I created the background using various color fills and layer effects (drop shadows, textures, etc.) in order to create the illusion of a screen and the outer casing of a handheld game unit. I chose a greenish tint for the screen because most handhelds from the old days had a similar shade to them.
step 2 of 5
Next I added some platforms for my soon-to-be characters to interact with/on. Also, I added a blue tint to the top half of the game screen in order to simulate a crude sky.
step 3 of 5
Now it was time to actually create my pixelated protege. Using the contest's source file as a reference I actually began by tracing over the sketch with small, black boxes. I placed them one at a time and positioned them where I felt worked best for the image. Once the main outline was complete, I removed the source file and used my own judgment to touch up the character.
step 4 of 5
Feeling that one of these little buggers wasn't enough, I cloned the kid and slightly altered his copies in order to give them their own unique poses (some of them, anyway). I also made note not to let any of the characters physically touch the ground/platform they were standing on. This was done to properly create that "old school" feeling, as game avatars from this genre rarely came into full contact with the ground (from what I remember, anyway).
step 5 of 5
Lastly, I added an old school timer and health bar in order to complete the illusion. You'll also notice that nothing on the screen is set to 100% opacity. This makes the screen look even older, which vicariously makes the desired effect a success. Thanks for viewing!