Mike Perucci aka "Mazeguy", is a graphic artist, cartoonist, and video game maker from the U.S. His resumé includes a 5-year stint as a graphic designer for the widely-known website, Bravenet.com. Mike's smileys are some of the most widespread on the internet.
Aside from smilies, Mike is also well-known for his love of building elaborate domino-toppling creations. His credits include assisting the magician team of Penn & Teller in making a domino creation for one of their shows.
Mike got into making smilies back in 2001, after a person known as "Thundachunk" on the flashkit.com forums was giving out "Smiley Awards." He decided to try and get an award and created a few smilies, which he uploaded to his old Tripod website here. Mike ended up winning the Smiley Award, and in his words "it kind of snowballed from there." From that "a mixture of requests and a drive to represent every noun, verb, and adjective in the dictionary caused my smiley gallery to grow." 
Mazeguy began creating smileys on his Apple IIe computer with the Dazzle Draw program. Limited to 16 colors, he would zoom in and carefully place each pixel to make his creations. Years later, Mike would switch to Paintshop Pro and Animation Shop. Although his tools of choice are now more sophisticated, Mike creates smileys much the same way, zoomed in and limiting himself to 16 colors. Though now he has millions of colors available to fill his limited palette.
Mike's smileys utilize the "classic" 15x15 base and 4-pixel eyes. His animations are compact, typically not exceeding 30x30 pixels in width/height, and feature relatively small file sizes. This makes them ideal for use in a variety of applications, including forums and emails. As a result, there is hardly a smiley collection that does not feature a Mazeguy creation. Mike is also well-known for his "object smileys"--small depictions of real life items such as household objects, furniture, and vehicles, which can be used in the same manner as traditional smileys.
Aside from offering hundreds of original smiley creations, the Mazeguy website also features an FAQ with respect to saving and using smileys, as well as a small tutorial on how to create your own smileys. The site also features a Flash utility which allows you to create your own personalized word balloons for use with the smileys.
Use and Crediting
Mike understands that smileys often get passed around the internet without proper credit. He requests that communities using his work give a link-back to his site. However, he does not promote his fans policing other sites, looking for violations. More recently, Mike has adopted an honor-system for profit-use of his works. He asks that a link be given to his site and that the users donate what they feel is a fair amount. This fair-use policy makes Mazeguy smilies ideal for use in small applications where the developers may not have a large budget.
Mazeguy.net has been online since 2003. His site also includes several mini-cartoons, as well as a collection of video games.
|Date Published:||Article has not been published yet|
|Last Modified:||September 17, 2019|
*** This article has been approved by the referenced artist ***