I've recently revisited the Three Hundred Mechanics project, which is one guy's attempt to document a new, original game design every day for three hundred days. Apparently he's given up on the "every day" part, but among the hundred or so concepts that have been posted so far are quite a few that I really like.
- Massive Boardgame
- Tiny World Cities
- Stacked Fortress
- The Long Rewind
- Banner Serial
- Communist Zombie MUD
- Tiny Crawl World
- Pellet Quest
- Neg-Space Wars
Just pick one at random and take a look! I find them quite clever, often intriguing, and always delightful to imagine. And as an added bonus, the pixel art that accompanies these descriptions provides another nice treat for the imagination. :)
Speaking of pixel art, here's a guy who takes pixel-y classic games and creates awesome painted character and concept art in the delicious flavor of the originals. Not only that, but he also writes up detailed design documents for his reimagined classics. I don't know if these designs are meant to ever be made into real games, but I hope they are - I'd love to play them!
That picture at the top of this post? That's Bomber Queen.
And be sure to check out Viper Girl as well - the art for that one is really inspiring. I'm amazed that no existing games make use of that chunky, solid-color painting style. It just looks so good!
"I like the simple flat colors of the NES version. With such a limited palette, you almost have to go for a simple light-shadow solution. As hardware evolved and artists got more colors, many fell into the trap of doing gradiation and texture just because they could. It's an easy trap to fall into for a painter as well."
Now, if you thought that was cool, here's something that may be even cooler. Take a look through these continuity guides by art director Bill Perkins. While there's a lot of nice concept art on that site, the first dozen slides are what you really need to see.
These images are the continuity guides for a game called Gon, which as far as I can tell never made it out into the real world, sadly. Continuity guides are kind of a step up from concept art. Not experiments in how the game might look, instead they describe how to create art that fits the feel of the game. In this case, that involves an intriguing blend of African art, fractals, plant life, and messing with pictorial space.
Did you know that African art is fractal? I didn't. But apparently a lot of it is, and that's awesome. And what's even more awesome is seeing how these various examples of African art have been drawn upon to deliver a unique and compelling depiction of the savanna. I don't know about you, but I'm inspired. Click.
Oh yes, and before I forget, Mr. Shen wins the internet!
He wins it. Wins. It.