All geeks know the best architects work in the world(s) of video games. There are few physical and economic restrictions, which means designers can really let their imagination fly without compromising their most exciting ideas. But on the other hand, virtual architecture needs to serve the story and gameplay of the game in question – which pushes those architects to come up with ever more fascinating solutions.
The folks over at Home Advisor decided to pay tribute to these unsung heroes by recreating some of the greatest video game architecture voxel-style (i.e. volumetric pixels).
1. Final Fantasy
Is Final Fantasy the Game of Thrones of video games? Their fantasy universes may be a million miles apart, but their epic nature, years of development, and eclectic sources of inspiration talk to a lot of the same fans. In the case of Final Fantasy, that inspiration includes the tales of King Arthur, Middle Eastern myths, and even… the mighty pizza?
While science and science-fiction big-thinkers have always looked to the stars, the real smart ones know where it’s at: under the sea. Unexplored worlds, alien physics, and unbound metaphors for the human condition find themselves expressed in the faded utopian realism of BioShock’s city of Rapture. Under the influence of Jules Verne, Hugh Ferriss, and a shade of H.R. Giger, designer Paul Hellquist created a murky world that you’d hate to live in but can’t help but explore.
3. The Legend Of Zelda
It’s full-circle for Zelda, which began as a pixelated 8-bit game and has expanded to encompass a culture apparently more vast and less tethered than our own. The game’s inventor, Shigeru Miyamoto, developed ideas for the original Zelda that were unheard of at the time but which have since become standard issue for the sword-and-sorcery genre and RPGs.
4. Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed is a world a bit like ours, transplanting elements of fantasy and science-fiction into a carefully-researched digital version of real-life human culture on Earth. But it’s also a good example of how even virtual architects need to make compromises: although the architecture is generally very faithful to the real world, real ancient buildings tend to have far fewer levels than those in the Creed – but what fun would that be for the parkour-loving element of the game’s fandom?
Unlike most video games and animations, Half-Life takes place in real time and real (virtual) space: there are no jump-cuts, no transitions, just pick up your stuff and go. While it’s fun to explore, the gameplay would soon grow tiresome without at least a few cues as to how to get to the next bit of action, so the designers needed to build in special ‘nudges’ just like those found in real-life city planning. Ever get the feeling you’re being moved along?
Fallout avoids the heavy-handed ultra-realism of much recent game design by having a bit of fun with an anachronistic design genre known as Raygun Gothic. Everything that was poppy, shapely and colorful about 20th-century dread is squeezed for full comic book effect in the bubblegum world that players inhabit.
7. Dark Souls
Designer Hidetaka Miyazaki looked to Europe for the drab gothic feel that underlies much of the architecture of Dark Souls. But it is given a modern, utopia-gone-awry update with a feel of Japanese metabolist architecture, too. The haunted infrastructure of Dark Souls recalls the unsettling sci-fi of Fritz Lieber.
What do you think of these voxel art reproductions? Amusing novelty or fresh insight into the architecture of classic video games?