If so — and you know how to use a printer, glue, and a craft knife — then you can use this guide to turn your favorite games into pieces of near-unique 3D pop art.
Even if you’re not a fan of old games, these DIY pictures can make great gifts for people who love 8- and 16-bit video games from the 80s and 90s.
What you need
To make one of these pieces, you will need:
- Color printer
- Thick A4 paper, but not too thick as your printer may not wind the sheet.
- 2-5mm foam
- 1 mm plexiglass
- Glue (make sure it will glue the plexiglass)
- Craft knife or scalpel
The idea is simple: you find an image you like, print it several times, then cut and overlay various elements on the board, thereby mounting the image and creating a 3D effect.
Execution can be complex, and certainly time consuming. You will have to set aside a day for this, of course, for your first attempt.
This other essential component
As above, you will also need a game. The one you really like, with these blocky graphics that will stand out and instantly tag the finished piece as a retro game title.
What makes a good item?
Ideally, it should be something with great pixel art, both for the main character, any other characters you want to use, and for the background.
Please also note that we are going to increase your score, lives remaining, etc. so they should be the right size and readable. In the image above and in all the steps below, I used a free clone of the 8-bit and 16-bit classic Turrican entitled T2002X but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go back and make a piece based on Space Invaders. or even go ahead a bit and contribute something like The Sims or half-life in 3D pop art relief.
Step 1: Capturing the desired image
You will need to use the print screen feature to capture the image you want to turn into your retro gaming 3D sample. If you’re running a retro game on a Windows PC, you should be able to do so using the standard WINKEY + PRINT SCREEN button ; however, some games run in what is basically a layer above the desktop, meaning that capturing an image using the built-in method will result in only the desktop image being captured.
It may be necessary to use the game’s pause function to capture an image; it might look ugly. If you don’t plan on including the word «PAUSED» in the finished play, or if you find the screenshot boring because your character isn’t moving at the time, you have a few options.