One of my favourite artists is Keith Haring. His ability to create art anywhere made his work accessible to anyone. It courted controversy within the art world when he was alive and that only enhanced his appeal to me.
Oskunk offers a similar approach to his art. Based in Paris, the French artist combines video games, Japanese manga, graffiti, and comics to create incredible typographical pieces.
He started out in 2007 after viewing a custom art exhibition and started out by customizing a NES. He uploaded the result online and requests came flooding in. Now, Oskunk prefers paintings using a “tag cloud” aesthetic with comic book style typographic mixed with art from his pool of pop culture inspiration. And he’s mean with a Posca pen too.
But talk is cheap in art. Let’s take a look at a few of Oskunk’s best works.
Customised Wario Gameboy
I’m a sucker for customised Gameboys (I’ve even made some myself). This was the first Oskunk custom design I saw and it’s glorious. He brightened up a beaten-up yellow Gameboy DMG with a cool Wario Posca pen design.
Undead Magneto Pop Figure
Oskunk transformed a plain pop figure into a bright but frightening undead zombie Magneto with the help of his black Posca marker and some brilliant paints. It certainly looks better than the newer X-Men movies.
Calavera Iron Man
This stunning render strips Iron Man down to a monochrome palette with a Mexican calavera design. Can you imagine Antonio Rígido (Tony Stark translated to Spanish) as a luchador?
Lindt Bunny Skeleton
Following on from the macabre theme is this quick custom job on a Lindt bunny. Ever wondered what a Lindt bunny skeleton would look like? Well, now you can. (No bunnies were harmed in the making of this piece and the chocolate bunny does not contain any bones.)
This spectacular work uses just six Posca markers on black paper. Thanos’s rendered face is amazing in its use of negative space but the star of the show is the typographical gauntlet, made up of the Marvel heroes’ names.
Create your own art with these tools
Want to try your hand at making great art? These are some of the resources you might need (please note, these are Amazon affiliate links. For more information, please read our Disclaimer page):
The Nintendo Gameboy celebrated its 30th birthday this year (something I wrote about for Distant Arcade). There were plenty of official Game Boy accessories made for the device, like the Gameboy Camera. But there were some oddities in its history and I’ve compiled a list of 7 you may not have heard of.
1. Game Boy Pocket Sonar
There were many fishing games released for the original Game Boy but in the real world, there was an accessory to help locate living aquatic life. The Game Boy Pocket Sonar, made by Bandai, used sonar to locate fish up to 20m underwater. It even had a fishing mini-game. Unfortunately, the add-on was only released in Japan but it does hold the accolade of being the world’s first sonar-enabled gaming accessory.
With a screen size of only 4.7cm x 4.3cm, the original Game Boy kept things small. But there was always the possibility of eye strain if, like me, you had a 6-hour gaming session without breaks (I was 9 and banned from playing it for the rest of the weekend). The Joyplus Handy Boy was an official accessory with a magnifier, added light, amplified speakers, and the facility to add a thumb joystick, with or without the speakers and magnifier. What’s more, you could fold it all away when you were done.
All work and no play made Jack a dull (and psychotic) boy but for video game distributor Fabtek, they wanted to merge the two worlds together. Enter the Workboy. The problem with the Workboy was it never actually came out. It was advertised in Nintendo Power but didn’t see the light of day. Had it graced the world with its presence, it would have featured a keyboard, a clock, day planner, currency and temperature converter, and a calendar. The price? Around $80.
This one is just plain weird. The PediSedate system was an add-on designed to calm children before potentially traumatic experiences like the dentist or a hospital operation. A dose of nitrous oxide (better known as “laughing gas” or “nitro”) was administered for this purpose. That was the aim anyway.
5. Game Boy Radio
The clue’s in the name. It was made in China but there’s very little information on the device. It used the Game Boy as a power supply and didn’t interfere with the Game Boy itself.
6. GB KISS & GB KISS LINK MODEM
In 1998, Hudson Soft released the GB KISS LINK, an infrared modem that allowed you to connect a Gameboy to a Windows PC to transfer game data. The GB KISS LINK came with two 3.5″ floppy disks: one with drivers and the other with 29 mini-games. Before emulators, this was the best way to get save states to your computer for future use.
7. Singer Izek
Have you ever felt the urge to play video games while sewing on a machine? Me neither, but someone at Singer might have when they created the Singer Izek “Computerized Sewing Machine.” But you didn’t actually get to play games. Instead, you plugged your Game Boy Color into the machine and used it to pick a stitching pattern using a special cartridge. Needless to say this didn’t catch on.
Nintendo announced their newest console today, the Nintendo Switch. It will be released in March 2017 and acts as a “hybrid device”: both a tablet-like portable console and a home console placed in a docking station (complete with satisfying “click” sound).
The Switch also holds two wireless controllers you can detach, used individually or together as a normal gamepad. Only a handful of games have been announced, including the usual suspects – Legend of Zelda, a Mario Kart game, and a Super Mario game amongst others. But there are a few I’d love to see on the Switch. Here are 8 of them.
