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Mothmen and Shark Riders: the mind-melting fantasy of pixel-pulps


Plunging headfirst into the fast, furious world of Shark Riders is a trip. Pixelated purples and reds color a dramatic world of ancient songs, fish gods, and lycaons—desert dogs that live short, drug-soaked lives. As the bearded chief of a seafaring village, I solemnly prick my gums with a hallucinogenic cactus spine and prepare to perform an old ritual. It is time to summon the great white shark. 

Even in the form of a short visual novel, Shark Riders taps into the raw, fantastic otherworldliness of Conan the Barbarian and the rough, primeval magic of Krull—a visceral type of fiction powered by adrenaline and huge ’80s movie-energy. It’s a quick, well-paced playthrough where each sentence feels plucked from a 1940s paperback, sharp and snappy and harmonizing beautifully with the bold, moody ZX Spectrum color palette. I suddenly feel the urge to put on some Ennio Morricone as I blast through this first “pixel-pulp”, which is what LCB Game Studio, a tiny indie studio in Argentina, calls this type of short, serial game.

(Image credit: LCB Game Studio)

Our first fiction together was The Atlantean Butcher

Nico Saraintaris

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