Back in the heyday of Nintendo’s NES, video game hardware wasn’t advanced enough to handle the kind of polygon-based visuals that are the industry standard today. Instead, artists had to bitmap their characters.
Bitmapping involves laying down squares of color, called pixels, to form an image. It’s essentially a digital mosaic, and with enough time and dedication, you could perfectly recreate the cast of your favorite 8-bit classic using a sheet of graph paper.
Or, as one retro fan in Japan recently did, a screen door.
Almost everyone in Japan hangs their laundry outside to dry, usually on a balcony. To provide easy access, many apartments have entire walls that are basically large sliding glass doors, with equally large screens behind them.
Most people just see that screen as a way to let in a little fresh air, but Twitter user Jenihara saw something different: a canvas.
The NES had a display resolution of 256 by 240, and while that’s a lot of pixels, it’s still way fewer than the number of boxes made by the grid of a screen door. In other words, there was nothing holding Jenihara back from sprucing his up with a few Final Fantasy III characters.
Using a toothpick to apply stained glass ink, Jenihara went to work, using four squares of screen door for every pixel in the character art. Even after quadrupling their sizes, though, there was still plenty of room, and in the end the creative artist finished a complete set of all the job classes in Squaresoft’s beloved role-playing game from 1990.
Don’t assume that Jenihara is strictly a Nintendo loyalist, either, as another of his muses is the 1986 Sega shooter Fantasy Zone.
Exposure to air causes the ink to harden, and Jenihara says the colors look especially dazzling when the sunlight hits them, as you’d expect from artwork made with the same materials used for stained glass. For anyone who spent more hours growing up in front of an NES or Master System than inside a church, we’re sure it’s a similarly reverent sight.