Duncan Harris loves videogame art. On his site, Dead End Thrills, he posts extraordinary hi-res images from well-known (and some obscure) games, applying principles of photography to every shot whilst also stripping away the technical constraints that formed the final product. We’re not arrogant enough to pretend we understand the technical processes involved, so we’ll let Duncan’s About page provide a little further exposition:
Applying the principles of real world photography to the virtual worlds of games is just part of the solution. Hacking and tweaking games to remove player model, HUD and restrictions on the camera are others. The toughest, though, is rendering games from throughout the 3D era, from Deus Ex to Crysis 2, at truly uncompromising quality. There is a massive difference between running a game with top-of-the-line antialiasing and quality settings, and running it with those same settings at resolutions far in excess today’s norms, using offline resampling to achieve perfect results. Only recently, and after extensive research, have such methods become possible.
There is no discrimination here. Art is art, whether it’s in Half-Life 2 or Transformers: War For Cybertron. Not all games give it up easily, though, which is why some games take longer than others, or just won’t appear at all. Few developers have ever volunteered the means to shown their games off, and some don’t even have the means available.
We’ve posted a few of our favourites below, but you owe it to yourself to head on over to Dead End Thrills and spend a good hour or two gawking at the full-size versions. Duncan happens to be a lucid and funny writer too, and his explanations for each piece can be just as entertaining as the image itself. He also regularly updates a similarly-entertaining Twitter account. Top stuff.
Flags Of Our Fathers – Grand Theft Auto IV
Samaritan – Grand Theft Auto IV
Inside Out – Grand Theft Auto IV
Attack Vectors – Killer7
Futurama – F-Zero GX
Portal – Mass Effect 2
Butterfly Caught – Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Junglin’ Guy – Donkey Kong Country Returns
Arch Rivals – P.N.03