Panic’s “Atari” game art, framed and hung at Room 34 HQ

The other day I mentioned the super-cool watercolor-and-pencil game art Panic recently commissioned as part of a reimagining of their Mac software as early ’80s Atari 2600 games.

I ordered both the reproduction game boxes and the art prints, and they arrived just four days later (i.e. yesterday). They look amazing. As recommended by Panic, I headed out to IKEA this morning and picked up a couple of Ribba frames. The art prints were specifically designed to fit perfectly into these frames. I contemplated getting frames for all four of them, but at $20 a pop it seemed a bit much. So I went with two, for the two Panic programs I actually use (Coda and Transmit). It was just as well, anyway. Since they’re so big, two is all that fit on the wall above my desk!

The photo below shows Room 34 HQ, now graced with these fantastic looking prints. This wall was blank for months, and I had just been thinking I really needed to hang something up there, when these prints became available. The timing was perfect and I couldn’t be happier with the results! (Unfortunately the photo probably reveals, more than anything else, the limitations of the iPhone camera, especially indoors at night. I had every light in the place turned on but this was the best I could manage.)


Holy. Freakin’. Crap.

I love Panic, Inc. They make two of my indispensable web developer software tools: Transmit and Coda. And they have a great attitude. Their founder is a cool guy. And now, to top all of that off… they’re Atari freaks.

Oh man. I love this. I have a few quibbles with some of the details of their fake screenshots — things that aren’t actually possible (as far as I know) with the technical limitations of the Atari 2600. But it’s no matter. I absolutely love this stuff… it’s even better than the Venture Bros. Season 3 DVD art. Check it out:

Panic Atari art

On knowing your target market, and knowing when you’re in the target market

Venture Bros. Season 3I’ve never really watched Venture Bros. on Adult Swim, although I’ve long suspected that I might like it if I gave it a chance.

That suspicion was heightened tonight as I perused the DVDs at Target. To any average person, this cover design may fall somewhere between inexplicably weird and just generally poor. But to me, and to many other 30-somethings like me, it grabs you by the eyeballs and drags you over to pick it up. So authentic! Did they carry it over on the ba– oh holy crap, they did! Fake ’80s video game screenshot and all!

Yes, the package design for the Venture Bros. Season 3 DVD set is a faithful — no, absolutely dead on — reference to the classic package designs of late ’70s/early ’80s box designs for games from the Atari 2600. Or, to speak more accurately to the time period of the designs, the Atari Video Computer System. The solid, garish box color; the font; the overall layout; the watercolor collage art. It’s all vintage ’70s, vintage Atari, 100% perfect. They even faithfully reproduced (graphically, not physically) the fact that the boxes were always already smashed when you bought them at the store.

If you’re not familiar with those box designs, here are a few reference points for you (from AtariAge):

Vintage Atari game boxes

(And yes, since you’re wondering, I did go out of my way to pick six of the lamest Atari games I could think of.)