Back To Bits/Level 1: "NES Nostalgia" (Screenshot: YouTube)

As evidenced by the runaway popularity of the NES Classic Edition in recent weeks, nostalgia for the golden age of Nintendo is alive and well in 2016. The Nintendo Entertainment System, that familiar grayish rectangle of childhood, can be said to have influenced the sensibilities of an entire generation in a profound way. And some of those Nintendo-addicted kids have grown up to become filmmakers and animators themselves, as evidenced by Back To Bits, an ongoing animation project using the talents of a small army of international artists. Curated by Jerry Liu, this project consists of brief animated GIFs inspired by video games. The first stage—what Liu calls “Level 1” of Back To Bits—centers around classic Nintendo games and characters. Now some of these backwards-looking GIFs have been edited together into a lightning-fast montage called “NES Nostalgia,” complete with a score by Wesley Slover.


Back to Bits / Level 1 “NES Nostalgia” - Montage from Jerry Liu Studio on Vimeo.

One would expect a video called “NES Nostalgia” to be dominated by the Super Mario and Legend Of Zelda franchises. And, indeed, Mario and Link are the main attractions here. But the most interesting parts of “NES Nostalgia” are those dealing with the many involving games that grew up in the shadow of those two towering monoliths. There is, for instance, a pretty badass tribute to Paperboy here. Characters and scenarios from Mega Man, Joust, Tetris, and even Balloon Fight (’member Balloon Fight?) are all included. Look quickly for cameos by Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Scrooge McDuck along the way. In short, if it distracted children from doing their homework during the Reagan years, it’s probably in this video for a second or two.

Individual versions of the GIFs may be enjoyed here, and they’re all worth taking a look at.