While extensively covering Disney’s 1982 computer-world movie Tron, I referenced futurist Syd Mead quite a bit. He left an indelible mark on that film and many other seminal SF works like Blade Runner. He passed away yesterday at age 86
Tron director Steven Lisberger (in black) meets with his art design staff: Syd Mead (centre, wearing tie), camera right of him is Moebius, next to him is Peter Lloyd
On Tron, Mead’s specialty in future-cool hardware was put to good use, designing the tanks and villain Sark’s huge floating carrier, along with the eye-catching TRON title font. But his most iconic design for the film, that ranks up there with the flying spinner car from Blade Runner, were the lightcycles. Still recognizable as motorcycles, but sleek, imposing and merging man and machine, they are a design that has lived on in the imagination far past when the lights came up in the theatres.
Tron lightcycles from original film, 1982
Rendered as CGI creations in Tron by effects house MAGI via their Synthavision process, the lightcycles had to be scaled back a bit from Mead’s vision. He did get to have the full look of the vehicles realized in the sequel, Tron Legacy. The biggest difference between the two is how the rider truly becomes a part of the cycle in Legacy, other than just being a driver inside it.
Syd Mead concept drawing of Tank interior
Mead also worked directly in the video game industry, including designing the vehicles in the 1995 Sega Saturn game Cyber Speedway. I think it’s fair to say the extended garage of our possible future wouldn’t look nearly as cool if not for the startling design work of Syd Mead. His practical but far-flung vision will be missed. RIP.
You can read my coverage of Tron and see many of Mead’s designs for it here on my site: http://bit.ly/2Z1CK8J
Original Syd Mead lightcycle design, with driver who becomes part of the vehicle
The Gashlycrumb Tinies is an infamous 1963 book written and illustrated by Edward Gorey. In it 26 children, each one with a name that starts with the next letter of the alphabet, die from various causes, all put to rhyme.
Over at brentalfloss, they have adapted Gorey’s work as the Game Over Tinies, where various video game characters meet their demise in similar fashion. It is a masterfully done tribute to both the original work and the dangerous lives of video game characters. Here’s a sample:
This tickles me. It’s a gallery that presents some popular video games and re-imagines them as book covers in the style of Penguin classics. They have the wonderfully abstract yet impactful feeling of the 60’s. Here’s a taste, see if you can guess the classic third-person shooter it represents:
Talk about putting in your two cents! Out of Sweden comes Insert Coin, a 4:27 minute short stop-motion video of coins being moved around to create retro-game images. It is done by the A/V performance team Rymdreglage aka Ninja Moped, comprised of Daniel Larsson and Tomas Redigh.
The short is startlingly good, with a nifty chiptunes soundtrack. Their YouTube channel has over a couple hundred other uploaded videos to enjoy as well.
Perfectly captured in forlorn sepia tones is the fate of the E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial game by Atari, infamous for helping sink the company and its flagship console the 2600, and thus the rest of the U.S. video game industry in 1983 – 1984. Created by artist Pauline Acalin, these 6×6 digital prints feature the rejected 8-bit fugitive wandering a landfill, while the ghosts of slightly more popular electronic aliens look on mourning his fate. The work is simply titled “1983”.