BOX=ART: Retrogamer and modern video game box art history.


Video game box art and artist history database



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BOX=ART copyright ©2013 Adam Gidney. All rights reserved. Hosted by Dathorn.


BOX=ART is a site dedicated to the history of video game box art/ cover art and the artists responsible for them.

Box arts are profiled using high quality scans and with the intention of acknowledging the men and women who have played such a major role in shaping our gaming experiences.

Not only for video game enthusiasts, BOX=ART is for all who enjoy quality artwork.

All information on this site is through my own findings and is believed to be correct.  Any corrections, errors or admissions that need to be made, or artists that would like to be involved in BOX=ART, please feel free to contact me.

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Box art index - C

Artist index - C

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Celal Kandemiroglu.  Turkish box artist from 1987-2003.

Born in Turkey and graduating at the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul Celal would start producing comics professionally in the late 1970’s before moving on to promo art designs for home video and movie releases.

By the late 1980’s Celal would be positioned at the forefront of Germany’s video game development scene as it exploded with companies such as Rainbow Arts (Turrican, X-out, Katakis), Thalion (Wings of Death)  and reLINE (Fate: Gates of Dawn, Biing!) mading a name for themselves throughout Europe.  

His diverse style and quick turnaround of cover arts produced (five to seven days) made him a natural go-to-guy and by the beginning of the 1990’s much of Germany’s box art output would be his.

His earliest known cover art, Volleyball Simulator (1987), would set an artistic trend that Celal would use throughout his career: characters would be lit by a distinct light source afflicting heavy shadows on their faces.  

This style can also be seen on Spherical, Atomino, Crime Time and Fate: Gates of Dawn. Lighting would in fact be played to special effect on many of his box arts, with the artist having a penchant for illuminating his subjects in often mystical or ghoulish light.

His comic book background would be evident in his artistry with playful tones running through many of his cover arts. But high fantasy and sci-fi painters such as Boris Vallejo and Roger Dean would have an unmistakable influence when considering the detail and form composition that his characters and vehicles often had.  

Early box arts have an airbrushed look to them (Z-out, Zero Gravity, Rock ‘n Roll), but his versatility would stretch to other art mediums with cover arts for his war games (Berlin 1948: East vs West, Air Supply and Dyter-07) having a softer brush-painted appearance. Later with the advent of Photoshop, he would put the brush down and use digital art exclusively (Sacred series).

Like many box artists of his generation Celal would early on become involved in the graphic art side of video game development. Using the early paint program Deluxe Paint on titles such as X-out, M.U.D.S and Dragonflight, he would create not only title screens (as many box artists did in the 80’s) but also background and sprite work.  Later, this would lead the artist’s career to further development roles such as editor, 3D modeller and art director.

In the 2000’s he would join Take Two and become heavily involved with the Sacred series. Since then he has freelanced as a 3D modeller.  

Air Supply | Magic Bytes | 1990.

Atomino | Psygnosis | 1991.

Battle Stations | Magic Bytes | 1990.

Berlin 1948: East vs West | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1989.

Big Business | Magic Bytes | 1990.

Biing!: Sex, Intrigue and Scalpels | Magic Bytes | 1995.

Black Gold | Starbyte Software | 1989.

Crime Time | Starbyte Software | 1990.

Detector | Time Warp Productions | 1988.

Domination | Magic Bytes | 1990.

Dragonflight | Thalion Software GmbH | 1990.

Dyter-07 | reLINE Software | 1990.

Elysium | Magic Bytes | 1992.

Fate: Gates of Dawn | reLINE Software | 1991.

Football Unlimited | Software 2000 | 1994.

Katakis | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH| 1988.

Leavin’ Termanis | Thalion Software GmbH | 1990.

Legend of Faerghail | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1990.

Lethal Xcess: Wings of Death II | Eclipse Software Design | 1991.

Masterblazer | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1990.

Monser Business | Ascon GmbH | 1991.

M.U.D.S - Mean Ugly Dirty Sport | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1990.

No Second Prize | Thalion Software GmbH | 1992.

Revenge of the Apes | retrodesign | 2003.

Rock ‘n Roll | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1989.    

Second World, The | Magic Bytes | 1990.

Spherical | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1989.

Spin World | Axxiom | 1988.

StarTrash | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1990.

Stone Age | Eclipse Software Design | 1992.

Talisman | Software 2000 | 1995.

Tie Break | Starbyte Software | 1990.

Turrican | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1990 | EU ver.

Turrican II: The Final Fight | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1991.

Turrican 3 | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1993.

Volleyball Simulator | Softgold | 1987.

Wings of Death | Thalion Software GmbH | 1990.

X-Out | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1989.

Z-out | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1990.

Zero Gravity | EAS Software | 1988.

Charles Kibler.  North American box artist from 1981-1984.

Charles whose background had been historical illustration and board-game layout would join Avalon’s video game art department in 1981 and support one of the companies long running board-game artists Bob Haynes who’d the previous year begun box art duties.  Charles earliest covers (Bomber Attack, Andromeda Conquest) would follow Bob’s graphic design of the previous year, before covers started to become more individual in 1982.  

