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New pixel art (but it's not what you think)

A cult favorite returns


Mint or Skip – We never log off.

NOTE: We’ve removed RTFKT's Animus project from the list since, according to their announcement, there won’t be a public sale.

Links for the Top 25 drops are HERE.

New pixel art (but it's not what you think) 


Crypto artist Harm van den Dorpel is releasing his latest collection Struggle for Pleasure next week on verse.works. 

Here’s what we know:

  • Mint date: February 1st 

  • Supply: 128 NFTs, plus what looks like a related 1/1 

  • Price: TBD (probably auction) 

Our take

O Dearly Beloved, let us begin today with a quick exercise. 

Imagine, for a moment, your favorite childhood video game. In my case, this would be Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. 

Now really picture yourself sitting there, on a Saturday afternoon, perhaps eating goldfish or doritos, with that game playing on the TV in front of you.

Bask in this reverie for a bit, and then head to google. Search for the game, and then compare these images to your visual memory. 

I’m guessing you remembered it being a little more luscious. Hath thy mind deceived thee?

For reference, here’s the eternal beauty of Goldeneye: 

Harm van den Dorpel’s theory is that, when it comes to pixels, your mind often fills in the gaps to create a richer emotional experience. So even low-resolution images can be densely meaningful. 

This brings us to Struggle for Pleasure

It’s a collection of pixelated animations that each last for a few minutes. 

Each piece is broken down into sub-sections that slowly fill in pixel-by-pixel, ranging from high-resolution to low-resolution, in a trance-inducing rhythm. 

The name Struggle for Pleasure comes from a 1983 musical piece by Belgian composer Wim Mertens, so naturally I had to play the song while watching the pixels dance in front of me. 

And I’m glad I did – because it absolutely pairs perfectly together and I now think it’s the preferred viewing experience, although he doesn’t say that outright. 

The music does add a tinge of sadness to it, but I find that interpretation fitting. 

You might also notice that van den Dorpel is playing a small prank on the viewer. The animation itself resembles a slow-rendering web page (I actually thought my internet had dropped during my first viewing), and your instinct is to try to make out what the underlying image is supposed to (eventually) be. 

But there is no “real” underlying image. The rendering keeps going, with no end in sight. And van den Dorpel claimed in a recent Twitter space that he believes this further draws the viewer in:

“we are very used to pixelation (in videos of crimes or trademarked videos for example) being used to purposefully obscure and censor the image and it makes you want to see the image even more.”

Bottom line 

Van den Dorpel was making digital art long before NFTs. 

He was the first artist to sell a piece to a museum using Bitcoin, and he once had a marketplace that sold offchain proto NFTs that he called “downloadable objects”. 

More recently in 2021, he built a bit of a cult following around Mutant Garden Seeder, a dynamic collection that used genetic algorithms and block hashes to produce a constantly evolving artwork. 

Mutant Garden was (and still is) one of my favorite artworks using time as a mechanic, which I’ve waxed poetic about in the past. 

Very excited to see him still active and as thoughtful as ever. 

NOTE: These drops are lightly curated. Our only requirement is that they have recognizable founders. As usual, DYOR. To learn more go here.

Japanuary by Alimo

For Japanophiles who can’t make it out to the land of the rising sun this winter, this 24-hour open edition from Alimo might serve as a worthy consolation prize.

Japanuary’s 6 unique digital art pieces (randomized when minting) serve as a homage to the country’s snowy landscapes.

Gamification is also at play, including art airdrops for collectors of multiple pieces and two raffles for physical paintings using Transient Labs’s TRACE technology.

Memory Blocks by dailofrog

This generative art drop evokes nineties nostalgia with its blocky, RGB-rich pixel aesthetic depicting old operating systems with small resolution sizes.

It’s made by pseudonymous onchain tinkerer dailofrog, who’s most known for releasing Base’s first fully onchain collection last July.

The 128 hand-curated pieces in Memory Blocks will make up his genesis Ordinals project (fully onchain of course), and I think he’s struck the right chord with this one.

Best viewed on a Palm Pilot (probably).

Added to Top 25


Mobile games studio Playember, founded in 2021 with a $2.3M raise in late 2022, will be releasing Emby on the Xterio platform this week, its 2,750-supply genesis collection.

Emby is the studio’s fiery mascot and the main character in these NFTs, providing a companion in Playember’s growing gaming ecosystem (details around possible holder benefits are still limited, however).

With a low price of free, this one’s a no-brainer for casual game enjoyers.


Giancarlo Chaux@GiancarloChaux

Guillermo Martin@pikanxiety

Jon Yale @JonYale

Tell us what you really think

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