Issue 47: Arts & Crafts

Let’s get crafty.

By M. Noah Ward. Posted 04/26/2011 10:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Issue 47: Arts & Crafts

Ever since Yoshi’s Island was released with marker-drawn visuals, I’ve found games with hand-crafted artwork undeniably appealing. In the early years of video games, graphics required more imagination than they do now to look good, and the most creative, hand-drawn/-painted visuals you’d see were on the game’s box art, which were often extreme if not completely unrelated interpretations of the game itself. Yet with the power of game machines today, product marketing isn’t the only place we can experience free form artistry. Instead, we’re lucky to see games with hand-crafted aesthetics frequently, whether in Okamiden or Kirby’s Epic Yarn, to cite a couple recent examples.

Aside from adding a breath of originality to a game’s world, hand-drawn designs humanize the game you experience without requiring lifelike character models and blockbuster movie cinematics. Further, a softer approach in design makes gamers feel a stronger relationship to and ownership with the game they’re playing. This leads into the other side of hand-crafting that truly engrosses the gamer: empowering the gamer to create within the game’s world as well.

Drawn to Life and Max and the Magic Marker are nice examples of gameplay based around whatever the game would like to draw on the screen. For those of us with less-than-steady hands, full-on stage makers with intuitive tool boxes and templates breathe new life into titles like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Excitebike.

Whether artsy on the developers’ side, or artsy on the side of what gamers can do, we’re embracing craftiness in games this week.


Issue 47: Arts & Crafts

Artful Dodgers by Andrew Hsieh
Against the onslaught of realistic games, only these stylized, hand-drawn games could fight back.

Tidman’s Take: Finding New Crafts by Matthew Tidman
It seems like every time Miyamoto gets a new hobby it manifests itself in a game. Here are some hobbies that Miyamoto might like to consider.

Paper Capers by Smith Stuart
A rundown of the Paper Mario series in light of the fourth installment.

Nester64x: Wrecked by Nester64x
Nester talks about his AWESOME exploits with Wrecking Crew stage creation dominance.

Hot Air: Shirted by Aaron Roberts
Make your own Animal Crossing designs!

Have You Heard of Okami? by James Stank
What’s more artistic than a game with colorful graphics where you control a paintbrush?

The Paintbrush and the Sword by Kevin Knezevic
Exploring the concept of impressionism through The Skyward Sword.

Additional features in this issue…


  • Nightly News Roundup by Robert Thompson


  • Nightly News Roundup by Nicolas Vestre


  • Dojo-Show-Go! Episode 140 by M. Noah Ward
  • Nightly News Roundup by Andrew Hsieh


  • Nightly News Roundup by Smith Stuart


  • Nightly News Roundup by Aaron Roberts

Coming Up Next Week…

Issue 48: Versus Apple
Nintendo calls Apple the “enemy of the future,” but the battle is very much in today according to many. This week looks at how Nintendo and Apple are challenging each other, what they can learn from each other, how they can continue to coexist peacefully and whether or not one will ultimately need to fall (or at least greatly diminish) for the other to thrive.

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