The 8-bit aesthetic surged in the 1980s and like many trends that emerged in the decade of big hair and leg warmers, it has made a comeback in recent years.
Nintendo popularized the pixelated style in the early 1980s with the release of the Nintendo Family Computer (later renamed Nintendo Entertainment System), the best-selling video game system up until the mid-1990s. Atari, Sega, and arcade game makers also played a major part in 8-bit history as challengers to Nintendo’s dominance and innovators of 8-bit design.
With the introduction of 16-, 32-, and 64-bit systems in the early 1990s, the 8-bit style fell out of favor with serious gamers.
In recent years, nostalgia for retro gaming style has sparked the creation of 8-bit art. The PBS program “Off Book” explores the history 8-bit and its future as a bona fide form of entertainment.