Monday, April 8, 2013

The scope of Videogame Character Size


Your windpipe will get a workout when you see what Konami(r) has prepared for you in the Batman(tm) Returns game for Super NES(tm).  But your screams will be drowned out by crunching bones, cracking skulls, shattering glass and other cool CD quality sounds designed to make you cringe.

Because Batman has rapid-fire fists and is a master of flying body slams, spinning judo kicks, double head knocking and other means of maiming. And check out your hero's humongous size. We're talking big!

In seven 3-D movie-like levels, experience the agony of Catwoman's claws, kicks and whip and the ecstasy of pummeling The Penguin and his clan of delinquent clowns, all talented in terrorism.  Inside your cape of fear are Batarangs and test tubes, essential for battling the Tattooed Strongman, the Organ Grinder and the rocket launching Duck Vehicle.

Blow away renegade bikers with the Batmobile loaded with Batdiscs and catapult yourself to safety with your trusty Grappling Hook.  The frigid fiend is chillin' in his way cool lair waiting to put the Caped Crusader on ice. So put on your cowl and put up your dukes. Can't you hear Gotham City screaming for help?!

OK!, So I discovered this retro double pager advert, Rowan Lipkovits of Videogame Comic Ads scanned in, I've read the blurb, and I'm super excited and ready to roll...  now I'm sure at some point or another in the mid 90's I gave this title a whirl, and if memory serves me correctly the wow factor as portrayed above, was the sheer size of the playable character (Batman).

Sound's like a silly feature in all, but its some real madmen-esque  advertisement technique, for some underlying reason all everyone wanted during this period was GIANT playable characters!!

So having booted the game up for the first time in 20 years - skipping the prompts and diving into the first stage; "Ambush in Gotham Plaza" I am in fact pleasantly surprised or reminded of the size of Batman, before pottering off I decided to screenshot and have a tinker in Photoshop, and the character:screen ratio comes in at a whopping 40% .

Now to put this into perspective, lets step back a generation and take a snap shot of the same game on the predecessor system the 8-bit NES; the character:screen ratio comes in at exactly half or 20% of the screen real estate height.

This is truly yet another reason why I love my platinum era of video-gaming, the SNES takes me back to some awesome comic book spec pixel art, combined with that additional processing power to produce   larger than life playable characters which escape that somewhat prehistoric dinosaur era of Atari/NES spec limitation.

Image Courtesy;
Shilling Epilepsy to Mouth-Breathers: "Batman Returns", SNES, 1993.. 2013.Shilling Epilepsy to Mouth-Breathers: "Batman Returns", SNES, 1993.. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 08 April 2013].

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