The work of art in the age of digital reproduction
July 29, 2011 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Dead End Thrills uses various cheats and texture packs to make beautiful screenshots. The creation of Duncan Harris, Dead End Thrills uses the techniques of photography - lighting and positioning - and an array of cheats to remove HUDs, arrange elements and polish resolutions to create gorgeous images from video games.

The Mirror's Edge gallery contains wallpapers based on DICE's view of the Swedish Modernist dystopia.

This collection revels almost obscenely in the detail and reflection of the processor-melting iCEnhancer 1.2 mod for Grand Theft Auto IV.

Harris has also retrieved and reassembled the lost 3D art of Blade Runner, from Westwood Studio's atmospheric and ambitious 1997 "simultanequel" to Ripley Scott's film, set in Syd Mead's visual world.
posted by running order squabble fest (19 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
These are pretty great. One of the best trends in recent (console) gaming is the ability to turn off aspects of the HUD. I don't mind if they hide it in menus, it's just nice once you know what you're doing.

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the phrase, "as pretty as a heads-up display."
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:58 AM on July 29, 2011

I remember that Joe Kucan, our director – better known as the villain of Command & Conquer – provided the swivel-hipped walk of hard-as-nails female cop Crystal Steele. I do believe some professionals were brought in for motion capture of the strippers, though.

Ahh, gamer culture. Still, the Blade Runner game was pretty freaking awesome. To be able to play it the way it is being presented here would be fantastic.
posted by charred husk at 11:02 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been looking for something like this for ages. Pretty cool stuff.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2011

Kinda reminds me of the Transworld Project, which has models and objects from Final Fantasy XI set against photographic backgrounds.
posted by xedrik at 11:43 AM on July 29, 2011

These are great. The Left 4 Dead 2 images are creepy as hell. I've run by those bodies more times than I can count, but never stopped to look.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:43 AM on July 29, 2011

I dig this idea; I think my "get off my lawn" card comes from recently playing through Halo: Reach, and every now and again, just looking at the scenery, the detail, the color palette, etc; and thinking back to the broken-ass (albeit fun at the time, and sometimes still to this day) games that I grew up with, like yes, you can argue that HALO is a soulless product, but it's a masterfully crafted product; damn you kids, do you know how lucky you are to be BORED by this??
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:45 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

These are fantastic. It's interesting to see someone take a bunch of games with artistic merit, then apply his own tools to make his own art that looks like the original game, but better.

Looks like he hasn't done Red Dead Redemption yet? That game is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
posted by Nelson at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2011

I've been looking for a source for awesome hi-res Oblivion wallpaper since I rediscovered the game recently.

Help me the game is eating my life help me... oh, just one more quest, what the hey.
posted by MrVisible at 1:55 PM on July 29, 2011

Uther Bentrazor: do you know how lucky you are to be BORED by this??

I'm not a kid, but if it helps I don't take this for granted at all. Riding through the night in Red Dead Redemption, listening to the music and then watching the sun rise from a bluff was a very moving experience.

(Incidentally, it's unlikely that Harris will do RDR - it was never released on PC, and console versions are both lower-res than the highest settings of PC versions and much harder to hack.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:26 PM on July 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

damn you kids, do you know how lucky you are to be BORED by this??

I'm 37, and I got invited to a "HALO party" recently. I spent much of time looking up in the air, getting shot, exclaiming "Look! We're on a giant ring! You can see it! How cool is THAT?"
posted by alasdair at 2:49 PM on July 29, 2011 [7 favorites]

This iCEnhancer folks can come on my lawn any time they want.
My mind can't decide whether to be blown by the fact it looks freaking REAL or by the fact it's a freaking MOD

I would feel all jealous of the kids but I'm having too much fun!
posted by fullerine at 3:20 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is fantastic.

I wish there were some Fallout 3 shots in here, as I imagine that would make some great fodder. Hey, I've only gone a couple pages, maybe there is!

(It's the same basic engine as Oblivion, right? Or am I all wrong?)

Anyway, fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.
posted by kbanas at 6:03 PM on July 29, 2011

Love it, though a bit disappointed by the Portal 2 one. There are a bunch of 'scales in that game that would sparkle under his treatment.
posted by googly at 6:12 PM on July 29, 2011

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the phrase, "as pretty as a heads-up display."

Metroid Prime.
I showed my dad Red Dead Redemption on my new TV and he said 'I think I understand why you like games.'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:01 PM on July 29, 2011

This is very cool, I had a similar idea... oh, a week ago. Seriously. Glad to see someone's doing it in a more awesome way than I would ever have.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:20 PM on July 29, 2011

Oh man, I had forgotten all about this site somehow. It looks like I have quite a bit to catch up on. Thanks for the post!
posted by danb at 9:23 PM on July 29, 2011

In my mind, gamespaces become more than just their appearance; I start to associate emotion with them. Traveling in a place that's near my home, but not entirely familiar to me, for example, gives me the feeling of the southeast quadrant of the Legend of Zelda map. I devoted a lot of time between 1997 and 2007 to Team Fortress and Team Fortress Classic, so a feeling of anticipatory tenseness is associated in my mind with the rock walls of 2fort5r's basement and the weird half-light of the shutdown2 flag room.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:24 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

... Ripley Scott's film...

I see what you did there.
posted by hootenatty at 6:49 PM on July 31, 2011

Freudian d'oh!
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:37 AM on August 1, 2011

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