Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Save Ferris! The Nintendo Game That Never Was

Last year I had great success with Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult show in Los Angeles. They were kind enough to invite me to contribute work to multiple shows this year, the first being "The Road To Shermer: A Tribute To John Hughes". I'm a little bit different then most kids of the 80's, as I really am not a big John Hughes fan. I have seen his movies, and some of them I really like, but i've never been a huge fan of Sixteen Candles, or The Breakfast Club. But there's a reason for that, and that reason is video games.

I was born in 1980. When I was 5 years old, a brand new shiny Nintendo Entertainment System came into my life one Christmas morning, and me in all of my 5 years of life knew that things would never be the same. We had an Apple II as well as an Intellivision, and they were great, but something about the squatty little Italian plumber and the simple 2 button controller really spoke to my 5 year old sensibilities. Also, it came with a robot that I could play with when my brother wasn't around.

So movies of the 80's came and went, and I saw and loved a few here and there, but I was a video game fiend. It came time to create a piece of artwork for the John Hughes tribute and I had a bit of a hard time coming up with a concept. I started to think about what it was that his movies main draw was, and I thought about the great characters he created that became cultural icons. I quickly drew a comparison to the old Lucas Arts adventure games. Tim Schafer was my John Hughes. Games like Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Sam & Max had characters developed as deeply as any in a film like Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club. But those games came out in the 90's. John Hughes movies exemplified the 80's, and so I would need a more 80's theme to the art piece.

There were some awful Licensed games released for the NES.
Exhibit A:

The thing I love about those old NES boxes was that the artwork was really representative of the gameplay.

Then somewhere down the line someone in marketing decided it would be cool to imply amazing graphics with the box art because you should always judge a book by it's cover:

For a tribute to John Hughes, I thought I'd like to make a game based off of my favorite of John Hughes movies, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". It would have to be an action game set in chicago. It would also need Cameron's dad's Ferrari. Inspired by the Super Mario Bros. box art, my goal was to create a fitting tribute to both John Hughes and Nintendo.

and the finished image:

But as I learned with my "River Tam and the Fireflies" piece, if you build it, they will come. It's cool to have artwork, but it's cooler to create a collectible, one-of-a-kind item. So I made the box:

And you're gonna need a game cartridge and instruction booklet:

(The cartridge doesn't contain an actual Save Ferris game, it was however at one point my copy of "Back to the Future Part II")

All of this and more can be yours if you come down to Gallery 1988's new location in Venice, CA on Friday February 11th. There are 50 artists participating in the show and Gallery 1988 always puts on a fun gallery opening.

Prints will also be available both at the gallery and online in my Etsy store.

P.S. Gallery 1988, how about a "Tribute to Tim Schafer" themed show?


13 said...

I really like your detailed info for your pieces.

me said...

love it.. but it was a ferrari, not a porsche!

Jimbo said...

Hi Joebot - I really dug this piece and bought one of your prints this weekend! I love it! Thanks!

Joebot said...

Awesome Jimbo! Thanks for buying a print! I hope you enjoy it.


Great game :)