Older pixelated video games can be fun to play, but there is a certain artistic style to 8- and 16-bit games that can be quite eye-catching. 18-year-old French architecture student, Pierre Laurent, decided to let the art from his favorite Gameboy Advance game, Metroid Fusion, stand on its own in a three-dimensional cutout display.
Tools and materials for this type of project are quite simple and include: thick paper, foamboard, plexiglass, glue, and a craft knife. To recreate this affect with your own choice of pixel art, start out by obtaining a good picture of the game, avoiding any compression methods that would enlarge the pixels. An isolated image of the background then needs to be completed using Photoshop, GIMP, or the image-editing program of your choice. Laurent used several different image sources to get the background correct, but according to the original Reddit post, some emulators allow for certain layers to be turned off. This could help enhance the image or just make this step easier.
Images are then printed out on thick paper and slowly cut out pixel by pixel. Once everything is cut out, the figures are then glued onto the background on small pieces of foamboard to keep things separate and “three-dimensional.” Laurent also used plexiglass to separate the smaller displays (like ammo and time) so that the separation would be less visible.
Laurent also notes that you need “a bit of time,” which if you’re anything like me, is the greatest barrier to projects like this! Perhaps more advanced tools could be used, like a laser cutter or an electronic cutting machine, but those certainly present their own challenges.
Although the instructions on his page are meant to apply to any game pixel art (or, I suppose, any image), Laurent provides scenery from his Metroid display in PDF form in his excellent tutorial. He also notes that he was inspired by Mav Vasquez’s art, as seen here.