Monday, May 24, 2010

1. Bulbasaur

I’m going through the ringer: all original 151 (and I might not stop there), each lined up as above in an “evolution of man” style procession. The order of the sprites, by game, will be as follows: Red and Green (Japan only); Red and Blue; Yellow (Gameboy Color woo); Gold; Silver (one for each version, quite ambitious); Ruby and Sapphire; FireRed and LeafGreen; Diamond and Pearl; Platinum; HeartGold and SoulSilver. Now you won’t always see ten sprites, since they often get reused between games of the same generation (D/P and Platinum for instance). And I’ll probably just leave out the weird pseudo-animated Crystal and Emerald ones so they don’t throw off the nice sequence. We don’t need no animation! /brickinthewall

Of course, the next-gen games (Black and White) will feature fully animated sprites in battle. With that in mind, I guess I’m doing this in part as one last send-off to a bygone era, where one frame of a few hundred pixels was somehow all the imagination needed to bring these pokemon to life. Some did the trick better than others. Future pixel artists take note! Sometimes it’s not a matter of resolution or palette size, but of characterization. In my opinion the Pokémon games have generally gotten better over time, not worse, but those early games did whip up some mean artwork that we can’t be throwing out with the bathwater.

I’ll try to keep these short, but here I’ve blown two paragraphs on introductory rambling. Sorry about that, Bulbasaur. You’re really pretty cute Bulbasaur, in your gruff and raspy sort of way.

Bulbasaur’s short and squat so they’ve had to do a good job of instilling movement in his sprites to keep him from looking like a toad in repose (that’s what Bulbasaur’s supposed to be, right, a toad? I’ve always thought of him as a dinosaur-type thing, must be the name). And wouldn’t you know it, his classic Red and Blue sprite is jumping! That’s right, Charmander and Squirtle can saunter about looking tall and skinny all they want, but Bulbasaur is a man of action. And he doesn’t stop there. R/S and D/P Bulbasaurs have a cool handstand thing going on (I know, they’re supposed to be bounding, it’s just the angle), and HG/SS Bulbasaur is being all sneaky.

Meanwhile, see the Yellow sprite for how not to draw a Bulbasaur. It looks like someone’s angry grandmother, complete with liver spots.

The Winner:

Everything came together for this one. The 2-tone palette was just sufficient to capture the fiery passion in the eyes. He appears to be in mid-stride, but not about to topple over forwards. His stance is wide and powerful. And perhaps most importantly, his eponymous bulb is angled slightly toward the viewer. Who knows what kind of reproductive spores he’s ready to unleash from that thing. *shudder*

Second place is shared between Red/Blue and stealth mode Bulbasaurs.


  1. reproductive spores?

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