eggman.jpg We've previously covered the awesomely disturbing video game box parody art of SomethingAwful's 'Handre', and, since the GAF forums are all ablaze with the publishing of his latest uber-bizarre art piece, for Namco's Dig Dug, we thought we'd catch up with him via IM to chat about his work.

GSW: What's your name, location and background, firstly?

Handre: My name is Handré de Jager, I was born in 1986. I live in South Africa and I'm currently a graphic design student at the University of Stellenbosch.

GSW: When did you first doing these video game box art spoofs, and what made you think of the concept?

Handre: Well, the first one I did was the Mega Man one, as one can probably see. I'm not 100% on the exact completion date, but it must have been somewhere in November 2005. Multiple things inspired me to do it.

Firstly was the Mega Man 1 and 2 U.S. and European box art. The whole concept was completely bizarre. Megaman was portrayed as a middle-aged man in weird costumes, usually holding a gun. It also seemed way more serious than the games were intended to be.

Another inspiration was this site: http://asame2.web.infoseek.co.jp/mariof.html. I'm not sure what it's about, since it's Japanese, but it was linked to from Something Awful's front page once and the images of Super Mario Bros. 3 in it was amazingly funny to me.

digdug.jpg

GSW: Seems like a lot of the themes you keep expanding on are based around making very cartoon-like video game characters grotesque and overly 'real'. Are you trying to make any point on how absurd the game concepts are, or is it just more pure fun than that?

Handre: The absurdity of the game concepts do play an important role, but the main idea for me is to make the games as ugly and overly serious as possible in a humorous way. Of course there are completely ridiculous elements as well, like the bulging crotches and pubic hair which are mostly for cheap laughs. :)

I think in Western culture, especially a few years ago, the idea of the action hero was always a slightly older man. In Japanese games they were frequently children or cute little creatures. I think that's why some of the box art from the 80's and early 90's came out so incorrect. That is also an important aspect of most of my parodies - most of the people are middle-aged.

GSW: This all started on the SomethingAwful Forums, right? What kind of feedback have you had? Has anyone actually got upset about their favorite characters being besmirched, or felt that you were actually mentally disturbed in some way? :)

Handre: Haha. No, the feedback always seem really positive. Occasionally someone will say things like I ruined their childhood memories and so on, but I'm pretty sure they're saying it as more of a joke. That's how it appears to me anyway.

aiai.jpg


GSW: Oh, and just quickly, how do you make the pics?

Handre: Simply enough, with Photoshop and a tablet.

GSW: So I see you just posted Dig Dug recently - got any plans for other games? Have there been some games that people are begging you to do?

Handre: Well, my next project will be Platform Hero [later parts listed here.] It's not a real game, but a parody Flash animation of platform games in general created by Shmorky, from Something Awful. The requests I get the most are Bubble Bobble and Earthbound. I might do Bubble Bobble some day, but I doubt I'll get to Earthbound, but who knows. At the moment I'm pretty busy with my studies, so they won't be made as rapidly as a few months ago. I had a really long holiday back then, so I had loads of time.

[Thanks again to Handre for letting us chat to him. He now has all of his pics up on his DeviantArt page. The full hi-res list of his box-art parodies is as follows: Mega Man, Bomberman, Snow Bros., BurgerTime, Adventure Island, Kirby, and Dig Dug.]