The artist’s time would be spent in a number of roles within Avalon including play-testing coordinator, in-game graphic artist and manual/ map designer before he left in 1995.   

The rest of the 90’s and into the early 2000’s, Charles would take a wide variety of design positions, but none included box art duties.

Andromeda Conquest | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1981.

Bomber Attack | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1981.

Dniepner River Line | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1982.

Galaxy | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1981.

Moon Patrol | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1982.

Panzers East | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1984.

Space Station Zulu | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1982.

T.G.I.F | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1983.

Tanktics | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1981.

CAZA (Philippe Caza).  French box artist in 1989.

Drakkhen | Infogrames | 1989.

Kult | Infogrames | 1989.

Chris Kenyon.  North American box artist from 1989-1983.

Asteroids | Atari | 1981 | 400/ 800 ver.

Asteroids | Atari | 1981 | 2600 ver.

Battlezone | Atari | 1983.

Jungle Hunt | Atari | 1983.

Zork | Personal Software Inc. | 1980.

Captain★Rainbow (キャプテン★レインボー) by Hikari Kurashima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Nintendo in 2008 for the Japanese Wii market.

Click to enlarge


>Debut box art for the Castlevania series.

The whip tottering Belmont character art would be based upon Frank Frazetta’s famous ‘Norseman’ (1972) painting.

It was the only box art designed for the debut game, and was used across more gaming formats than any other in the series.

>Pictures from top - Original box art and Frank Frazetta’s Norseman painting.  


Published by Konami globally in 1986.  

Famicom ver. pictured.  Also availble on: C64, Disk System, DOS, Game Boy Advance, MSX 2, NES, X68000.

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Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (キャッスルヴァニア ~暁月の円舞曲~) by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami globally in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance market.

Click to enlarge


Cliff Spohn.  North American box artist from 1977-1981.

Air Sea Battle | Atari | 1977.

Backgammon | Atari | 1979.

Basketball | Atari | 1978.

Bowling | Atari | 1978.

Brain Games | Atari | 1978.

Breakout | Atari | 1978.

Casino | Atari | 1978.

Codebreaker | Atari | 1978.

Football | Atari | 1978.

Home Run | Atari | 1978.

Human Cannonball | Atari | 1978.

Indy 500 | Atari | 1977.

Miniature Golf | Atari | 1977.

Star Ship | Atari | 1977.

Surround | Atari | 1977.

Super Breakout | Atari | 1981.

Video Olympics | Atari | 1977.

Ciruelo Cabral.  Argentine box artist from 1994-1996.

Dragonheart: Fire and Steel | Acclaim Entertainment Inc. | 1996.

Ishar 3: The Seven Gates of Infinity | Silmarils | 1994.

Curt Swan.  North American box artist in 1978.

Superman | Atari | 1978.

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (悪魔城伝説) by Tom Dubois.

North American artwork. Published by Konami in 1990 and 1992 for the North American and European NES markets respectively.

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>Tom’s box art would be the first in the series to be designed by a non-Japanese.  

The artist has stated that inspiration came from visual effects creator Ray Harryhausen and movies such as Jason and the Argonauts (1963), and was designed using Alkayd.

>Pictures from top - NES box art and original artwork.


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Castlevania-III-original (2).jpg

Castlevania 64 (悪魔城ドラキュラ黙示録) by Tomohiro Morisawa.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami in 1999 for the Japanese Nintendo 64 market.

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>Tomohiro’s cover would be the first computer art designed box art for the series.

Castlevania 64 along with it’s remix follow up, Legacy of Darkness, are the only two games in the series to receive a different cover art in each of the three major regions (EU, NA and JPN).


Castlevania: Bloodlines (バンパイアキラー) by Tom Dubois.

North American artwork. Published by Konami in 1994 for the North American Mega Drive market.

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Castlevania Chronicles (悪魔城年代記 悪魔城ドラキュラ) by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami in 2001 for the European and Japanese PS1 markets.  

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Castlevania: The Symphony of the Night (Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku) by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami in 1998 for the Japanese Saturn market.  

>Illustrator Ayami Kojima would help reinvent and revitalise the Castlevania series with this masterful artwork.

Before her involvement Castlevania’s box arts in general couldn’t have been more different. Hulking overtly Americanised characters, Hammer Horror Dracula's and clichéd backdrops had artistically populated the series since 1986.  Ayami’s delicate, effeminate characterisation drastically changed all of that and along with Konami’s new “Metroidvaina” gameplay critically made the series relevant again.

It is a box art of great quality and an example of fine artistry winning over the then popular CG art look of the late 1990’s. Ayami would also be responsible for the stylistically similar European/ Japanese PlayStation version.

The success of The Symphony of the Night made Ayami one of Konami’s premier artists and forever linked her to the series. She would follow up just about all her subsequent box arts in Symphony’s style of art.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (悪魔城ドラキュラ 闇の呪印) by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami globally in 2005 for the PS2 and Xbox markets.  

