The Most Beautiful 2D Video Games

When thinking about art, most people think of pieces that are hanging on a wall in a museum for eternity, but why do we limit ourselves to seeing art as just sculptures and paint on canvases. I feel that anything can be art, especially if someone is passionate enough about a project.

This also includes masterfully crafted 2D video games. Today I am going to discuss these video games, and why I classify them as true masterpieces.

Limbo – A Journey Into Darkness

Source YouTube

Limbo was released in 2010 and it was created by indie developer Playdead. The game is mostly in black and white and it has you solving puzzles while you play as a boy. The controls in Limbo are incredibly simple, as you can only push, pull, run, and jump.

Limbo will have you traversing one of the most beautifully crafted worlds in video game history, and all you are trying to do is avoid dying at the hands of monsters and you are trying to find a lost girl. Limbo is not a difficult game, it is a game that tries to give the player an experience that you don’t find with most action platforming titles. When playing Limbo, the game’s ambiance and design have actually messed with my emotions.

Inside – A Masterclass in Missdirection

Source YouTube

Inside was also developed by Playdead, and it will have you going on a journey that is quite similar to the one you go on in Limbo. You play a nameless boy, but the story and the feel of the game are intensified so much over what you get in Limbo. I actually cried during my first play through of the game. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story of Inside, so I suggest if you want to have a video game experience like no other just pick up a copy of inside and give it a try.

Hollow Knight – New Age Hollow Hero

Source YouTube

Hollow Knight is a 2D action platformer that was developed by Team Cherry and it was released in 2017. It is a Metroidvania style game so it gets its influence from 2D action icons Metroid and Castlevania. In Hollow Knight, you play as the knight seeking an adventure in the town of Dirtmouth. You will go on an adventure to stop the infection that is plaguing the inhabitants of the Hollownest.

Starbound – A Journey Beyond Earths Bounds

Source YouTube

Starbound is a 2D action-adventure game that was released in 2016 and was developed by Chucklefish. If you are wanting to go on an interstellar adventure this game is perfect for you. In the beginning, you will find yourself on a ship after the destruction of Earth, and you will be tasked to explore other planets and the galaxy as a whole. You can do a lot of base and ship customization in Starbound and it is a perfect game for people that like an open environment to explore.

All of these games are perfect arguments for why videogames can be considered art. They bring qualities characteristics that you will not find in most other games. These games will take you on a journey, and you will revel at the first chance that you get to share your experience with someone else.

The Best 3 Online Courses to Learn 2D Video Game Development

Most 2D video games are adventure games or platforms. After you have figured out what type of game you want to make you need to find out where you are going to learn.

Screenshot of Udemy

The first source I would recommend is Udemy.com. They Specifically have a course called Cool 2D Action Game in Unity that I think is one of the best for beginners to learn what skills they need to make a game. You are going to learn how to make the world or your game and even how to make the characters that go into your world. You will learn how to sketch and paint objects in your 2D creation. Overall this course is awesome for people that are just starting out with 2D game design.

Learn the Game Making Process with Lynda

Lynda video game course
Screenshot of Lynda

Another great resource is the 2D Game Design and Development Essential Training course that is found on Lynda.com. This course is great for learning the game making process, and how to get inspiration for the mechanics and characters in your games. This course will get you in the game making mindset more than most other courses on the market. You will learn what games to play to get inspired and how to decide what features work well with different types of games. Overall, it is going to make your game making process more streamlined and easier to follow.

Learn to Code Unity From the Source

Screenshot of Unity3d

Finally, we come to the 2D Mobile Game Development course that was created by Unity with help from Unity3d. This partnership has created one of the most comprehensive mobile game development courses I have seen and It goes over all of the basic functions you will have to learn to make your first mobile game. It is an awesome course to get your foot in the mobile development door, and it opens you up to being able to learn and understand so much more information in the future. They will even show you how to publish the game to the Google Play Store and how to monetize your game through Unity Ads.

All of these courses on making sure you know how to make the world in which your characters will live, and how to make compelling characters. People want to play games that real thought and passion went into. If people can tell that you tried your hardest and you have done some clever writing, there are no limits to the people that will enjoy your game.

