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What's really behind Butcher Billy's inspired retro Atari posters?

Butcher Billy Atari NFT; a poster illustration of Centipede
(Image credit: Atari / Butcher Billy)

Butcher Billy, the artist that brought the '80s to life in Stranger Things and has worked with Marvel and Black Mirror, has teamed up with iconic video game brand Atari to create some outstanding retro posters, but there's so much more to this inspired campaign.

Created for the Atari X project, Butcher Billy's retro art will bring together classic Atari brands with collectible video game posters and a free metaverse that has its own mysteries to solve. Designed to celebrate 50 years of Atari, the NFT collection is made up of 2600 unique NFTs – geddit? Atari's classic console was called the 2600 – based on 15 original artworks by the talented Brazilian illustrator Butcher Billy.

It's the amazing posters that really sell the idea to me. NFTs – a way to record digital assets on a blockchain to create scarcity – can be seen as money-grabs where the NFT art comes second. (Though obviously there are excellent art-led NFTs too, such as Takashi Murakami's NFT collection.) Butcher Billy's art celebrates the texture and nostalgia of the Atari brand but it does so much more as it's a part of the Atari metaverse. You can see one below, or find our more at the Atari X website.

Butcher Billy Atari NFT; a painting of a classic Atari game in an 80s style

Classic Atari games are recreated in retro posters, such as the cult Atari game Adventure (Image credit: Atari / Butcher Billy)

In a press statement Tyler Drewitz, director of Atari X, said: "The collaboration with Butcher Billy is incredibly exciting for Atari, and is a great kick-off to what will be a busy few months for Atari X. Butcher Billy has a passion for Atari that matches our own, and his work will connect with our community of fans and enthusiasts."

While the poster art is fantastic, it's the broader idea of bringing storytelling to the NFT and metaverse space that is just as interesting. Butcher Billy (opens in new tab)'s art also covers posters that take us back to the classified ads of the 1970s, with hidden messages and even a free interactive hotline – 1-888-ATARI50. Using this phone the number you can get hints on how to navigate the Atari X metaverse, called Room 133 .

Butcher Billy Atari; a screen of the Atari metaverse room

Atari's Room 133 metaverse celebrates the brand's history and is based on the Atari office from the 1970s (Image credit: Atari)

This is how to use a metaverse, to develop a thick sense of nostalgia and place through rich art, interesting storytelling and a space riddled with secrets. Room 133 is the Atari X metaverse space, and it's based on a design of Atari’s original headquarters. Exploring the room can uncover news on the upcoming Atari NFT drop, you can learn about more Atari X projects and forthcoming collaborations with other artists; there are even perks and keen-eyed explorers can access secret events.

What's great here is Butcher Billy's posters are inspired, bold glimpses into the past, but they lead us into a deeper metaverse of Atari fandom. Atari X is a project that embraces the creative ways we can use the metaverse and NFTs. 

If you want to learn more about the metaverse, read our feature 'what is the metaverse?' and our deep dive, 'What are NFTs?'. If you want to get into NFTs, why not try making one using my guide, 'how to create an NFT for free'.

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Ian Dean is Digital Arts & Design Editor at Creative Bloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut, SFX, and assisted on The Idler. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his love to bring the latest news on NFTs, video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Corel Painter, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5.