It’s hard to capture the experience of being at E3 in words. Video gaming’s own annual Lollapalooza aims to deliver a single message to a variety of parties, from gamers to retailers: Buy our stuff.
And to that end, the event is designed around spectacle. The most popular games go big, loud, and pretty, and their individual appearances at E3 are meant to capture that spirit in a way that can be writ large across a number of different mediums. Words alone don’t convey all of the sights and sounds of such an event.
With that in mind, we’ve commissioned artist Joshua Mongeau to bring you a slightly different take on E3. Each day, we’ll be sharing pieces of original artwork that reflect in some way on the popular games and talking points of the show, as seen through the eyes of a creative-minded observer. For more beautiful eye candy, check out Part I, Part II and Part IV of this week’s Art of Gaming series.
8-Bit Battle Link
The Legend of Zelda series gets turned on its head in Hyrule Warriors, an action game from Tecmo Koei that falls in line behind Dynasty and Samurai Warriors series’. In Hyrule, Link and his pals take on armies of familiar baddies in knockdown brawls. More than just a colorful riff on the new game, 8-Bit Battle Link also nods to Nintendo’s scrappy comeback potential as the publisher finds new ways to dodge criticism with fresh, fan-pleasing ideas.
Another acknowledgment of E3’s ever-present abundance of progression hook-driven shooters, Josh did what so few of the AAAers seem capable of doing in Yuki Blast: he put the spotlight on a battle-suited, ass-kicking female. This is no distressed damsel, no frail foil. She’s armed, armored, and ready to save the day.
Paulentina and The Leader
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
― Jim Rohn
These two pieces share more than just a visual connection; they’re a dual celebration of empowered female protagonists that follow a narrative arc of sorts. First is Paulentina, anchored by a quote from author Jim Rohn that contemplates the challenges of leadership. The pulled-out perspective shows a woman standing tall; she’s all alone, but she’s proud, strong, and unburdened. The Leader brings our subject into sharper focus, flanked more directly by the spirit of Rohn’s quote and imbued with the spirit of the powerful female leaders that precede her. She’s not alone, and she never really was. She’s the leader.
Pig Soup gets meta in more ways than one. Josh is riffing here on Hohokum, Honeyslug’s action-free “no stress” game that is itself the product of a collaboration with artist Richard Hogg. The text at the center of the piece — ‘I am tired of being reincarnated’ — speaks to the “shoot, die, repeat” pattern of play that fuels the industry’s most popular games, and the hunger many players have for something more contemplative, experiences that games like Hohokum and Entwined address.
Games don’t simply have to be an endless cycle of fighting and dying; it’s not a requirement that protagonists are merely pigs being led to slaughter. The Twitch branding that frames the pieces is an appeal to all gamers, everywhere: Pay attention! Watch this! Order something other than the pig soup of violent games!
Joshua Mongeau is an accomplished artist in a variety of mediums. In addition to his work on branding, logos, illustrations, and advertising, he’s also created art for children’s books, film/video games (including work for Lucasfilm), and the graphic novel, M.E.N.D. You can check out more of Josh’s work on his portfolio website right here.