g33k of the w33k – 72 Pins

Our artists wanted to make something with a little more depth to it. Nowadays, there are tons of automated things online to help you make true 8-bit characters. We wanted people to understand that creating neat original video game art is what we are about. - 72 Pins Cart Info


Over the years, as younger generations have grown up, there has been a push to remember your roots.  Sure, that phrase could sometimes apply to your family, or the neighborhood you grew up in, it can also be applied to the games that you used to play as a kid.  I definitely remember playing the hell out of my Nintendo Entertainment System for hours on end, hoping to get just a little bit further in the 1-2 new games I got a year.

As time went on, games and the systems that play them have definitely evolved and changed.  Yet the nostalgia of the older days of gaming still bring up good memories, despite any glitches, errors or annoyances that may have been associated with it.  That’s where 72 Pins comes in, giving appreciation to the modern era’s great games, but giving them a flair of the old NES days.

Here’s how it works.  72 Pins has a team of artists that specialize in creating that fantastic 8-Bit look and feel, and they apply that to modern games.  As you can see above, Bioshock’s Big Daddy looks great using nothing more than a lot of pixels.  The art team at 72 Pins then transfer that artwork onto a high grade vinyl, complete with an extra gloss layer to ensure that they last for a very long time.  They then take an old NES cart, remove the old artwork, and put the new artwork on it.

The result?  A gorgeous piece of artwork that can combine your loves of newer and older style gaming.  Neat tidbit is also that since they are using real NES carts, if you have an old system, you could play whatever game is sent to you.  Granted, it may not be an 8-Bit version of Bioshock, Dark Souls, Halo, Katamari Damacy or God of War but it’s still a nice little side benefit.  What is also cool is that the artists over at 72 Pins will make anything you want custom.  Wanted to do a really cool and unique invitation?  They’ll do that.  Want to create an award for a Fantasy Football league?  Surely they can do that as well!

Once we here at g33kWatch heard about this, we just had to get in touch with them and learn more about their awesome work.  We were lucky enough to get in touch with Pauline Acalin, the Creative Director and Co-Founder of 72 Pins.  The interview is down below so please read, enjoy, and support their work either by buying a cart or just spreading the word.  While we have you, we would also like to thank Lila who is the media contact at 72 Pins for all her help during this process.

g33k of the w33k

Thursday, October 20, 2011

72 Pins

Official Website | Official Store| Twitter

What is 72 Pins and when did the site first start?

Pauline Acalin: 72 Pins began as a neat idea that turned into a super cool art project which we have immersed ourselves in for the past 6 months. Each design (and there are many on the way) was created by 1 of 3 artists, and features redesigned contemporary game art, then placed onto a working, vintage NES cart. There is more info concerning the printing/art process of these stickers in our Cart Info section on our blog.

The site technically went live Sept 30.

What was the inspiration behind creating the retro, NES style artwork that the site is known for?

Pauline Acalin: We were raised in a realm where a video game character being a square was a beautiful, complex thing. Many of us look back at those days with intense sentiment and nostalgia.

The inspiration was really just wanting to create something neat that could be made by artists who share a love for gaming art, both retro and modern. Supporting these artists by making these carts available in limited quantities is our way of showing support for something truly cool.

How many artists are currently working over at 72 Pins, and what was the process for finding them? If people are interested in doing artwork, how can they get involved?

Pauline Acalin: Currently, there are 3 of us. Artists are most welcome to send samples of their of work. Just shoot us an email at info@72pins.com with a link to your gallery … AND you need not be a pixel artist by any means. We do have ideas for other directions and styles we’d like to explore other than pixel work.

We were really intrigued to find out that you use actual used NES game cartridges, not just reproductions.  How difficult is it to find these used games, and is there any game in particular that you have used more than others?

Pauline Acalin: NES carts are nowhere near being rare, and are available online and at game shops in massive numbers. We used somewhere between 8-10 different vintage cartridges that were not sought after titles, and were published in the 100s of thousands if not millions. We certainly do not view our use of a few hundred games as decreasing the stockpile. I wouldn’t say we really used one game more than another … it was spread pretty even. However, the very first sample cartridge we made was used on my personal copy of Super Mario Brothers, and it’s floating around out there someplace so one lucky person will be getting a pretty rad game.

You mentioned on your site just how difficult it was to work with the Zelda gold carts. Assuming that money wasn’t an issue and you had a mint copy of one of those carts, what modern game would you want to put on it?

Pauline Acalin: No modern game … Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. It would be a beautifully illustrated headshot of Tyson smiling with a gold cart filling the missing tooth gap. Maybe the tooth cart could be Forza?

Is there an original NES game that you would not want to put your artwork on?  Something that you would feel conflicted with and don’t feel like the game cart in question should be tampered with?

Pauline Acalin: Anything rare or produced in limited numbers would not be cool. You don’t want to be eating an endangered species, and I don’t think the carts would taste very good anyway. Well, maybe BurgerTime, if you prefer medium-rare.

What game series have you gotten the most requests to make a cart for?

Pauline Acalin: Uncharted. And we have a couple designs which are currently in the tweaking phase. Every pixel matters, y’know.

Thus far, what has been the hardest game to try and make 8-Bit art for?

Pauline Acalin: I am going to answer the hell out of this question. Initially, we wanted to use the traditional 8-bit style to keep true to the original NES game covers (the ones you see with the black sticker such as GOLF), but after several failed attempts of being able to really capture the essence of these complex conventional characters, we decided it would make sense, and be even COOLER to create more visual, robust art using the pixel style you see on our designs. I’d like to make clear that none of these designs are down-sampled versions of artwork. Each pixel was laid by mouse, then scolded for being out of place, relocated, erased, sent to bed without dinner, and finally replaced until each design seemed to work. Basically, a lot of work was involved, in addition to the creation of several unique genre icons. For me, having never attempted pixel art before this project… BIOSHOCK was hands down the most difficult, yet was the 2nd design to sell out. Super rad that people are liking these so much!!

Are there any other game carts that you would like to use as a canvas, or are you sticking with the NES style for the foreseeable future?

Pauline Acalin: We’ve dabbled with the idea of using Atari carts for a small crafty project, but that would be down the road at some point. We have too many other immediate ideas in the pipeline.

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Joseph Valenti

Founder of g33kWatch, Joe is the guy who makes sure nobody hurts themselves. Connect with me on Google+

One Comment:

  1. Awesome!

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