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.

123 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Box art index: Ic - Is

Artist index: Ia - It

BOX=ART index


Ishin no Arashi Bakumatsu Shishiden by Ayami kojima.

Japanese artwork. Published by Koei in 1998 for the Japanese market.

PS1 ver. pictured. Also available on: Saturn.  

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Ishar 3: The Seven Gates of Infinity by Ciruelo Cabral.

Argentine artwork. Published by Silmarils in 1994 for the European and North American markets.  

DOS ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Amiga, Atari ST, WIN.

>The third and final part of the Ishar series would see Argentine artist and dragon painter specialist Ciruelo Cabral lend his enviable talents.

Named ‘Flying Dark Dragon’ the artwork was originally created in 1989 and first appeared on the front cover of one of the artists own publications, The Book of the Dragon, 1991.  Developer/ publisher Silmarils then, bought the use of rights in 1994. Styalistically it comfortably bookended the other two excellent Tolkien-themed cover arts.

Painted using acrylic on cardboard, its floating, dream like style of composition and use of cool colours can be found clearly inspired by the art of Roger Dean. Dean along with Moebius, and Frank Frazetta would play a big part in shaping the artist’s early creative approach.

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Illusion City: Gen’ ei Toshi (幻影都市) by Yukio Kitta.

Japanese artwork. Published by Micro Cabin Corp. in 1991 for the Japanese market.  

MSX ver. pictured.  Also availble on: FM Towns, PC-98, X68000.

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>Yukio’s grandiose and melancholic window into the future, would be imposingly possible due to the space available on Japan’s home computer casings.  It wouldn’t represent the in-games bleak artistic direction, but, the lamenting architectural facade would sorrowfully tell the game’s fated tale brilliantly.

Illusion’s artistry melded both classic anime with delicate ligne claire styles of art.  Inspiration can be seen from artist’s Moebius and Jean Giraud, and even though sci-fi isn’t Yukio’s normal genre, Illusion does still sit comfortably within the artists portfolio.

Sega’s Mega CD would be only console graced with a port, and also the only version to switch front and back covers - complete with 1980’s style Manga characterisation by Mangaka Koji Nakakita - but in doing so offered a far inferior box art both visually and emotionally.


Ikaruga (斑鳩) by Yasushi Suzuki.

Japanese artwork. Published by ESP in 2002 for the Japanese Dreamcast market.

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Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom by Bruce Wolfe.

North American artwork. Published by Mindscape in 1984 for the European and North American C64 markets.  

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>Publisher Minscape would start the trend of using movie posters to promote the series.  In this case Bruce Wolfe’s poster for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

Indy’s second movie was still hot news at the time of this games release and so using the original poster was shrewd if not a little misleading for those expecting an action adventure based on the hit film (they instead got a rather poor puzzle game).


Itsuki Masaki.  Japanese box artist in 1990.

Deep Blue | NEC Technologies Inc. | 1990.  

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by Drew Struzan.

North American artwork. Published by Mindscape in 1987 for the North American markets.  

NES ver. Pictured. Also available for: Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS.  

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>The belated official releases of the Temple of Doom games saw Drew Struzan’s original movie poster used across the North American releases.

It would be the second time one of Drew’s artworks had been used as box art after 1985’s Back to the Future.


Incredible Hulk, The by Glenn Fabry.

North American artwork. Published by U.S. Gold in 1994 for the European and North American markets.

Game Gear ver. pictured. Also available on: Genesis, Master System, Mega Drive, SNES.  

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Ian Craig.  English box artist from 1984-1989.

After studying art and communication design in Sailsbury and Leeds respectively, Craig would embark on a career in sci-fi paint-work, taking a special interest in the “mystical, dreamlike” side of science fiction over spaceships and futuristic hardware the genre loves so much.  

Craig would get his start in the video game industry through his cover arts for publication Popular Computing. This led to Tim Langdell from developer Softec commissioning him for his earliest known box art Ice Giant (1984) and to design a cover for a book on the Dragon 32 hardware.

Ian would later produce two original covers for publisher Psygnosis under their Psyclapse line. Little is known of the artists time within the industry post ‘89.   

Ice Giant | Softek International | 1984.

Menace | Psyclapse | 1988.

Nevermind | Psyclapse | 1989.

Ian Naylor.  English box artist from 1988-1992.

Air Support | Psygnosis | 1992.

Armour-Geddon | Psygnosis | 1991.

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts | U.S. Gold | 1989.

Motor Massacre | Gremlins Graphics Software | 1988.

Red Zone | Psygnosis | 1992.

Thunderblade | U.S. Gold | 1989.

Institute, The by Michael O. Haire.

North American artwork. First published by Med Systems Software in 1981 for the the Nintendo 3DS market.

TRS-80 ver. Pictured. Also available for: Atari 8-bit, C64.  

