The Appeal of Video Game Artwork

I can’t draw. I’ve never been able to draw. In fact, the best I can do is look at an image and copy it. I drew some pretty amazing Pokemon pictures when I was younger, but ask me to draw anything from my imagination and you’ve got another thing coming. At school I was in the top set for art simply because I was in the top set for music. My teachers simply didn’t understand that just because I could play the guitar and the keyboard, that didn’t mean I could draw a masterpiece, or even a good-looking stick figure.

However, I’ve always been fascinated by art. It genuinely frustrates me sometimes that my brain can’t tell my hand to draw such beautiful pictures, but hey. I enjoy looking at it, and I appreciate the hard work and the time that goes into creating it.  I especially love video game artwork. I remember when I first got into video games at the age of 7, and all but drooling over the strategy guide for Final Fantasy VII. That’s right folks, even a strategy guide holds a beautiful collection of artwork from time to time, and I would read them from cover to cover, constantly going back to them even when I wasn’t playing the game just to look at my favourite pictures.

If it was up to me financially, and if I had enough space, I would import as many art books from Japan as I possibly could, and have them all on display because I truly do admire their beauty. I even have a small collection of such art books with me at my house in Yorkshire, but most of my strategy guides remain in my parents house in Gloucestershire. There’s just something about them that is so appealing. It’s looking into the exclusive development of a game before the digital artists got their hands on it, and seeing how your favourite characters developed over time.

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I have a small collection currently, but I want to make it bigger

The original artworks for Final Fantasy look nothing like the end result, but both are equally beautiful, and I would rather have a book full of hand drawn designs, than 3D rendered designs. I even purchased this months issue of the Official Playstation Magazine because it came with a mini glossy art book from The Last Of Us. Well, that’s not the only reason I bought it, but it was definitely a pull factor for me. I don’t even own the game, but I want to, and even though it’s only a few pages, it’s still just as beautiful to look at as any other bumper book full of video game artwork.

How do you feel about artwork from video games? Do you share my passion, or are you more of a play it and forget about it kind of person? Let me know in the comments.

My Top 5 Gaming Soundtracks

I have a passion for video game music. I don’t know where it came from, I just find it beautiful. When I’m in the right mood I can sit down and chill out to a video game soundtrack for hours on end, preferably one without vocals. Here are my top 5 video game soundtracks, in no particular order.

Final Fantasy VII – Playstation One

This one was a given, considering my insane fandom of the game. Listening to this soundtrack gives me a lot of happiness as it takes me back in time to when I first discovered the world of gaming. It’s very difficult for me to narrow down exactly what track is my favourite, but this is at least one of them;

Shadow Hearts Covenant – Playstaton Two

I adore the Shadow Hearts series. Even the third one gets some love from me, up until the point it got too weird. But the music that stands out the most from this cult-status RPG is from the second game. Without Yoshitaka Hirota’s work on this soundtrack, the game would not be as magical as it is. My favourite track is, funnily enough, from the opening cinematic;

Baten Kaitos – Gamecube

This is one of the more obscure games in my collection, but one with a brilliant composer. Motoi Sakuraba did a really good job with this one. The song that sticks out for me the most is the boss battle music. I remember the first time I heard it and I instantly fell in love with its techno beat and random lyrics;

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time – N64

Koji Kondo, you are a genius. Ocarina of Time has always had some beautiful music in it, and any gamer will know Epona’s Song and Saria’s Song. they are all unique and repetitive little ditties that we all enjoyed playing on our little ocarina as Link, and I think these will stay with us for a long time. Again though, none of the above are in my favourites list. The award for my favourite Zelda song goes to;

Final Fantasy X – Playstation Two

I know, I know. Two Final Fantasy soundtracks in one post. I can’t help it, I just love Nobuo too much. This was really the last Final Fantasy that had a decent soundtrack, at least in my opinion. It’s very soothing and I can listen to it to relax and relive those beautiful cut scenes from the very first Final Fantasy on PS2 and one of the most beautiful. Ironic then that I would choose a quite fast paced song as one of my favourites;