Ever since my cousin introduced me to Golden Sun, it’s been my favourite RPG not called Pokémon (more on that later). The original game, released on GBA, tells the story of Isaac, Garet, Ivan and Mia, four teenagers tasked with saving their world, known as Weyard. It’s an archetypal fantasy RPG with plenty of magic, turn-based gameplay, classes, dungeons and caves. Psynergy is the game’s version of “mana” while Djinn are special creatures that give the characters special moves and the ability to change classes and abilities. The music, graphics and gameplay were already brilliant on both the two GBA versions and the DS versions. A Switch version has the potential to be fantastic, especially scenes like this:
A Pokémon racing game
Asking for an open world Pokémon game would be too easy. There’s definitely going to be one for the Nintendo Switch but what about a racing game? The spinoffs have involved pinball and puzzle games but a racing game would be a great competitor to the Mario Kart version we’ll eventually get. The only concern is how many Pokémon would be made usable, given the introduction of Sun & Moon by March 2017. There’s likely to be around 800 known Pokémon so who knows which ones would be picked. Mewtwo in a car? Perhaps not.
Super Mario RPG
A Mario spinoff never released in Europe, Super Mario RPG was the first RPG in the Mario series and the only game to be made by Square (now Square Enix). It’s also uncommon in that it doesn’t involve Bowser as the main boss. This time, you have to beat Smithy who steals the seven star pieces of Star Road where “all the world’s inhabitants’ wishes become Wish Stars, and Mario must return the pieces so these wishes may again be granted”. Paper Mario is likely to get a Switch version but perhaps they should look towards a remake of this.
Chrono Trigger is an all-time great, not only in the RPG category, but for games overall. It was highly praised for its simplicity, varied gameplay, and humour and spawned a few sequels and an enhanced remake for the Sony PlayStation. What better way to further enhance a prestigious game than to freshen it up on Nintendo’s new innovative console. The simplicity of both game and device would marry up perfectly. It would also sell incredibly well given Chrono Trigger’s stature.
Street Fighter will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2017 and 20th anniversary of Street Fighter III. Chronologically, III is the most “recent” game so an anniversary follow up would be quite interesting although possibly confusing. That being said, nobody really plays Street Fighter for the storyline. They want to fight. The multi-playability of the Nintendo Switch allows for vigorous (and/or strategic) button smashing and could add a new flavour to tournament play. I hope this one happens.
Mario Kart is a shoo-in for a Nintendo Switch racing game but the world needs another F-Zero game. The SNES version remains a classic; the music, the cars, the incredible track designs, not to mention the graphics and the speed. A sequel was made for the N64 – F-Zero X – and while most features were retained, graphical detail was criticised. Four more were made, three for the GBA and nothing since 2004. The F-Zero franchise has since gone on hiatus, which is disappointing. Bringing the franchise back for the Nintendo Switch would surely entice prospective buyers, sceptical or otherwise. Any excuse to ride as Captain Falcon, to be honest.
A modern-day Strike game
I loved playing Desert Strike on my Gameboy. I don’t know how I found it or why it initially appealed to me but it was fun to play. The last Strike game was released in 2000, and there have been many conflicts since so plenty of inspiration for a new version. It might also be interesting to see an isometric game on a console like this. I just hope it doesn’t involve Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A Waluigi game
His first appearance was in Mario Tennis for the N64 in 2000. Waluigi has yet to star in his own game and it’s time for that to change. His brother Wario has had the lion’s share of publicity, headlining around 20 games since his first appearance in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins in 1992.
However, not everyone likes Waluigi. Kotaku, GamesRadar, IGN, and Complex (who included him in a list of “the ten video game characters who look like sex offenders”), have all expressed their disdain and that’s probably why we haven’t seen a Waluigi game as yet. But done correctly, he could change people’s minds. Maybe.
This is how I got into Sudoku. My first puzzle took 2 days to complete and it felt amazing to finish. After a while, I got bored of the varying levels of difficulty. I could never do the 3D puzzles but by then, I’d moved onto Kenken. I didn’t enjoy Kenken as much so that didn’t last either. Recently, I’ve discovered a “new” puzzle but it’s not new at all. Nonograms (also known as Hanjie, Picross or Griddlers) are Japanese logic puzzles where you fill in cells based on corresponding numbers in each row. Once completed, they reveal a hidden picture.
Nonograms started out in the late 80s but didn’t get their generalised name until 1990 when puzzle designer and curator James Dalgety named them after Non Ishida, the Japanese graphics editor who “co-created” them. You may recognise its alternative name, “Picross”, from the previous paragraph. That’s probably because it was the basis of Nintendo game Mario Picross. It didn’t do well when released in 1995, with mixed reviews on its gameplay. Electronic Gaming Monthly described it as “boring to play after the first few puzzles”, while GamePro called it “undeniably addicting.”
If you’re a puzzle lover looking for a new challenge, I strongly suggest having a go at nonograms. Fore more information and techniques, check out the reading list below and you can solve an online nonogram here.