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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fake Bit: Imitation and Limitation


A small but growing trend in video game development uses the “obsolete” graphics and sound of 1980s-era, 8-bit microcomputers to create “fake 8-bit” games on today’s hardware platforms. This paper explores the trend by looking at a specific case study, the platform-adventure game La-Mulana, which was inspired by the Japanese MSX computer platform. Discussion includes the specific aesthetic traits the game adopts (as well as ignores), and the 8-bit technological structures that caused them in their original 1980s MSX incarnation. The role of technology in shaping aesthetics, and the persistence of such effects beyond the lifetime of the originating technologies, is considered as a more general “retro media” phenomenon.

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