Courses like these prove that you don’t have to go to school to get the information and skills you want to make your 2D masterpiece. If you are a self-starter and can motivate yourself to get it done, these resources are all you need to make your vision a reality.

screenshot of hollow knight

What 2D Video Games to Play this Fall

It appears as if it may be that season of the year again. When the leaves begin to fall off the trees and the smell of pumpkins and cinnamon fill the air. Video game lovers don’t tend to complain about being stuck inside all day. They get to enjoy their time by playing games. Don’t get bored this fall. This fall you can sit down with a cozy blanket with these 5 games.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley 2D Video Game
Source: YouTube

The game starts off with you at an office in the city. Your grandfather passes away. He left a letter explaining that his farm in Stardew Valley will now be in your hands. You start off with a few tools and coins to start your new life as a farmer. You then will be able to customize your farm and home the way you want. You can raise animals, tend to crops, go fishing, and cook food. You will become part of the community that is home to over 30 residents to be friends with. Find that special someone. Meet a cute girl or guy, have dates, and start a family of your own. Explore caves and battle monsters while collecting treasures.

Castle Crashers

Castle Crashers 2D Video Game
Source: YouTube

This game is a fictional medieval-themed world. It starts off with 4 knights attending a party in the King’s castle. A dark wizard appears at the party to steal a mystical gemstone and capturing 4 beautiful princesses. The king sends the knights to get the gem from the dark wizard. You are one of those knights. You will then have to battle enemies. After you select one of the colorful and playful characters, the player will choose a stage to play through.

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight 2D Video Game
Source: YouTube

In Hollow Knight you play as a insect like nameless knight. Your quest is to understand the mysteries of the kingdom called Hallownest. You’ll encounter many enemies. Most of them are bugs. You can either use melee attacks or learn spells. It a beautiful and mysterious experience.

Terraria

Terraria 2D Video Game
Source: YouTube

The first thing you may notice about this game is that it is very similar to Minecraft. Terraria is a world where you need to fight for your survival and money. Dig in the dirt and build what you want. Find stronger foes to battle and test your strength.

Limbo

Limbo 2D Video Game
Source: YouTube

Limbo is a grainy, black and white puzzle game about a boy who wakes up in the middle of the forest on the “edge of hell” where he meets a gigantic spider who tries to kill him. You will use a trap to cut off the sharp areas on the spider’s legs. The spider then retreats further into the forest and the boy is then allowed to pass through. He then gets caught up in more puzzles which you will have to complete. It is a fun logical game.

Enjoy these four unique and playful games. They will keep you entertained for hours. No joke!

How to Come Up With a Design for Your 2D Video Game Character

How to Come Up With a Design for Your 2D Video Game Character

Creating a 2D character is not easy. You have to put so much thought into what you want to create. What is your character’s personality? Are they moody, gloomy, happy, or hyper? What are their likes and dislikes?

Long hair or short hair? Special powers or no powers at all? There are so many creative options for your character. So let out your full creative spirit and let’s determine how to make a 2D character.

Keep The Creativity

The designer often begins their creation through a sketch. Most designers believe this is where the true magic is captured. Your first idea can sometimes be your best. Go with the flow and see where it takes you.

Don’t Use Reference Materials

We all need inspiration, but it should not come from someone else’s work. You need to come up with something all on your own. Try to go for a walk to get some inspiration.

Example of Golem character design

Don’t Debunk Your Original Idea

If you decide to go a different route with your character, make sure to keep your original piece, just in case you decide to go back to it or want to use it elsewhere. Sometimes your work can shift somewhere else and look back at your original work can put you back on the right track.

What Kind Of Character Are You Making?

Choose their personality and work it into their facial and bodily features. Over exaggerate your character if you want. This can make them more interesting. Choose their;

  • Gender
  • Hair color
  • Hair type and design
  • Body type
  • Nose shape
  • Clothing
  • Eye color
  • Eye design
  • Hobbies
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Personality traits

Try to make your character as unique as possible.

Make Your Character Stand Out

Add some flavor. Extra color and more distinctive detail can make your character stand out from the others. There are many different types of characters that sort of resemble each other. So you may want to make your stick out and appealing to the eye, but not overbearing.

Find The Right Position

The right posture and position can show off the personality of the character. Putting your character in a pose with dominance can show others that your character is a leader or the posture of your character is slouched over, showing that your character is sluggish and tired.

Example of knight character design

Simply Made

Exaggeration may get the viewer’s attention, but that does not work for every character. Keep it simple for simple personalities and detailing. Some individuals look better with a minimalistic design.

All About The Angles

Make sure to get every angle of your character, every mood, and every hobby or sport that you want your character to do. This can make your character more fun. You can also do more things with your character this way.

Too Much Color, Too Little Color

Choose the colors on your character and make them accentuate each other nicely. Do not overdo the color. That can make your character unappealing.
It can also be bothersome to the eye. Choose balance and complementary colors. Also, pick the correct shading in the right places. Eye shines are also a great addition.

Props And Accessories

Having props and accessories such as surf boars, pets, toys, scarves, and phones can show off your character’s personality. It’s amazing what a simple necklace can do to a character’s look. If they are part of royalty then they should be wearing a crown to tell everyone who they are.

