Ultimate Universe playing cards fuse pixel art with Japanese mythology

Ultimate Universe playing cards fuse pixel art with Japanese mythology

Sure, they’re the same playing cards you use for Poker in smoky back rooms (i.e. your kitchen) or for a rousing game of Hearts with the kids, but even in those venues — perhaps especially in those venues — art and design matter.

Gambler’s Warehouse has just concluded a Kickstarter campaign (its ninth for specialty cards) in support of the Ultimate Universe deck — and it promises to be stunning. It is described thusly:

“A conceptual expansion on the four symbols of Oriental mythology, Ultimate Universe takes star-born legends to new heights. Elements of 2D pixel art infused with striking color schemes make for a visual experience that is both complex and fun. Mythology and technology coalesce beautifully in Ultimate Universe.”

Printed on Bicycle card stock with its patented air-cushion finish, the decks come in either full color or grayscale designs. Each card features original art with custom designs for all court cards, numbered cards, backs and tuck boxes. The grayscale design has a touch of red on the red suits.

The pack consists of 56 unique custom cards printed by USPCC, which prints the Bicycle brand, among others.


Ultimate Universe is the work of artist Junichi Tsuneoka, who has worked on popular projects for Mos Def, Mudhoney and Nike.

Said Tsuneoka regarding his inspiration for the deck: “Playing card has 4 symbols and I associated with 4 kings in oriental mythology. They were believed to rule each of the 4 directions of the world. I gave each symbol a color, and animal theme.”


And if cards are not enough, Ultimate Universe artwork prints, measuring 14 x 22 inches, will also be created on linen stock. A choice of any court card, Joker, Ace or card back is available to backers.

Taken together, the whole package creates a stimulating visual experience that will put owners at the top of their game.

 ➤ Ultimate Universe playing cards [Kickstarter]

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