8-bit artwork and musical recreations inspired by modern games are nothing new in anyone's books; most have a healthy (or unhealthy) nostalgia for the past and that can be encapsulated by the limitations of one or more 8-bit gaming machines. If you take that technology back a step or two further you can get even more retro bragging rights, and that's what we think former Teletext artist Steve 'Horsenburger' Horsley has managed to achieve with his penchant for 3-bit artwork.
For the uninitiated, Teletext was (and still is, in some countries) a service that functioned somewhat like a TV-based internet service where you could check news, weather, sporting results, and even bamboozle yourself with some "hilarious" jokes. The severe limitations meant creating images was a long and painful process, and as such the majority of the service was exclusively text-based.
We reached out to Steve and he agreed to produce the entire cast of ARMS in this highly tricky format with frankly staggering results.
The entire image set took him nine hours to produce which should give you an idea of the system's complexities, and for anyone who thinks this looks easy, we invite you to have a go yourself using the same tool as he did.
More than just a pastime, Steve only recently returned to the art, and had this to say on the matter:
I only started doing Teletext again after a break of 20 years because of the Digifest back in October 2016 which I was invited to speak on the artists panel by my old friend Paul Rose (Mr Biffo); the event celebrated Teletext and Digitiser and the turnout was amazing. Since July last year I've created almost 700 images, which is quite a task, but I've been using it as therapy for my depression. The response is amazing, I've got over 1100 followers on twitter which I never thought I'd get for such an old form to tech.
I use Edit.tf which was designed by Simon Rawles as an opensource free to use Teletext editor which works on any web browser. There are a couple of editors out there which are so faithful to the systems we used to use back in the days of Teletext, but the original software was so expensive to licence, now it is free for everyone.
The fun with teletext is working with the limitations of the 3-bit graphics, limited pixels (each block of 6 pixels is called a sixel) and you also have to work around placing command codes for the effect you need to place and you cannot work on a sixel that contains a command block.
Which of the 3-bit transformations is your favourite? Let us know with a comment down below.