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Boy in Gray

As you will no doubt way recall, many moons ago I wrote a little bit about the spectators seen in SNES sports games.
I started the article by speculating that NES games were just happy to have moving MAIN characters, so they couldn't be bothered with showing the crowd as anything more than rectangle-shouldered smily-faces.
Well, that's the SNES and NES...but whither, GAMEBOY Audiences?
Well, the original black-and-white-puke-green Gameboy arrived at an odd point in history: the technology was getting better, but the need to make it portable meant that the screen had dropped to 4 colors (and all of them blurry).
This lead to some interesting situations (for example, when they tried to cram entire digitized-photo-based games onto the gameboy), but let's stay focused on today's topic and look at...
Gameboy Crowds: a studied analysis 4 arbitrary examples
Hal Wrestling
At first glance, this seems like a returned to the NES Pro Wrestling-style of audience of bobble-heads and block-torsos; but if we linger a minute, we'll notice there's a little more going on;
If you compare it to the NES's wrestling crowd, you'll notice its predicessor features lots of colors and some gestures, but they're almost all the same. Whereas, Hal's wrestling fans?
Well, they may be packed in elbow to elbow, and they may be shaped like Fischer-Price people, but they've got a little variety: glasses, different hair-shapes, etc. Graphical Progress! (Or, it might be if it wasn't for that odd "Announcer Booth" that seems to be super-imposed over the audience).
This is a trend we may see continue in the imaginatively-titled...
Track Meet
Ignore for the moment Data East's subtle plug for another one of their Battle Chess! games, and just focus on the spectators observing the two competators man in the 1920s bathing suit and the winded knuckle-dragging behemoth:
Well, I guess it's a sunny day out at the Track (where everyone has Met), because most of the audience appears to be wearing sunglasses (or they all have that Skeletor skull-hole eyes thing).
But the underlying impression is that of many different, unique individuals, scattered in non-repeating patterns through the stands. Innovative AND encouraging! (specifically, I believe it is encouraging you to BUY BATTLE CHESS)
And now we regress a bit with...
Pit Fighter!
Though quality-wise, Gameboy Pit Fighter soundly beats the SNES Pit Fighter in this...Port Fight? (har).
But, despite the festive sunglasses, the Pit Fighter audience is much clunkier than the Track Meet audience: while they have a lively 3 frames of animation, they happen to be copy-paste blocks of 4 dudes.
I guess underground bare-knuckle brawls attract out a less sophisticatedly illustrated crowd than a beautiful spring day's track meeting; who would have guessed?
Well, let's wrap this up with game 4, and its 4 detailed spectators!
WWF: King of the Ring
As these two separate screenshots prove, this pro wrestling title takes Track Meet's approach a little further: it has big, distinctive audience members, scattered around in non-repeating patterns.
The effect definitely creates an illusion of a lot more drawings than are actually there. I had to zoom in to confirm that there's only actually 4 separate drawings:
1. Batman
2. Robot whose head is an empty coffee can
3. Blonde in an evening dress
4. Poor fellow whose neck-brace(?) forces him to look off into the distance, instead of at the wrestling ring.
I picked that spot because it showed all the unique characters next to eachother; but you'll notice the next row down ALSO has the same four...but just by changing their ordering and kerning, you create the illusion of a much more varied crowd.
And the point of all this?
Gameboy:
Still the best
— carlmarksguy, 2016-05-16
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