Matheus Toscano loves old-school, 8-bit video games, and he loves football. So in October 2012, inspired by a blog that illustrated movies and Hollywood stars in the retro style, the native Brazilian began drawing soccer's biggest moments on his site, 8bit Football. He drew players and games, big moments in soccer's history and in games happening today. And during the 2014 World Cup, Toscano became one of the internet's most fun chroniclers of the game's biggest event.
Toscano tells me he used to make his drawings with MS Paint, but has since switched to an iPad and stylus, using the app Sprite Something. "I draw each player separately," he says, "and the background. I start with their shape, then adjust details such as team shirt, shading, etc. Once I have all elements, I put them in a pitch background, to compose the scene." The results are a funny mix of caricature and realism, crystalizing the biggest moments of the World Cup in weird and unique ways.
The drawings have just enough information to communicate the players and the scene, which Toscano says is a great feature of 8-bit art. "People want to see how their favorite players and teams would look like in 8-bit style. Whenever they can recognize someone, even if it is only represented by only a few pixels, that usually makes them laugh." And, he says, it harkens back to the games most of us remember. "Most people who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s could experience playing football video games with such graphics. Whenever we see something similar, it brings back memories from childhood."
The World Cup may be over, but Toscano's many drawings are an awesome reminder of the insanity that was the year's biggest sporting event.
All photos courtesy Matheus Toscano / 8bit Football
- When France played Honduras in the group stages, a shot from France's Karim Benzema led to the first-ever use of FIFA's new goal-line technology. The verdict? Goal. Just barely.
- Spain, among the favorites to win the Cup, were one of the first teams eliminated in the group stages. Spain was sad.
- Colombia's James Rodriguez was one of the stars of the tournament, scoring six goals — including this beautiful chip shot against Japan — en route to winning the Golden Boot as the Cup's leading scorer.
- In a game that ended in a 2-2 tie, Clint Dempsey scored for the US by thrusting his belly at the ball. It worked.
- Uruguay's Luis Suarez bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini, and was subsequently banned from the rest of the World Cup. It was a weird moment.
- Diving became a topic of much conversation at the World Cup, but when Jermaine Jones ran into a referee he didn't fake it. He fell. Hard.
- In the quarterfinal against Costa Rica, Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul subbed in just before penalty kicks — and then saved two shots to win the game for the Dutch.
- In a heated quarterfinal matchup, Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga kneed Brazil star Neymar in the back. Neymar never came back onto the field, and Brazil never recovered.
- Germany and Argentina faced off in a tense, 1-0 World Cup final that ended in extra time on a remarkable German goal.
- In the 113th minute of the final, Mario Gotze scored an incredible, off-balance goal to give Germany the 2014 World Cup.