New East Digital Archive

These video game landscapes will make you nostalgic for worlds you’ve never visited

These video game landscapes will make you nostalgic for worlds you've never visited

8 December 2021

Russian artist @6vcr transforms the snowy cityscapes of Eastern Europe into pixellated illustrations — turning mundane urban scenes into eerie video game vistas that hint at adventure just outside your tower block.

@6vcr is an alias for digital artist Eugenia Goncharova, who hails from Kaliningrad, Russia’s westernmost city. Working in Photoshop, she creates sci-fi-esque pixel art landscapes, which include everything from sinister Soviet-era monuments to reindeer and polar bears.

“I’m inspired by the atmosphere of the places I’ve been to, the cities where I’ve lived,” says the artist, who studied in the Polish cities of Gdańsk and Warsaw before returning to Kaliningrad. But the images she creates are hard to place: they are as otherworldly as they are recognisable. “Sometimes people tell me that my works make them feel nostalgic for the places they’ve never been to,” Goncharova says.

Many of Goncharova’s works are based on analogue architectural photography — whether that’s one of her own film photos of a half-abandoned cultural centre, or an internet snapshot of a tower block at night. “Beauty is everywhere,” she says.

Goncharova has since dropped a merch collection, available on her online shop and Instagram account (yes, she ships internationally). The line offers a new take on her greatest hits. One highlight — possibly inspired by the recent wave of political repressions in Russia — is an ironic all-holiday postcard, with the lines: “Happy holiday! Hope you won’t end up in jail.”

The shop also includes Goncharova’s Heroes sticker set. The collection stars well-known characters from every Russian neighbourhood, including a stray cat, a babushka, and moody teens dressed in black. “I was inspired by childhood memories of those sticker sets you could use to create a story,” Goncharova says. “Now, I create stickers for adults. They have stories too. But instead of the special sheets we used for our stickers as kids, now we have laptops to decorate.”