Ralph McQuarrie (June 13, 1929 – March 3, 2012)

Ralph McQuarrie - Hoth

One of Sci-Fi Arts true legends Ralph McQuarrie has sadly passed away aged 82, Ralph was the visionary concept artist and illustrator responsible for the look and feel of the original Starwars trilogy. Born and raised in Gary Indiana, Ralph moved to California in the 60’s where he was first employed as a technical illustrator for Boeing. Ralph left in 1965 before becoming a commercial artist and designer working on a variety of projects such as these film posters. At the end of the 60’s as part of a three-man team, he animated US TV network CBS’s coverage of Nasa’s Apollo space programme this can be seen here (would love to see more of this). Not too long afterwards McQuarrie was approached by George Lucas to discuss plans for a certain sci-fi fantasy film…

Sci-Fi-O-Rama presents an analysis and artistic appreciation of five pioneering 8-bit and 16-bit computer games.

The era is the mid to late 80’s, a period fabulously rich in gaming concepts and innovation as developers frantically sought to grasp, harness and subsequently wring every last nanogram of creativity from the available platforms of the day. Each title here contained – for the time – an array of groundbreaking ideas and technologies. What else connects them? well of course I played them way back when and thus they are in some way or another forever burned into the hazy mists of my subconscious.

I’ve been mulling over this one for a while but wasn’t sure quite how to start, hence the recent posting log jam. I wanted to compose an extended retro game feature, but not just to give a rose tinted review of gameplay or mechanics. Here then is a more focused look at the visuals themselves, what fascinated back then and what us still so beautiful and relevant today, 2012.