nostalgia marketing. One of the most effective ways to connect with an audience is by tapping into their familiarity with popular culture and evoking fond recollections of their own childhood.
Millennials are a prime demographic for nostalgic marketing, which is maybe not a surprise. An 8-bit game’s repeated music evokes recollections of the “simpler,” pre-internet era when people could just sit back and enjoy an 8-bit game. Your marketing effort must be current and relevant in order to elicit the warm, fuzzy feelings connected with a particular occasion. As a result, it’s no surprise that so many businesses are turning to the golden age of video game design from the 1980s for inspiration.
Recognizing the impact of ’80s video games on the design of today’s games – Simplistic gameplay.
With that, let’s get started with the fundamentals. In terms of gameplay and visuals, video games in the 1980s were rather simplistic. Since operating systems from the 1980s had severe limitations on the amount of RAM that could be installed on a computer, games like Cyberpunk 2077 and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past would never be playable by the general public.
We’ve seen a lot of technological advancements in gaming, but the principle of keeping things simple has remained. While the market has shifted to incorporate mobile phone applications and tablets, the newest versions of Mario Kart, Angry Birds, and Candy Crush continue to dominate most of the industry with the same type of simple, linear gameplay as before.
Colors in the neon range.
Even in the early years of video games, synthesized color palettes were known for their limitations. Black and white, grayscale, or (typically) 8-bit color palettes were common in the early days of arcades, which meant that palettes were quite restricted. Things become a lot more vibrant in color. That much brightness bordered on becoming obnoxious. Neons glowed on black or dark blue backgrounds, making primary colors seem luminous.
From arcade games to the runway and nightclub, neon and black produced a buzz that permeated the culture of the 1980s and has since been a part of it. Graphic design is full of references to neons, from Blade Runner to James Turrell to your local nail salon’s pink-lit décor.
In a low-light setting
The dark mode is inextricably tied to both gaming and coding. For those who have trouble seeing in strong light, black backgrounds are preferable. Because it contrasts with the bright foreground hues, it’s simpler for the user to take in, particularly in dimly lit rooms (or arcades). As far back as Battlezone and Asteroids, you can see this affinity for dark mode in gaming.
More lately, you may have noticed that this style has spread to other areas of digital design as well. For a variety of reasons, including improved user experience and a more eye-catching appearance, many firms with an online presence have experimented with the usage of dark mode. There’s something about the color black that conjures images of refinement and elegance, as well as an air of coolness and edginess.
Fonts with pixel graphics
The typefaces used in arcade and vintage video games are instantly recognizable. It’s a collection of monospace typefaces, also referred to as pixel fonts, and the current designs are continuously rethinking them to tap into unique company identities and represent a strategy of nostalgic marketing.
To be considered “monospaced,” a typeface must be non-proportional, which implies that each character has the same amount of horizontal space. Designers had to follow an 8×8 grid while producing these typefaces, which are frequently referred to as “pixel fonts” during the early age of gaming (and computer technology).
Maximalism and interaction
Maximalism, the opposite of minimalism, is on the rise in digital design. Maximalism increases accessibility by encouraging creativity, invention, and uniqueness that isn’t dominated by white space. When it comes to the art of maximum, the more the merrier.
Behance showcases the work of Alternative Solutions, a web design firm.
Increasingly, companies are seeing the benefits of moving away from static and minimalistic websites in favor of more dynamic and interactive ones. It’s amazing what a difference it can make when a feature like this is done well, resulting in a great and memorable user experience. Even if it’s still a novelty, it might provide you with an advantage over your competition. In modern design, navigation is getting more dynamic, yet this is not a new phenomenon in another design field.
Learning about user experience and interactive web design has always been made easier via the medium of gaming. Many ’80s video game concepts exposed millions to exploring 3D digital effects by creating complete worlds that gamers could roam about in independently. Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) has gained traction in the gaming industry and is now creeping into other areas of digital design, such as e-commerce and social networking.
Unless we spoke about cyberpunk graphics, we weren’t talking about the design of 1980s video games. In fact, the concept of cyberspace predated the internet by years, starting with 1982’s TRON and ending with 1989’s Shadowrun, which was heavily influenced by William Gibson’s seminal book Neuromancer. A never-ending grid is a common visual representation.