Late last year we published a story about PixelBlocks, LEGO-like building blocks that are perfect for recreating classic 8 and 16-bit sprites. Their size and shape make them ideal for 1 to 1 comparisons between retro images and the blocks you have at home. Yes you can do the same with LEGOs or stitching or beads, but there's something blessedly serene about constructing your favorite characters out of the highly reflective PixelBlocks.
Previously we wandered all over the NES-scape, making Samus, Pokemon, Kuros from Wizards & Warriors, all kinds of stuff. This time it's all Mega Man, a highly expensive endeavor that cut our robot-building short due to "Christ how can they cost this much?" First up was Mega Man 2's Air Man:
This guy is... large. He's part of the "heavy hitters" club, an exclusive organization with members such as Wood Man, Napalm Man and Hard Man. As such, he devours many, many blocks, most notably black and blue. We'd never really paid much attention to the actual cost of building these things, just buying blocks as we need them and creating cool objects. Air Man, containing only four colors, probably cost $50 total by the time you add up all the packages necessary.
There's a secondary reason for building Air Man - he contains no skin tones, seemingly the one shade of block that doesn't exist. It's an amazing oversight that's causing us a lot of trouble. Take Ice Man:
So, he looks really tan, when he needs to be plain old flesh-toned. That color is the closest approximation and it's not close at all. Thus, we've decided to steer clear of sprites with skin showing, or, at the very least, have very little. And yes, he's in a freezer. Because he's Ice Man.
Some quick tips: start at the feet and work up through the legs and head, then hit the arms. Once it's done, you need to double up the blocks on the feet so they can stand without tipping over. You do not want one of these teetering over the edge of a shelf. It is hideous.
Also, consider only buying pieces by color, not the gigantic gift sets they sell. If you know exactly what you're going to build, count out the pixels and buy just enough to complete it; otherwise you might end up with 200 extra pink, purple and grey blocks when all you needed were red, black and white.