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

BOX=ART

Video game box art and artist history database

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BOX=ART copyright © 2013-2019 Adam Gidney. All rights reserved. Hosted by Dathorn.

About BOX=ART

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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Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe (アックスバトラー ゴールデンアックス伝説 ) .

Published by Sega in 1991 for the European and North American Game Gear markets.  




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Julie Bell would do the unthinkable and give Sega’s handheld an exclusive and quality western box art in Golden Axe offshoot: Ax Battler. She would coin the artwork as “Savage Lands” after the game’s topography. The artwork would sit firmly in line with Julie’s other early 90’s cover arts (see, Eternal Champions, Defender of Rome II) and exudes a detailed, high fantasy look that was painted in the artist’s preferred media, oils. Japan would unsurprisingly not use Julie’s art. Instead, it interestingly removed the series’ usual western barbarian look and replaced it with a “Koei war game” style box art by illustrator Jun Satoh.

Her equally famous partner Boris Vallejo would also that year create the box art for the stylistically similar American/ European release of Golden Axe II (Mega Drive/ Genesis).

Julie Bell.  North American box artist from 1991-2005.


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A Fork in the Tale | Any River Entertainment | 1997 | Windows. (4)

Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe | Sega | 1991 | EU/ NA ver. | Game Gear. (9)

Defenders of Oasis | Sega | 1992 | Game Gear.

Demon’s Crest | Capcom | 1994 | EU/ NA ver. | SNES. (3)

Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls | Tradewest Inc. | 1994 | Genesis, Jaguar, SNES.

Eternal Champions | Sega | 1993 | Genesis, Mega drive. (7)

Hardball! | Accolade | 1991 | NA ver. | Genesis.

King of Dragons | Capcom | 1994 | NA ver. | SNES.

Natsume Championship Wrestling | Natsume | 1993 | SNES.

Run Saber | Atlus USA Inc. | 1993 | SNES.

RYL: Path of the Emperor | Planetwide Games | 2005 | with Boris Vallejo | Windows. (5)

Splatterhouse 3 | Namco | 1993 | Genesis, Mega Drive. (8)

Strider II: Strider Returns | U.S.Gold | 1992 | Game Gear, Genesis, Master System, Mega Drive.

Super Valis IV | Atlus | 1993 | NA ver. | SNES. (1)

Turrican | Accolade | 1991 |  NA ver. | with Boris Vallejo | Game Boy, Genesis, Turbo Grafx. (2)

Warrior of Rome II | Micronet Co. Ltd | 1992 | NA ver. | Genesis.

Wolfenstein 3D | id Software | 1993 | EU/ NA ver. | Game Boy Advance, Jaguar, MS-DOS. (6)




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Julie’s rise to professional artist in the early ‘90’s would come from help with artist Boris Vallejo (Ecco the Dolphin series). Even though she’d studied at art school, her profession throughout the 1980’s was in fact as pro body builder.

Modelling for Boris would bring them together, and through his teachings Bell’s talent as an artist was realised.  Julie’s fascination with body form, both on and off the canvas, would be evident in her first round of box arts: Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe, Hardball! and Turrican (all 1991). All three would exhibit bulging protagonists painted in fine detail using oils, and would pay an obvious homage to Vallejo’s work, setting the standard for her future cover arts.  

Turrican is of special interest due to its metallic finish. It’s a technique - one her husband had been working on since the 1970’s - she’d perfect and coin as ‘metal flesh’, becoming a trademark of hers (Bell would interestingly better the Turrican original in 1996 with her unused Super Turrican II artwork). Debuting on Heavy Metal magazine’s January cover with a painting called ‘Beauty and the Steel Beast” depicting a woman riding a metal shark, ‘metal flesh’ would also be used on cover art Run Saber (1993). The aforementioned Heavy Metal cover would open further doors for the artist, and by the mid 90’s she would be an established comic book artist producing cover and trading-card artworks for major comic companies.

By the late 90’s, as was the case with many traditional painters, box art duties started to dry up as the industry favoured computer-generated art designs (CG). This would almost be the case for Julie with her final solo effort, A Fork in the Tale (1997).  It would exude her usual bombastic character art, melding a humorous side to the buxom warriors depicted.  

As a firm believer in traditional paints and the flexibility of using oils, the artist has affirmed her lack of interest in CG art. This is further evident in her final cover art to date and her only collaborative box art venture with Boris; Ryl: Path of the Emperor (2005).  It’s humanity and tonal warmth would be a breath of fresh air in a period when CG artists were producing high-end box arts that could appear clinical in comparison.   

Outside of cover art duties but still within the industry, Bell created unused concept art for Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994) and recently BioShock 2 (2010, with Boris).


>Artist profile

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>Box art catalogue

>Box art review

Jun Satoh.  Japanese box artist from 1990-1992.

Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe | Sega | 1991 | JPN ver. | Game Gear. (2)

Golden Axe II | Sega | 1992 | JPN ver. | Mega Drive.

Ninja Gaiden | Sega | 1991 | JPN ver. | Game Gear.

Shadow Dancer | Sega | 1990 | JPN ver. | Mega Drive. (1)





>Box art catalogue

Jun Suemi.  Japanese box artist from 1984-2011.



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Apsaras | Koei | 2000 | Windows.

