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.

Gitaroo Man (ギタルマン, Gitaru Man) by 326 (Mitsura Nakamura

Japanese artwork. Published by Koei in 2001 for the Japanese PS2 market.

Glass by David John Rowe.

English artwork. Published by Quicksilva in 1985 for the European ZX Spectrum market.

Click to enlarge


Golf by Jerrol Richardson.

North American artwork. Published by Mattel Electronics in 1980 for the North American Intellivision market.

Click to enlarge


Gods by Simon Bisley.

English artwork. Published by Mindscape in 1991 for the European and Japanese markets.

Mega Drive ver pictured. Also available for Amiga, Atari ST.  

Click to enlarge


>Strikingly thematic as if resembling some well-preserved Grecian plaque, Gods’ boldness, detail and palette fitted the in-game’s artistic direction perfectly.  But it was the cover art’s portrayal of strength that worked so brilliantly, with the hulking protagonist, weighty, brutal and iron clad, dealing death so effortlessly.  

Gods’ art style would standout from realism found in so many fantasy box arts in the early 90’s. Artist Simon Bisley would instead draw upon the stylised look of his comic book work found in 2000 AD and most prominently his depiction of warrior king Slaine - a character not far removed from the game’s protagonist.  

With Simon’s preferred medium being acrylic, chances are Gods was created using it along with anything from coloured pencils, to oils and car spray paint.

Grand Theft Auto III by Stephen Bliss.

English artwork. Published by Rockstar Games in 2001 for the European market.

PS2 ver. pictured. Also available on: Windows.  

Click to enlarge


>Loaded with American blaxploitation and cop movie clichés, Grand Theft Auto III’s (GTA) European box art would be a throwback to explosive 1970’s film poster art.

Stephen’s caricatured characters, full of gross societal parodies, would interestingly be at odds with GTA’s gritty realism depicted in game. It’s 1970’s look would also disagree with the game’s early 2000’s setting, but the chaotic mash up of villains, fast cars and explosions would bridge the game and box art perfectly.

The movie poster look can also be seen to parallel the game’s filmic qualities, and it’s Americanisation would have an obvious appeal with European audiences.

The cover’s look would be a one off for the series with all subsequent box arts worldwide using the North American version’s ‘picture frame’ style.

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Gitaroo Man (ギタルマン, Gitaru Man) by 326 (Mitsura Nakamura)

Japanese artwork. Published by Koei in 2002 for the European and North American PS2 markets.  

Click to enlarge


>Gitaroo Man follows what is seemingly a consistent trend within the rhythm game genre of employing impossibly wacky and exaggeratedly freaky looking individuals (see, PaRappa the Rapper, Elite Beat Agents and Space Channel 5).

The series artist, 326, known for his ‘super kawaii’ or ‘cute’ characters would be drafted in on design duties for both promotional and in-game art. He’d come up with a cover brimming with childish innocence but devilishly laced with nightmarish robotic and patch worked details.

The artist’s self-taught style has always been shocking in its subtleties. The odd exposed brain here or randomly drawn genitalia there are mischievously woven amidst soft toy characters, and can be somewhat difficult to absorb.  In comparison, Gitaroo Man’s cover was a more toned down affair, but at some level still maintains these difficult and unsettling juxtapositions.

Gitaroo Man Lives! (ギタルマン ライブ! Gitaru Man Raibu!) by 326 (Mitsura Nakamura)

Japanese artwork. Published by Koei globally in 2006 for the PSP.  

Click to enlarge


Gyruss (ジャイラス Jairasu) by Tomo Yamamoto.

Japanese artwork. Published by Konami in 1988 for the Japanese and North American markets.

NES ver. pictured. Also available on: Disk System.  

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Guardian Legend, The (ガーディック外伝) by Naoyuki Katoh.

Japanese artwork. Published by IREM in 1988 for the Japanese Famicom market.  

>The Japanese exclusive box art by famed illustrator Naoyuki Kato would prove an artistically complex and mature effort within the Famicom’s catalogue.  

The Guardic cyborg’s design would take inspiration from the fetish, steampunk world of H. R Giger and Europe’s pantheon of artist’s that made up the roster of 70’s magazine, Métal Hurlant.  It would interestingly pay little homage to the in game character design, and because of this, could well have been a recommisioned job rather than an original.

The title banner’s vibrant pallette and metallic sheen added to the composite well, but would have benefited from being smaller and not drawing the eye so much.

North America and Europe would both adopt a different box art on release - probably due to the different publisher in each region - with the later's characterisation crossing the game’s heroine and Katoh’s design.  Neither would compare to the Japanese original.

Special mention is due for the original artwork (that the manual does a better job of replicating) and the sad loneliness it conveys.

Click to enlarge


Golden Axe II (ゴールデンアックスⅡ) by Boris Vallejo.

Peruvian/ North American artwork. Published by Sega in 1991 for the European and North American Mega Drive/ Genesis markets.  

>One of great Vallejo box arts, painted in oils and full of the high detail he was made famous for.

Boris would interestingly provide the box art for sequel, Golden Axe III, only for the game to not be released outside of Japan, and subsequently it’s box art was then redone by a Japanese artist but to far lesser effect.

The Japanese version of Golden Axe IIwould loose the high gloss look and instead go for a muted pastel composition.

Click to enlarge


Gerald Brom - see Brom.

Greg Wray.  North American box artist.

Aladdin | Sega | 1993 | EU/ NA ver.

Jungle Book | Virgin | 1994.

Lemmings | Sun Corporation of America | 1992 | EU/ NA ver.

Mega Man: Dr Wily’s Revenge | Capcom | 1991 | NA ver.

Mickey Mania | Sega | 1991 | EU/ NA ver.

Quackshot: Starring Donald Duck | Sega | 1991 | EU/ NA ver.

Sonic the Hedgehog | Sega | 1991 | NA ver.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit | Capcom | 1991.