Example of Zombie character design

Backstory

Choose the backstory for your character. Is the backstory bad, sad, happy, or unusual? This will also be seen as a part of your character’s personality. Did they lose a family member or a pet? Are they a dancer or singer?

Your character should be creative and completely from your inspired mind. Creating the looks to fit the personality as well as the back story can bring your character to life. Also, making your details very distinctive will make them more interesting.

Where to find Art for Your 2D Video Game

Where to Find Art For Your 2D Video Game

Ok, so now you’re all set to design your own game and get it out there on the market! So where can you find artwork for your awesome game? Yes, you can sit down and designing it all on your own, but that’s not your only option! The internet is full of 2D video game art resources!

By doing a little bit of searching online, you will be able to find several sources of art for your game. There are some sites that offer bundles of characters, assets, and backgrounds available for purchase. If free downloads are what you are looking for, you should be able to find those as well!

Open Game Art

Open Game Art is a popular site that offers free downloadable 2D and 3D art and graphics. It’s categorized and even has a forum for its users. You can find it all on their website.

Itch.io

Source: Itch.io

Indie game developers will really like this site! Not only does it provide free, downloadable graphics, but it’s also a platform that allows you to publish your game!

Spriteland

Source: Spriteland

This is the place for the mobile 2D game developer! They have great free graphics available as well as tutorials and games to try out.

Game Art Guppy

The creator of this site wanted to help indie game developers that were on a budget find what they needed to really get their game going! You can find a lot of free artwork or even some that’s available to buy at a low cost.

GameDev Market

This is a really cool site to browse! You can find most of the artwork you need including characters and scrolling repeatable backgrounds. Some of their content is free and some has an affordable price tag, but the site gives you that search filter option.

So here you have some great resources to help get you started on your game-development journey! You should be able to find some really helpful 2D video game art resources with this information!

create your game with gdevelop

Create Your Own Video Game with G Develop

From the outside, video games show off some great graphics, controls, and content to get players hooked. We know there’s so much put into them that it makes the inside of a video game even more interesting. How is everything programmed? Why does coding feel so complicated? What makes games work? The fascination results in players wanting to make their own games, which means that searching for the right game engine software will be a priority. For those that wonder what could be the right software to create video game content, they’ll have to look no further; GDevelop is one of my favorite creations yet, and I want other game enthusiasts to have a go on what could be their one-way ticket to making great games that will be as great as what has come before! Knowing how to create your own video game has never been much easier until now, and GDevelop has what it takes to go beyond gamers’ wildest imaginations!

example game created with gdevelop

How does GDevelop work?

GDevelop is a game engine made to work as open-source and cross-platform compatible as possible. It’s the right software to create video game content regardless of the genre; not only can developers make platformers, retro themed games, and puzzles among the many forms of game mechanics available, but using GDevelop helps players know what to do with easy to follow programming. They let players have the option to learn how to take notes from pre-made games and deviate from them before making a new project from scratch. GDevelop also wants programmers to show off what they’ve done with their games for others to see. You can also know how to create your own video game if you’re struggling by taking the advice of their fellow programmers, so you won’t feel like a fish out of water. Developers can test out their game right after they’re done programming, they can export their game wherever they want. Best of all, it’s free to try out! Those are aspects that won’t be found on other game engine sites.

Conclusion

Overall, there’s so much to enjoy from a game engine like GDevelop. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but developers can try it out online if they choose. Also, players can get into the tutorials and start with either platformers or tank shooters. If that’s not all, they can ask for help in a community forum or the official GDevelop Discord Server. Whatever players want to do, whenever they want to make their dreams come true, there’s never been a better time than now to enjoy a game engine like GDevelop, especially now that we’re in a time where gaming has changed so much.

Where to find Art for Your 2D Video Game

2D Video Game Art Styles

Video games are such a big part of the everyday lives of millions of people around the world. Not only do we play them for the thrill of the story or the mental challenge of overcoming puzzles or obstacles, but many of us enjoy them for their artistic value. A lot of video games play out in a 3D style and give us worlds to explore and enjoy much like our own reality. However, there is so much to be said for the classic 2D gaming style!

2D games art remains a timeless classic. Some of my favorite visual games are the side-scrolling, two-dimensional games with art that ranges from intricate color, texture and detail to the classic pixel look that brings back childhood memories of gaming. Here are a few different types of 2D art styles you can find in these games.

Pixel Art

Remember the classic console games from the 80’s and 90’s? That’s the kind of game that uses pixel art. It’s nostalgic and fun and usually pretty colorful!

Flat

In the way that pixel art doesn’t really push realism in its style, the flat art style strays from it even further. The pictures are images with very little shading and can even look like they have been cut from paper.

