Animated NES CHR Banks

To create animated background elements in late-era NES games, developers used a technique called "bank switching". By rapidly swapping certain chunks of graphics data in and out of memory, while the coordinates of said graphics elements are rendered on-screen, it creates a convincing animation effect. Here I've assembled those graphics banks into singular images, colorized them, and animated them into GIFs.

(Created in part using YY-CHR)
(Inspired by a tweet by @eggboycolor)

Sunsoft, 1990
Three 64x128 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

The Batmobile bank on the right is only two frames, but uses palette switching to create the smooth scrolling background effect.

According to a leaked prototype, the Joker wasn't originally intended to be the final boss. But they added him in the last minute, and really had to squeeze him into every bit of free space they could.

Batman: Return of the Joker
Sunsoft, 1991
Nine 32x128 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

THE KING. Arguably the most visually impressive game on the NES. The water and moving chains on the bottom-right are unused, along with some of the flashing lights on the left.

Bucky O'Hare
Konami, 1992
Two 128x64 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

My personal favorite NES game. :)

The game also uses 16 frames to render a single block tile, which is used to create the impression of multiple background layers in a couple levels (like the Red Planet). This is stored basically wherever they could fit it. The final level also does something, but it's weird and I dunno what.

Sunsoft, 1992
Five 32x128 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

A true cult classic. Had a special chip on the cartidge to produce some bumpin' music.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Sunsoft, 1990
Six 64x128 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

Maybe has the most animated background graphics of any NES game? The bubbling lava tiles on the left are unused.

Little Nemo: The Dream Master
Capcom, 1990
Two 128x64 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

The moon tiles aren't consistent, but the graphics don't animate in the part of the level where it appears, so it wouldn't be noticeable anyway.

As a bonus, here's an animated map of the Night Sea stage, since it looks pretty.

Metal Storm
Tamtex/Irem, 1991
Two 128x32 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

One of the more famous examples of "multi layer" background scrolling on the NES.

There are a surprising amound of unused background chunks here -- significantly, the bottom-right corner. A couple tiny 8x8 tiles next to it are also unused.

Note the drastic change in the bottom tile, 2nd from left. I believe this is a leftover from an earlier build of the game. The art would have been overwritten with the "final" animation loop, which only used 16 frames instead of 32, leaving the last 16 frames of the old design leftover.

All unused tiles left grayscale... the brick tile is supposed to be gray, though.

Shadow of the Ninja
Natsume, 1990
Two 128x64 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

Gives Ninja Gaiden a run for its money. And it has co-op.

Natsume, 1991
Two 128x64 banks
1x | 3x | 4x

The Japanese verion, Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain, has a different level (Area C, specifically). Its unique tiles are stagnant, whereas they're animated in Shatterhand.

(The Japanese game is based on a television series. Fun fact.)

Sword Master
Athena, 1990
One 128x32 bank
1x | 3x | 4x

This game is perhaps most notable for its super elaborate parallax scrolling effects. The above animation consists of a whopping 32 frames, which is used to give these background elements the impression that they're scrolling behind trees and pillars and whatnot. These four graphics alone make up 1/4th of the graphics data in the ROM. That's a little absurd.

(There's also another bank used to render the end boss, but I opted not to bother with that one. It's only two frames anyway.)

Tiny Toon Adventures
Konami, 1991
One 128x64 bank
1x | 3x | 4x

The two filler blocks (one in top-left corner, the other filled with X's) were left grayscale. The jutting pointy platform on the right is unused.

Totally Rad
Aicom, 1990
One 128x64 bank
1x | 3x | 4x

This game desperately wants to be Bill & Ted. It's actually a spicy reskin of the (much more ordinary) Japanese game Magic John.

The thing at the bottom-center is unused. I don't know what it is or where it would belong so I left it grayscale.

Vice: Project Doom
Aicom, 1991
One 128x64 bank
1x | 3x | 4x

Super badass game. Sega technically owns the rights to it nowadays. How about that?

Capcom, 1989
One 128x128 bank
1x | 3x | 4x

A Zelda-like based on that one movie no one remembers.

I believe the treasure chest is unused, and I didn't see a suitable palette, so I left it grayscale.