Better Late Than Never - Andy Green Pixel Art Book gets a BIG Florinthedwarf review!

Better late than never? Sounds like my train company's slogan.

It's finally here! Yes, Andy Green (or Sir Andy Green I like to call him - shoe size unknown) has at last put a collection of his amazing pixel art together in book form for us all to enjoy. No more having to log on to Facebook to see it, now it can sit handsomely on your bookshelf waiting for you to take out and browse at your leisure. My first impression - don't drop it on your foot. Ha, I joke of course. It's a bit of a whopper indeed, but it's what's needed to fully appreciate to grand-ness of the project. To really appreciate the detail that's gone into each image, you really do need to have a substantial size which really helps to blow you away with its majesty. Coming in at almost 140 pages, this will keep you enthralled until the last page.

If only Andy was around to do pixel art in the eighties. He'd be a very busy man!

The work contained here is nothing short of incredible. And I'm not just saying this because it's full of Speccy goodness (honest) as there are some Commodore Amiga art in here too (but mainly Speccy - and why not?!) but I can honestly say that the work here is truly breathtaking. If you've seen Andy's work before then you'll know what I'm talking about if not, then it's time to pick up this book and prepare to pick up you jaw from the floor. 

Be careful! You almost took my eye out then!

So, what inspired Andy to get into pixel art? Well, Andy picked up his first Speccy back in 1982 and as the years went on, the loading screens went from plain text of 'Now Loading' to some truly inspirational art that people thought they'd never see on the humble Speccy.  This got Andy thinking that he could do something similar and really create some special things on the Speccy. He spent some time creating some art on the machine using the tools of the time (OCP Art Studio, The Artist etc.) but being that kind of age and there being so many games to play, this was put onto the back foot. What a shame. But, here we are now. A little bit older and with a little more time to work on these things, Andy came back with a vengeance! And what vengeance! The majority of Andy's work are re-workings of classic games loading screens that he thought may require a bit of a touch up or those classic games that didn't have one at all. So many classic games with minimal or no loading screen whatsoever, which is a shame. But that's where Andy comes in.

I swear I've seen this game before? Think I'm having flashbacks.

Though, it's not just loading screens of existing games that Andy works on but he has also created loading screens for a lot of new release indie games titles for the Spectrum; along with interpretations of classic games that either never made it out of the game studio or classic games available on other formats that never graced the Speccy. Whether that be because they were too big for the Speccy to handle (see Flashback above) or just never came to be released. Just to see these images just makes you wonder what it could have been like on the Speccy. Could you imaging working your way through Flashback on the Spectrum? Would it have been possible? Maybe, maybe not but it's a lot of fun and interesting to look at and think about. Personally, I'd welcome Flashback on the Speccy as I only ever played it on the Amiga and never got around to finishing it. Not my fault obviously, it was down to a corrupt disk (5 of 5 if I remember rightly) which stopped me from completing it. Dammit. Moral of the story, if you're buying second hand - don't buy it from Cash Converters. Though, could you image how long the cassette tape would be if it ever was released for the Spectrum? We're talking Street Fighter II levels of tape on spool here. Sorry, I didn't mean to mention that game here. Time to move on!

See, told you there was some Amiga art too. I'm not a Speccy snob, after all.

Other art contained are Andy's original works when he got hold of an Amiga and became inspired by that. We see a rather gruesome green character above which would be sure to invade your nightmares and keep you awake at night (a little like Street Fighter II, probably but it probably wouldn't last as long it takes to load). Though, let's not stop at the Amiga for tool long as another Sinclair machine is afoot. Yes, with the release of the Spectrum Next fast approaching, Andy has taken advantange of this situation and created some loading screens making use of the Next pallette with beautiful effect.

A full size, full colour loading screen of The New Zealand Story? Whatever next?

Ok, so it didn't take me long to come back to something relating to a Spectrum (sorry) but here is where Andy's inspirations lie and make up the majority of the book. There are so so many images in the book, so many that they wouldn't fit in this article though, I'd like to think of this as a teaser as opposed to a freebee because you'll be happy to know all profits from the sale of this book go to charidee, mate. Yes, the book's authors Andy Green and Richard Langford are taking zero cut from the book sales and their chosen charity is the Multiple Scelrosis Society which is very worth cause.  If that wasn't enough, the book also contains a section written by another pixel and graphic artist who worked on many ZX Spectrum games (Double Dragon II, Rodland) Shaun McLure. Everything you need to while away the afternoons with a cup of tea. Bliss.

Andy certainly worked his 'magick' on this one!
Andy's book is available on Amazon here. Please ignore their delivery dates. For some bizarre reason, Amazon will tell you it will be delivered to you within 1 to 3 months - this is not true. If you order, it will be delivered within the usual delivery times. Don't let this put you off! This is book that you need in your life. Just think, not only do you get a book full of amazing art that you can come back to again and again, but you're also doing your thing for a very worthy charity. That's very kind of you and very Christmassy. Order it today and prepare to be blown away, you lovely charitable person you!

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