8-bit Noir

My kids and I have been playing a fair bit of Atari 2600 games lately using the Stella emulator, which works for Mac, PC and Linux—what platform doesn’t love Atari 2600? When playing the 1980 classic Night Driver I was struck by how much that game reminds me of all those film noir inspired scenes that feature the darkest night lit only by a feeble set of headlights. My first thought was “that’s some 8-bit noir, right there,” and my next thought was “that would make a pretty seamless GIF.”

night driver 1

Now compare this with a similar GIF I made from Robert Siodomak’s The Killers a few months back as the Hardboiled class was just getting started.

Opening scene of Robert Siodomak’s The Killers

It would be fun to try and find and piece together all the scenes with a shot like this throughout film history. I bet there would be a ton.

Anyway, the idea of animated a scene from an Atari 2600 game is now an animated GIF assignment over at ds106 called Animate 2600, give it a shot if you have the 8-bit grit to do it.

Also, a quick note on how I did this. I have all the 2600 roms for Stella locally, so downloaded a trial version of Screenflow to capture a few seconds of the gameplay and then exported the video. The trial version of  Screenflow adds a watermark to any exports, so I made the Stella window as small as possible and moved it to the upper left-hand corner of my screen. I still caught a bit of the “D” from the “Demo” watermark, but luckily I was able to airbrush it out in GIMP. It is a few extra steps which can be annoying, but Atari 2600 games are pretty ripe for the GIFing.

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6 Responses to 8-bit Noir

  1. Alan Levine says:

    This is mint.

    I’m ecstatic you are free from your public sector work to give Bavaness to GIFfest!

  2. Reverend says:

    Alan,
    Yeah, watching from the sidelines while inundated with other work is painful, I miss it so. But the next 3 weeks is a welcome reprieve. What’s more, I am not teaching next semester so I can experiment a bit more with ds106 as an open, online participant—a role I relish.

    Thanks for the GIF festival, it has kickstarted by GIF love, and that is never a bad thing.

  3. Pat says:

    After effects has a classical tile plugin, which when combined with posterize makes for easy 8 bit effects 🙂

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  5. John says:

    Love the way your ricochet from noir to 8 bit games. I’m now thinking about giffin’ some hypercard animations if I can find them.

    Recent versions of Quicktime let you record screen without watermarks, might be useful.

  6. John says:

    Had a feeling QT does not record dvds, so checked, it does not (in case anyone gets mislead by previous comment).

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