Geometric

This is yet another style that doesn’t attempt to portray realistic images, but it is very similar to pixel art in that it has a very retro feel. In a geometric-style game, you will find a lot of bright neon lines, squares, and angles contrasted against black backgrounds.

Cel Shading

Cel shading brings us into the three-dimensional look for games. Yes, they are still played as a 2D experience, but there’s a little more realism to the art. Shading and shadows give the game some realistic depth, but there are no gradients in the colors.

Realism

This is a style that pushes further than cel shading with realist art in video gaming. Textures, colors, shading, all these provide a gorgeous gaming experience for the 2D gamer! Realism is a more modern style of 2D games art. It provides the most 3D look for a game that can still be played in two dimensions.

No matter which style of art is used in a game, each one can be captivating and provide a great gaming experience!

The Best 2D Video Games of All Time

The Best 2D Video Games of All Time

There’s a lot to enjoy about 2D games, even if they may not seem as advanced as their 3D counterparts! Even if they may not be as expansive as their future successors in terms of gameplay due to how linear they tend to be, they can still provide a lot of fun for players to enjoy, especially when they’re in several genres to keep players satisfied with whatever they’re playing. Let’s take a look at several fan favorite 2D video games and game franchises of all time!

Super Mario

Mario Bros 2D game
Source YouTube

While a variety of games featuring the titular character and his friends have been made over the years, Mario still remains a part of 2D gaming new and old. Many of the best 2D video games stem from the Mario series, with sequels made after the original, remakes of the older games with updated sprites, music, and availability on then-recent consoles made after the NES, and even modernized takes on the old platformers with the New Super Mario Bros series! Aspects of several games made include Super Mario Bros 2 having 4 playable characters (Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad) and Super Mario World introducing Yoshi. Spinoffs staring other characters, such as Yoshi and Wario, have also been made with different gameplay styles in mind!

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the hedgehog 2D
Source: YouTube

It’s sort of hard to reason with the Sonic fanbase about why it’s alright to like the more recent Sonic games, but that doesn’t mean 2D Sonic’s aged poorly! The original game was fun to play, with a nice variety of both speeding through the zones and knowing when to platform smarter than harder. The sequels featuring new characters and alternate forms of obtaining Chaos Emeralds made those unique from the original, and there are also games such as Sonic CD, Knuckles & Chaotix, and both the Advance and Rush series that have their own share of adventures for the Blue hedgehog. Two modern versions of the 2D Sonic formula were made by Sega: the not-so-well received Sonic 4 and the great Sonic Mania.

Kirby

Kirby 2D Game
Source: YouTube

Often a character appearing near the end of a system’s run, Kirby’s an adorable pink puff with the ability to inhale enemies and use their powers on his own advantage; this wasn’t the case for the GBA Dream Land game, but it was feature that debuted in Kirby’s Adventure and has been a part of the character since then. Some examples of Kirby’s games are known to be people’s favorite 2D video games, including Super Star, Squeak Squad, and Mass Attack. A handful of games were remade for then-modern consoles that appeared years after the originals, and even when Kirby became 3D, he still had games made for 2D platformers.

Street Fighter

Street Fighter 2D Game
Source: YouTube

Fighting games generally work better when they’re 2D, and Street Fighter is no exception. The series began on the arcades and has since then been part of the home console market. With several sequels, spin-offs, and alternate versions of the older games, Street Fighter makes for a phenomenal button-mashing game that takes characters such as Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and more to a whole new level. Said characters went up against other properties, such as Marvel Super Heroes. SNK, Tekken, and Ryu got to appear in Super Smash Bros. while he and a handful of guest characters appeared on the mobile fighting game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars, where he had the ability to morph into the Ryu Ranger!

Ghosts ‘n Goblins

Ghost n Goblins 2D
Source: YouTube

With a goal to rescue a princess while playing as Sir Arthur and his weak armor, taking on all the weird things that would go bump in the night makes everything seem really challenging. Either way, the gameplay is more than just making sure Sir Arthur doesn’t end up in his boxers along the way, as players have to take advantage of the weapons and armory found to survive before encountering the boss. Then there’s having to replay the game again on a more difficult level, which requires remembering how previous levels and enemies were beaten. It’s something that has never changed for Ghosts ‘n Goblins, but that’s what makes the series more worthwhile for players in general!

What’s not to love with these examples of some of the best 2D video games in the world? While there are 3D games of some of these mentioned franchises that may take the spotlight, nothing’s better than trying out an old console and getting the nostalgia of being a kid and enjoying either an NES or Gameboy Advance. Modern players can also have fun with their remakes and ports