Hearts for Hardware, Infinite Continues

I let my Hardware series sit for awhile, but the level of interest on my part was so high that the countdown to insert more coins and continue was ridiculously long. As much as this work had been pushed aside in my schedule, it was constantly on my mind and I was heartbroken not be able to get back to it sooner. But not only have I done so, but I finally upgraded its sub-site as well.

 "First Among Many" 11x14" oil over acrylic on canvas Original art available

"First Among Many"
11x14" oil over acrylic on canvas
Original art available

"First Among Many" represents the C-100, the first of Atari's home Pong systems, from 1976,  though it was still not the first: Sears stores had put out an Atari produce, Sears-branded/Telegames version of this first before Atari stuck its own branding on it and sold it elsewhere. And of course the very popular arcade game preceded it. And, even that was not the first, since Magnavox had developed the original Pong game and even sold it for home use in the one earlier step in hardware history (which I will probably paint, being the first of the first). But as Pong under the Atari brand goes (Magnavox's Odyssey was a multi-game console), this was the first. What would follow in the next few years were a range of Pong variant systems issued by Atari and everyone else--even Nintendo created a Pong machine to sell in Japan! In my own home, prior to the Atari 2600 we had a variant that if I recall correctly was a Radio Shack one.

 "Visionary" 9x12" oil over acrylic on canvas Original art available

"Visionary"
9x12" oil over acrylic on canvas
Original art available

"Visionary" portrays Mattel's forgotten 1979 Microvision handheld, the first handheld game with games you could swap out via cartridge. These "cartridges" were in fact half the entire unit, seemingly, comprising most of the front of the chassis. They played primitive games on a black-and-white lcd of ridiculously low resolution, and not many of them. Though popular upon initial release, this one never took off. Given how expensive it was and how few fun games there were, this ended up being a beta test for what would come a few years later still. It's acknowledged that this was the inspiration for Nintendo's popular Game & Watch series of handhelds, which itself pioneered many things that would carry over to today. I played a Microvision back in the day once, somewhere as a kid. Maybe an in-store display.

 "The Last Days of Old School" 5x7" oil on watercolor board Original art sold

"The Last Days of Old School"
5x7" oil on watercolor board
Original art sold

"The Last Days of Old School" features the Game Boy Advance Micro, the first of the GBA line I've painted. This series goes by whim, not chronologically. Sometimes it goes by private commission, as this one was (collectors, realizing that some more popular hardware paintings tend to sell quickly, have commissioned art before I have chosen to paint them myself). Released right about as the Nintendo DS also released, this was to be the last time a system dedicated to 2D, sprite-based graphics would hit the market. Oh sure people tried to get the GBA to do polygons, but it was counter to the design of the unit. From here on out, it was to be a polygon-based world even if 2D games continued to appear.

Higher res scans of these and the rest of the series can be seen on the (new!) Hearts for Hardware website. Original art and prints are available through their store.