In this day in age where pixel art is experiencing a renaissance, many musicians who are nostalgic for the age of 8-bit have been incorporating pixel art into their music videos. Some of them make use of original sprites from 8-bit games, but most of them are completely original, reinforcing pixel art as a legitimate art form.
The outcome is astounding, to say the least, and invokes an era of fun and wonder from when those of us who were alive during the 8-bit era remember all too well.
So without further ado, here are my top 5 pixel art music videos:
5. Delta Heavy – White Flag
In this cosmic video that doesn’t pull any punches, Lucifer is sent back to heaven to kill God. Yep. That God.
The animation here is done by pixel art aficionado Paul Robertson, as well as Tim Rauch and video director Najeeb Tarazi. Right away with the loading screen and sprite style, you quickly gain a Final Fantasy feel to this video, which is only reaffirmed when Jesus casts Lightning 2.
Tarazi does a great job of matching the story to the beats of this DnB / electronica track, which is all about surrender. Who ends up surrendering? Watch the video.
Also, we all knew in our hearts that God is actually a woman…
4. GUNSHIP – Revel In Your Time
You know you’re in for a treat when the video description includes: “Prepare to open a dusty drawer, closed since 1988, and find a lost LucasArts style Point ‘N’ Click adventure!”
In this dystopian future, a man tries to find the woman he met in virtual reality after having his connection terminated. Also apparently the Internet is illegal in the future. Also, spoiler, he finds her. They probably make babies.
This video was created by children’s animator Jason Tammemagi, who clearly loves the golden age of LucasArts. The beady-eyed sprites, dark colors with neon signs and relatively high-density pixels all invoke a more intellectual time… a time of DOS and Windows 3.1, of puzzles that were next to impossible to figure out. A time of Ready Player One.
The Sierra and VHS City signs are a wonderful touch.
Also, the little love letter to LucasArts right at 4:08 in the video – priceless.
3. PUP – DVP
Toronto represent! For those not in the know, the DVP is a highway connecting the suburbs north of Toronto with the downtown core. Aah who hasn’t spent part of their youth speeding down the DVP, making questionable decisions…
This video is different from the rest as it makes use of existing video game footage but replaces the text. It’s still wonderful though – director Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux chose amazing imagery that works so well with punk band PUP‘s teenage-20-something angst.
Also, PUP was recently featured in Game Grumps’ premiere game Dream Daddy, so that’s neat.
2. TWRP – The Hit ft. Ninja Sex Party
TWRP, or Tupperware Remix Party, is another Toronto fixture! They’re a band from the 80s, and the future, and outer space. They wear costumes and have good rock times. Also, they very frequently collaborate with Ninja Sex Party, like for this track “The Hit.”
This video by Arthur Doyle aka. Lazerhorse is an absolute pleasure to watch. By some wizardry, the pixel art in this video is so intricate – it feels like it must have taken an insane amount of time to complete. Danny of Ninja Sex Party gets kidnapped and the sexy lady he was sexing goes on a quest with TWRP to save him!
What’s even better is that the video itself manages to capture the fun vibes of TWRP and their nerdy-broiness with Danny and Ninja Brian of Ninja Sex Party. If you’ve never heard of either TWRP or Ninja Sex Party until now, I highly suggest you check out their other videos!
1. Goldfish – We Come Together ft. Sakhile Moleshe
All the previous videos are amazing, but in my mind, this video for “We Come Together” by Goldfish is the best, simply because it oozes love, and the amount of game and pop culture references in mind-boggling.
The video, directed by Mike Scott and with contributions from 15 other pixel artists, is a love letter to retro games. When the Princess Peach goldfish is captured by the cat army, our plucky heroes go on an adventure to save her.
Seriously, I can’t do this video justice. The word masterpiece comes to mind. It manages to blend genres, styles, and franchises with Goldfish’s own aesthetic in such a perfect way, and is such high energy that I’d go as far as to say this video is joy itself. Enjoy.