Retro Vault is our regular weekly feature in which we dive into gaming's past and share five classic nuggets of retro nostalgia. If you want to catch up on previous Retro Vaults, check out the CVG Retro Vault archive.
August 1995 - Yoshi's Island artwork
In the mid-90s, Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't pleased. Reportedly less than impressed with the pre-rendered sprites of Donkey Kong Country, it's said that Miyamoto was unhappy when asked to create another platformer with a similar visual style.
Eager to prove that hand-drawn sprites would always look better than pre-rendered ones, Miyamoto decided to do the complete opposite and designed a game that looked more hand-drawn than anything before it.
Take a single screenshot from Yoshi's Island and, pixellated edges aside, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was an illustration in a children's book. Its bright, colourful backgrounds were designed to look as if they had been drawn with paints, pastels and marker pens.
Behind this seemingly simplistic look was a lot of work going on under the hood: or rather, inside the cartridge. Yoshi's Island 2 was equipped with Super FX 2, a special custom chip that enabled the game to pull off impressive sprite rotation and scaling tricks.
Yoshi's Island was loved by critics and players alike, but Miyamoto's bosses did eventually get their way. Its sequel, N64 title Yoshi's Story, ditched the hand-drawn sprites in favour of pre-rendered ones. It's nowhere near as fondly remembered.
The fourth game in the series, Yoshi's New Island, was released this week. Here's our review.