Artistry in Games machinarium-game-1-1036x657 The Art of Machinarium Features

The Art of Machinarium

In Features by Suzanne VerrasLeave a Comment

Sometimes you come across a game which has such an amazing artistic style you just have to play it. It doesn’t matter what kind of game it is, or what it is about, the artwork will make it worthwhile either way. Machinarium is such a game. In this article I will discuss the art of Machinarium and the connection it has to another media, the comic. For those who have not heard of Machinarium before, it is a puzzle point-and-click adventure game developed by Amanita Design, who also known for their game Samorost and latest release Botanicula. Machinarium was released on PC in 2009 and after that it has been released for a number of other platforms such as PS3 and Android. In received a number of awards for best indie game, one being for its visual art. The art style is definitely something amazing. The game is set in a rusty robotic environment that has seen some better days. Brown and gray hues dominate this once colorful and world. You control a small robot who has to save his kidnapped girlfriend and stop a time bomb from destroying the city’s largest tower. You have to make your puzzle-solving way through a city filled with all kinds of robots to free her and save the town. The art of Machinarium is an unique one, not only in the way it is developed, but also in the way it looks. It is unique in its development, because the backgrounds are made from pencil and paper sketches which were scanned and edited in Photoshop. There the colors, textures and shades were added. Almost all the animations are handmade as well, step by step. The characters and objects animation is based on the traditional Czech animations like that of Jan Švankmajer or Jiři Trnka. Artistry in Games artwork_03 The Art of Machinarium Features    Artistry in Games artwork_05 The Art of Machinarium Features    Artistry in Games machinarium-game-1-1024x648 The Art of Machinarium Features    The first picture is of the rough concept art and the second one is more polished. The last picture is in in game pic from the same scene. As you can see, the hand drawn aspects are still clearly recognizable. The squinted lines and even more crooked building in the background are typical for the hand drawn and artistic character of Machinarium. Artistry in Games machinarium-game-2-1024x636 The Art of Machinarium Features    Amanita Design choose a very different kind of art style for Machinarium than they had for Samorost where they used collages as backgrounds. They did so with a reason. Machinarium is set in a world inhabited by robots. The hand drawn backgrounds and characters give an organic and authentic contrast to the robotic world. It is like injecting a bit of love and feeling into an otherwise harsh and dead environment. Together with the live recorded instruments as sound effects it definitely give a human touch to this rusty world. Another unique thing about the Machinarium is the lack of text used in the game. Conversations and hints are constructed out of images, symbols and icons. You have to pay close attention to all the details in the surroundings, because a little symbol might help you solve the puzzle. The absence of dialogue was done because it was more accessible and funnier. The lengthy dialogue that often predominate adventure games was not fitting for the robotic world. I think text would indeed fall out of place in Machinarium, but more because of the fact that robots often speak in bleeps and peeps, they don’t have to speak a human language. Human language is more fit for humanoids than for cute little robots trying to save their robot girlfriend. Artistry in Games machinarium-game-4 The Art of Machinarium Features    Also take note of the way the image dialogue is made, like an image filled text balloon. But wait, there’s more! Those text-balloons aren’t the only comic life aspect of Machinarium. Artistry in Games machinarium-game-3-1024x636 The Art of Machinarium Features    If you have trouble on your way through the city, trying to save your girlfriend, there is an ingame walkthrough which is also quite interesting. The whole walkthrough is in comic form and you can only see the solution for the level you are currently on. This style fits with the image dialogue and lack of text. The last and maybe most important aspect of comics used in Machinarium, is the use of panels. The scenes itself are placed in a frame with round edges and sometimes you come across a scene which looks like it came straight out of a comic. There are different panels with different stuff happening, all at the same time. Artistry in Games machinarium-game-5-1024x647 The Art of Machinarium Features    All these aspects borrowed from comics together with the hand drawn style at times makes Machinarium feel like a moving comic book. The similarities are subtle and you may not notice them straightway, but I they do show there is something to say for the fact that Machinarium is mixture of two media, video game and comic book. This mixture may not be unique, because there are other games that draw inspiration from comics or graphic novels, but in combination with the art style it is a one of a kind that you should definitely try out, if you haven’t already.

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