Retro

These exploded consoles are nostalgic wonderlands

Pierre Roussel is painting our childhoods one console at a time.

Pierre Roussel

Like many digital artists. Pierre Roussel has an affinity for video games. But what sets him apart is his crafted collection depicting history’s most beloved gaming consoles mid-explosion, interspersed with a myriad popular characters from each individual generation of hardware.

Roussel gives a meticulous attention to detail, which he achieves by watching tear downs and repair videos to ensure that he’s able to accurately portray the inner components of each console. “I always loved cutaway drawings as a kid, taking a look inside objects and how they worked” he says. “Although I take some liberties with the components — mostly simplifying stuff so the characters stand out more — most of these should be fairly accurate.”

Pierre Roussel

Roussel’s first drawing was of Sony’s original PlayStation, which the artist states was his go-to console in his teens, earning it a special place in his heart. In the drawing can be seen many characters and scenes synonymous with the PS1, such as PaRappa the Rapper and friends lined up for some rhythm game fun, Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud and Barret fighting the game’s first boss, and Spyro the Dragon flying and breathing fire. Roussel states that Metal Gear Solid’s Psycho Mantis hanging out by the controller ports is a personal favorite of his.

Pierre Roussel

Nintendo also gets some love with a beautiful drawing of the Nintendo 64. Some of the company’s biggest first-party franchises reached new levels of popularity in their move to 3D, and they’re on full display here. Indeed, titles like Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Starfox 64 are all very recognizable, but avid fans of the console will also note flashes of lesser-known games like Quest 64 and Mischief Makers.

Pierre Roussel

Roussel shows love to Sony’s second console outing, too, of course. The PlayStation 2’s exploded view pays homage to a bevy of characters that fans are certain to remember. Running across one wall inside the console is the titular Prince of Persia, while God of War’s Kratos slays a cyclops in brutal fashion on the other side of the page. Eagle-eyed viewers may even notice references to some hidden gems like Dark Cloud and Disgaea.

Pierre Roussel

It comes as no surprise that Roussel makes a point to showcase the GameCube’s most prominent entries, shining a light on characters that nearly every fan knows and loves. We see the cast of Tales of Symphonia relaxing together while a reference to Mario Sunshine has everyone’s favorite plumber using his FLUDD water pack to hover over to an enemy. Games like Pikmin, Super Monkey Ball, and Animal Crossing get adorable shoutouts here, too.

Pierre Roussel

If you have fond memories of SEGA’s final console (like we do), you’ll be delighted to see that this Dreamcast drawing features much-loved scenes from many exciting games. A certain blue hedgehog can be seen chasing down some rings from his first true 3D title Sonic Adventure, the famous yellow cab from Crazy Taxi slides in to pick up a passenger, and there’s even a glimpse of the exceptionally odd Seaman near the bottom of the drawing.

Pierre Roussel

Microsoft’s first console gets the exploded view treatment, too. In his drawing of the original Xbox, Roussel highlights Halo’s red and blue Spartans having a game of Capture the Flag as CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas pops a wheelie on his bicycle. If you look closely, you’ll even catch Ninja Gaiden’s Ryu Hayabusa hanging from a ledge in the upper right.

Pierre Roussel

Roussel makes a point to mention that the PlayStation 4 marks the first occasion in which he took apart a console and studied it himself before drawing it. Inside we find the full cast of Final Fantasy XV hanging out together by The Regalia while Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy fights a mechanical dinosaur with her bow. Among the many other famous characters, we once again see the immortal Kratos – this time alongside his son, Atreus – from PS4’s soft reboot of God of War.

Pierre Roussel

The talented artist doesn’t stop at consoles, though. He has also created an ode to Final Fantasy VII with an exploded view of Midgar, citing it as one of his very favorite video game cities. A little bit of searching throughout the drawing makes it easy to spot many classic characters and moments from the adored PlayStation RPG. Meanwhile, nostalgia is in full force in the many locations of Midgar, including the city’s oppressive slums all the way to the looming corporate blight of Shinra Tower.

Pierre Roussel

This intricate collection of art is a trip through a nostalgic wonderland that only grows more enjoyable the longer you look, providing no shortage of astonishing details hidden throughout each drawing that are certain to spark cherished memories for anyone who grew up alongside these consoles. In a time when gaming has become more divisive than ever, this look back on where we came from is utterly mesmerizing.

Roussel's existing pieces can be purchased in physical form on his Etsy account. If you’re interested in his other work, you can also follow him on Instagram for updates on his newest drawings.

Pierre Roussel

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