Electronics Faire: Gameboy Games as Homebrewed 8-bit Zines

Electronics Faire: Gameboy Games as Homebrewed 8-bit Zines

What does a lesbian-fueled, gender-bent ROM-hacked “Link’s Awakening” have in common with an 80’s dyke zine made of cut-up Playboy magazines? Copying + Pasting! Tracing and re-mixing! These are all techniques utilized in the creation of zines and ROM hacked games! Both mediums share a common ground of DIY modification: reappropriating existing images and materials for the sake of self-expression. This framework of reclamation enabled the expression of underrepresented narratives and preserved otherwise undocumented histories. Despite being around since the 1950s, many of the methodologies for making pixel art and retro games have gone undocumented due to the secretive nature of commercial video game studios. Much of what we’ve recovered of this lost history has been passionately preserved through ROM-hackers and forum-based communities. These creators have even developed their own tools for making pixel art and games. These open-source and low-budget tools have enabled a new generation of passionate creators to modify images and games as their own. For this beginner-friendly workshop, participants will learn to modify existing sprites or make their own pixel art and gameboy games using various free or open-source tools. After creating their own “pixel zines” or game experiences with GB Studio, these projects will then be flashed onto actual gameboy cartridges. Participants will be invited to modify existing assets or create their own pixel art. No previous coding, animating, or art experience is required for this workshop.

Learning Goals and Objectives:

  • Create a unique pixel art zine or game experience using GB Studio. Learn about different open-source hardware and software that rom-hackers and pixel artists use to make pixel art
  • Have a deeper understanding of pixel art to explore their own unique take on the medium

Technical Requirements:

  • A working computer** (Windows, Mac, or Linux)
  • A trackpad, computer mouse, or tablet device
  • A drawing software with the ability to turn off anti-aliasing OR web browser with internet connection
  • A copy of GB Studio (it’s free!) https://www.gbstudio.dev/

**The library will provide three laptops available with GB Studio installed to use as needed, but bringing your own laptop will ensure access to your work after the workshop and that you can work on your project individually

About the Instructor:

Meena Ko aka moaw! thrives on making “bad” games: low-res, clunky, libidinal experiences that tease technological and social limitations. They believe that technical restraints are generative and specialize in restrictive mediums: pixel art and retro devices. Choosing their own constraints like memory limits and small resolutions, pushes them to problem-solve in new ways; creating a heightened material awareness. When moaw’s not breaking things, they’re designing assets for accessible STEAM education. Their work can be found in Microsoft’s MakeCode Arcade. They’ve also presented talks and workshops with the Processing Foundation, The New School, Playcrafting, and other organizations to spread their love of pixel art.

Friday, April 26, 2024
2:30pm - 4:00pm
Charles Library Room 401
Main Campus
  Digital Scholarship  

Registration is required. There is 1 seat available.