That VHS Look

When I started developing Fatal Attractions, the idea was to have the game be “authentically digital”. That is to say we’d have crisp, low-resolution pixel art. A palette of less than 256 carefully picked colors. Transparency would be an entirely binary matter. A purely digital soundtrack. Basically everything would be just like it was back in the day.

Sadly, as my pixel art skills turned out to be sorely lacking I eventually pivoted to the more-photorealistic-yet-still-thoroughly-retro style the game exhibits today. If I wasn’t going to capture the essence of early adventure games by mimicking their style, by Jove then at least I’d promote the spirit of the times by setting the game during the early 90s!

But… something was off. The sets and overall style were pretty retro. That couldn’t be it. The resolution of the artwork was retro but also a bit low-ish, which admittedly does turn some scenes into a pixelly mess.

So what could it be?

With the above in mind (and some extra computational power under my belt) I made a few stylistic adjustments and came up with this:

So what’s changed? For one, the artwork’s resolution has doubled. And you probably did not fail to notice that I’m experimenting with a faux VHS post effect to really sell that 90s look :)

Not sure I want to have the entire game running with this effect as it might get irritating after a while — in fact, it was fairly irritating to just mock it up. It’ll definitely need to be toned down a bit.
Though I suppose it could also be used for dramatic effect, similar to how Eternal Darkness messed with the player’s (in)sanity.

But I think the look captures the spirit of early 90s well enough now.