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>Psychological drama The Institute would be another text-based adventure from publisher ScreenPlay and coding superstar Jyym Pearson.

Its cover by artist Haire paints a Freudian nightmare, with delicately draw character art that wonderfully depicts the player’s slipping into a hellish dreamlike state of madness.

Using vivid and juxtaposing pinks and yellows against black on white, The Institute leaps off the cover and mesmerises with its suggestiveness.  

Due to it heralding from the dawn of the home-computer scene no box was originally produced (the game came in a plastic bag, as was common of the time) and so this artwork was made available on the cover of the instruction manual.



Ico (イコ) by Fumito Ueda.

Japanese artwork. Published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2001 for the European and Japanese markets.  

PS2 ver. pictured.  Also availble on: PS3.

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>The acclaimed Ico would be a jewel in SCE’s crown and it’s box art a complimentary masterpiece in minimalism. Director and lead designer, Fumito Ueda would take inspiration from Giorgio de Chirico’s, The Nostalgia of the Infinite, stating “… I thought the surrealistic world of de Chirico matched the allegoric world of Ico”. It would certainly match the game’s mood more so than its in-game artistic direction, with the sense of grand architecture isolating - but far from engulfing - companions Ico and Yorda.

The North American cover art by Gregory Harsh would depict a 3D illustrated Ico in a dull and angered pose. It would be used due to Fumito’s original not being ready for Ico’s American release date, and has been credited for the game’s poor sales in that region. Thankfully the later European version opted for the Japanese original.

>Pictures from top - EU/ JPN box art, The Nostalgia of the Infinite and NA box art.


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>The well loved Fate of Atlantis saw LucasArts in-house artist Bill Eaken take the cover art reigns.  The style is unmistakably a homage to Drew Struzan’s poster art, that Eaken pulls off with aplomb.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis by William L. Eaken.

North American artwork. First published by LucasArts in 1992 and for the global market.

Amiga ver. pictured. Also available on: DOS, FM Towns, Macintosh.

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Imaitoonz.  Japanese box artist in 2001.

Fighting Vipers II |Sega | 2001 | EU ver.

Imagic.  Publisher from 1981-1986.

Founded in 1981 by Bill Grubb, Bob Smith, Denis Koble, Jim Goldberger, Brian Dougherty, Mark Bradley and Rob Fulop, Imagic would quickly grow as a developer/ publisher, producing such classics such as Microsurgeon and Demon Attack.  

In 1982 Michael Becker would get the job of art director and along with Jim Goldberg’s marketing group set about testing different box designs on children to see what was appealing to them.  It was decided to run with the metalic-foil design after a child loved it so much he tried to hide it in his lap.  It would end up through as being an expensive option of applying two layers of paint to get the metal sheen effect, but was a defining feature of an Imagic product.  

The main imagery for many Imagic box arts including, Atlantis, Dragonfire and Cosmic Ark would be a combination of built models and printed materials. All but the Demon Attack and Star Voyager models were designed by both Michael and Wilfredo Aguilar, while prints were created by artists Karen Eliot and Wendy Zeto amongst others. The unique look of built models coupled with the metallic box would help brand Imagic’s products, and provide the consumer with a instantly recognisable product and mark of quality.

>Notable and influencial Imagic box arts all lead designed by Michael Becker.

Atlantis | 1982. (3)

Beauty and the Beast | 1982.

Cosmic Ark | 1982.

Demon Attack | 1982. (4)

Dragonfire | 1982. (1)

Microsurgeon | 1982. (2)

Swords and Serpents | 1982.

Moonsweeper | 1983.

Solar Storm | 1983.

Wing War | 1983.

Publisher index: Im

Invictus: In the Shadow of Olympus by Justin Sweet.

North American artwork. First published by Interplay in 2000 for the European and North American Windows markets.

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>Designed in 1999 and under the title of ‘Achilles’, this would be concept artist Justins second (and possibly final to date) cover art.

The artist is disiplined in both traditional media and CG art and this artwork appears to be the designed using the former.  It is a great and typical example of his love for ‘Frank Frazetta’ style fantasy scenes.


Instruments of Chaos Starring Young Indiana Jones by William L. Eaken.

North American artwork. Published by Sega in 1994 for the American markets.

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Company, Full Spectrum - known for their multimedia shows - would then shoot the models on black and use the same composition and lighting techniques used on the Star Wars films.  The final image would be priced at around $2000, a vast sum for a box art at the time.

Imagic’s games would populate Atari’s VCS/ 2600 and Mattel’s Intellivision’s machines (Imagic were Intellivisions first 3rd party developer) and the company would make a point of using the same model imagery across all hardware, but with differing graphic designs for the boxes.

The video game crash of 1983 would harm the company beyond repair and Imagic would slowly decline before going out of business in 1986.  By this time 24 games had been produced with the rights to many of the popular titles passing to publisher Activision.  





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