Asuncia: Curse of Matsue | XING | 1997 | PS1. (1)

Brandish 2: The Planet Buster | Nihon Falcom Corp | 1993 | PC-98, Super Famicom.

Brandish 2: The Planet Buster RENEWAL | Nihon Falcom Corp | 1995 | PC-98, Super Famicom. (4)

Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan | Nihon Falcom Corp | 1994 | PC-98.

Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan RENEWAL | Nihon Falcom Corp | 1995 | PC-98. (6)

Brandish 4: Nemureru Kami no Tou  | Nihon Falcom Corp | 1998 | Windows. (8)

Brandish RENEWAL | Nihon Falcom Corp | 1995 | PC-98.

Brandish VT | Nihon Falcom Corp | 1996 | PC-98.

Dark Seraphim | Kure Software Koubou | 1995 | PC-98.

Dungeon Master | ASCII | 1986 | MSX.

Fire Hawk: Thexder The Second Contact | Game Arts | 1989 | MS-DOS, MSX, PC-88.

First Queen IV | Kure Software Koubou | 1994 | PS1.

Hybrid Front, The | Sega | 1994 | Mega Drive. (9)

Libros de Chilam Balam | Right Stuff Corp. | 1992 | PC-98.

Nosteratu | Seta | 1994 | Super Famicom. (7)

Not Treasure Hunter | Acti-Art | 1996 | PS1.

Okhotsk ni Kiyu | Login Soft | 1984 | MSX.

Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory | Hudson Soft | 2005 | JPN ver. | PSP. (2)

Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory | Hudson Soft | 2005 | EU/ NA ver. | PSP.

Rengoku II: The Stairway to Heaven | Hudson Soft | 2006 | EU/ JPN ver. | PSP.

Rengoku II: The Stairway to Heaven | Hudson Soft | 2006 | NA ver. | PSP.

Renny Blaster | AV | 1995 | PS1. (5)

Seiken Achō | ASCII Corp. | 1985 | MSX.

Slipheed | Game Arts | 1986 | PC-88.

Slipheed | Game Arts | 1993 | EU/ JPN ver. | Mega CD.

Sword World SFC2 | T&E Soft | 1994 | Super Famicom.

Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll | Koei Co. | 2011 | PS3.

Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll Premium Box | Koei Co. | 2011 | PS3.

Veigues: Tactical Gladiators | Game Arts | 1988 | PC-88, PC Engine. (3)

Wizardry: Llylgamyn Saga | ASCII Entertainment Software | 1998 | PS1.

Wizardry: New Age of Llylgamyn | ASCII Entertainment Software | 2001 | PS1.

Wizardry: Twin Pack / Wizardry | ASCII Entertainment Software | 2011 | PS3.

Zill O’ll | Koei Co. | 1999 | PS1.









Graduating from the Musashino Art University as an oil painter, Jun produced his first commissioned artwork for novel Galaxy Crusade in 1983. Novel cover arts would be a staple in his career with artworks appearing in long running series Guin Saga and Makai City Blues among many others.

He would soon after debut in the video game industry producing cover arts for early JRPG’s on the home computer scene, before starting work as a monster designer for the Famicom/ NES version of the long running RPG series Wizardry in 1987. It would be a series he’d carry on being attached to from a design perspective for many years providing such box arts as, Wizardry: Llylgamyn Saga and Wizardry: New Age of Llylgamyn (both for PS1).

While not primarily known as a mecha designer some of his earlier box arts -Slipheed (1986 ver.) Veigus: Tactical Gladiators (PC Engine, 1990), Fire Hawk: Thexder the Second Contact (MSX, 1989) and Slipheed (Mega CD, 1993) would show his talent in this genre and reminisce veteran mecha illustrators Yoshiyuki Takani (Phalanx, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake) and Shigeru Komatsuzaki.

Starting with the box art for Brandish 2 on the PC-98, Jun’s distinctive look of strong, slender and eroticised women accompanied by equally slender, handsome and armour-cladded men would be established. The cover art would also depict an artistic style he would adopt throughout many subsequent box arts; instead of a detailed background Jun would paint coloured swirls of mist and bellows of dense fog surrounding his characters. The sense of historicity in his illustrations would be complemented by his skillful use of oils giving his art its aged look (see Asuncia and Brandish 4) that would be complimented by characters rife with Middle Age design traits.

He’d carry on through the 1990’s producing excellent cover arts for Nosteratu (Super Famicom, 1994), Renny Blaster (PCE, 1995) and Asuncia (PS1, 1997) as well as for sequels Brandish 3 and Brandish 4.  Closing the decade he’d become involved in a new series; Zill O’ll (PS1, 1999). Into the millennium Jun would carry on with the Zill O’ll and Wizardry series’ and character design for the PSP game Rengoku (2005).  He would also be in demand throughout this period as a collectable card game illustrator for games such as Battle Spirits, Monster Collection and Culdcept Saga.

>Artist profile

>Box art catalogue

Justin Sweet.  North American box artist from 1997-2000.

Dragon Dice | Interplay Entertainment | 1997 | Windows.

Invictus:  In the Shadow of Olympus | Interplay Entertainment | 2000 | Windows. (1)






Invictus: In the Shadow of Olympus

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




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.

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>Box art catalogue

>Box art review

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Directory: J