According to my handy but hopelessly outdated dictionary, a sprite is "a small or elusive supernatural being." In the digital world, a sprite is a graphical image -- often found in a computer game -- that moves around the screen. Pac-Man, for example.
Jim Harris of 'This is Obsolete' recently whipped up a collection of etched copper plates with aluminium and brass inserts that depict classic video game sprites. So far, he's created five images including a couple of Pac-Man ghosts and a satisfyingly weathered aluminum space invader. He's got plans to continue the series with Mario and others.
I'd love one of these on the wall of my Evil Mad Scientist Lair. Not just because it's cool, but because this sort of stuff captures the ephemeral characters from video games in a concrete, physical way. And that's a good thing, because it serves as a constant reminder that sometimes simple games from the past are every bit as satisfying as modern multi-million dollar epic adventures.