Castlevania: Dracula XX (Vampire’s Kiss) by Akihiro Yamada.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami globally in 1994.  

Super Famicom ver. pictured.  Also availble on: SNES.

>Castlevania: Dracula XX would nestle between two distinct periods of the series’ artistic direction.  

Before, Konami had the Belmonts as brawling and anglicised, and their box art’s reminiscing 1980’s action movie posters (Castlevania/ II/ III, Super Castlevania IV, Castlevania X68000 and the Game Boy series).  After, saw Ayami Kojima’s delicate, effeminate and fine art take on horror, starting with Castlevania: The Symphony of the Night.

Akihiro Yamada artwork would bridge these two periods with his unique style of heavy inking combined with pastel tones, retaining the muscle-bound hero but giving the cover art a more distinct Japanese-anime look.

Dracula XX would see an international release in the form of Castlevania: Vampire’s Kiss and with artwork intact, (the EU and NA box arts being the most sought after in the series) but unfortunately due to the SNES’s landscape box dimensions much of Akihiro’s portrait original would be cropped.

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Castlevania: Lament of Innocence by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami in 2003 for the North American PS2 market.  

Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (Castlevania 白夜の協奏曲) by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami globally in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance market.  

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (悪魔城ドラキュラ) by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami globally in 2001 for the Game Boy Advance market.

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Castlevania: Order of the Ecclesia by Masaki Hirooka.

Japanese artwork. Published by Nintendo globally in 2008 for the European and Japanese Nintendo DS markets.

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>Masaki would be commisioned after the fan backlash brought on by the change in art direction of the previous two Nintendo DS games, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin - both ended up very anime-lite in style.

The artist was also responsibe for the North American cover which was used as promotional material in Japan.


Catherine by Shigenori Soijima.

Published by Atlus globally in 2011.  

PS3 ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Xbox 360.

Click to enlarge

>Brash and sexually charged, Catherine unapologetically stood out and created a media buzz with its brassy, titular characterisation.  

Its risqué nature - although not unheard of in native Japan, the region having a history of explicit video games and box art going back to the mid 80’s known as Hentai or eroge - would surprisingly get a largely uncensored international release.  Certain parts of the States though would find both box arts too explicit and initial releases would be censored by some retailers.

The box art’s artistry would be classic Soejima with it’s wide-eyed and pointed chinned characters and distinctive shading to the face and hair, and would heavily reminisce his work on the Persona series.

All in all the subject’s tongue in cheek nature and it’s titillation was expounded in a way only Japan could get away with, but removing all that, we are still left with a striking box art in an era where the kind of risk taken in Catherine’s cover could have been an expensive mistake to make.


Chou-Denki Card Battle by Ayami Kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Koubunsha in 1999 for the Japanese Wonderswan market.  

Computer Bismarck by Louis Hsu Saekow.

North American artwork. Published by SSI in 1980 for the North American Apple II market.  

>A landmark title for North America’s home computer scene, Computer Bismarck would not only successfully launch publisher Strategic Simulations. Inc (SSI), but also artist Louis Hsu Saekow.

Wanting to compete with The Avalon Hill Gaming Co. and their newly formed computer game division Microcomputer Inc, SSI set about producing the most professional and arresting box art possible.  

In general up until the 80’s home computer cover arts mimicked Atari’s VCS efforts in terms of artistry, and lacked any sort of physical casing.  Bismarck changed that and shipped with a large high quality box, and printed manual.

Louis’ graphic design also bucked the trend by moving away from the board game style cover artworks Avalon used, and instead creating a striking wire frame model with minimalistic palette.

In a sea of traditionally painted box arts, Bismarck’s graphic design leapt off the shelf and subsiquently proved a big hit for SSI. Surprisingly the company and Louis would not adopt the artistic approach for future box arts, them being in the main rather conformist.

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Comic Zone by Peter Morawiec.

North American artwork. Published by Sega in 1995 for the European and North American Genesis/ Mega Drive markets.

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Computer Othello by Susumu Matsushita.

Japanese artwork. Published by Sony in 1983 for the European and Japanese MSX markets.   

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>Computer Othello is presently artist Matsushita’s earliest known artwork.  With the MSX format it was released on finding some popularity in Europe (North America would miss out) Sony took the very unorthodox step - for the time - of releasing this Japanese designed cover art overseas.  It is presently the earliest known Japanese cover released outside of the country and certainly the most high profile of the period due to its creators revered status.

The character art would ooze Susumu’s perchant for busty westernised woman that would later populate his covers.  


Cosmic Smash.

Published by Sega in 2001 for the Japanese Dreamcast market.

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>The game, a kind of modern take on the classic breakout formula, and it’s minimalistic aesthetics would resonate strongly on Cosmic Smash’s box art.

It would be one of only a handful of Dreamcast releases that shipped with a DVD case, and it’s see-through slip would add a greater sence of depth to the cover.