06/27/2012 01:57 pm ET

Anthony Jones, Video Game Artist, Makes Noir-Style Super Mario Bros., Robot Unicorns (PHOTOS)

Whoever said video games kill your imagination was so short sighted.

Anthony Jones, an Irvine, Calif.-based video game concept artist behind the art blog Robot Pencil, has a fantastic imagination and a sharp style to match.

Jones, who has a flair for what he calls "mashups and redesigns," recently re-cast some of the main characters from the popular Nintendo franchise "Super Mario Brothers" as a motley, hard-boiled crew.

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The angular, shadowy representations offer an incredible contrast to the game's classic look, which is steeped in round, friendly curves. Take a good, long look at Mario and Princess Peach -- it's tough do decide if they're good guys, bad guys, or somewhere in between.

That sense of moral ambiguity is probably what led Reddit user DanM_Ro to describe the digitally-produced renderings as "noir style" when he posted them yesterday.

But, as its name suggests, Robot Pencil's bread and butter is a portfolio of super-sleek futuristic droids. Still, while Jones takes on a lot of projects -- some of them on commission -- he maintains that a lot of his output is just sweet release.

"When you spend all day painting and designing for other people, you get a little anxious about doing your own stuff. This is one of the ways I release that anxiety," Jones wrote in an e-mail to The Huffington Post.

Even if it's an escape, the line between work and fun can become gleefully blurred. For instance, after Jones made some fan art inspired by Adult Swim's "Robot Unicorn Attack," the cable network approached him about contributing to the online game's next iteration.

"I just like to go a little bit further and make something hilarious and awesome at the same time," Jones told HuffPost.

So far, it seems the effort has been well worth it.




Hard-Boiled Super Mario Brothers By Anthony Jones