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.”
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.
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.