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 © 2013-2020 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.

BOX=ART index

 >Ma

Mark Bagley. North American box artist in 1995.

Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes | Epock Co. | 1995 | by Mark Bagley (penciller), Karl Kesel (inks), Paul Mounts (colourist) | Super Famicom. (1)

The Japanese would score an exclusive North American artwork - unusual for the time - for this highly sought after game. It would be based on the Marvel four issue mini-series The Lethal Foes from 1993 and was drawn on Bristal board with an image area of 11”x15”.


>Box art catalogue

>Gallery

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Mark Wilkinson.  English box artist from 1988-1989.

Parisian Knights | Abstract Concepts | 1989 | Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

Troll | 1988 | Kixx | Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.




Mindfighter | Abstract Concepts | 1988 | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum. (1)

The artist’s first box art would be commissioned by the games creator Fergus Macnell who at the time was a fan of Mark’s art for the rock group Marillion. Mark recalls, “Fergus wanted a boy - much like the boy I had drawn for Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood (1985 album)...who existed in some dystopian future...he had the ability to shape-shift into other creatures - and I used an Eagle.

The artwork was created using airbrushed acrylic ink. Poster.


>Box art catalogue

>Gallery

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Masaki Hirooka.  Japanese box artist in 2008.

Castlevania: Order of the Ecclesia | Konami | 2008 | NA ver. | Nintendo DS.

Suikoden Tierkreis | Konami | 2008 | EU/ JPN ver. | Nintendo DS.

Suikoden Tierkreis | Konami | 2008 | NA ver. | Nintendo DS.


Castlevania: Order of the Ecclesia | Konami | 2008 | EU/ JPN ver. | Nintendo DS. (1)

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.

>Box art catalogue

>Box art review

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Masashi Iwasaki.  Japanese box artist from 1982-1990.

Legendary Axe | Victor Musical Industries | 1988 | JPN ver. | PC Engine.

Legendary Axe II | Victor Musical Industries | 1990 | JPN ver. | PC Engine.

Lord Over | ASCII | 1984 | MSX.

Space Harrier II | Sega | 1988 | JPN ver. | Mega Drive.






>Box art catalogue

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AX-2: Uchū Yusōsen Nostromo (宇宙輸送船ノストロモ) | ASCII | 1982 | PC-6001. (1)

A turning point in Japanese box art design, the AX series of games (ten volumes running from 1982-1985 and exclusively for the PC-6001) would help popularise Japan’s early period of home computing gaming, a period lawless and cheap in design quality.  

ASCII’s Matsuhiro Matsuda sought to challenge the low quality video games that was available at the time with the AX series. A part of this revolution would involve quality painted artworks and a quality box, that shipped in a book style packaging.

The AX series is also the earliest known example of a branded look in Japanese box art design, with its red logo and white border.

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Mastertronic.  Publisher from 1984-1991.





Alcatraz Harry | Mastertronic | 1984 | by John Smyth | ZX Spectrum.

BMX Racers | Mastertronic | 1984 | by Mark J. Bradly.

Captain Zapp | Mastertronic | 1987 | by Alex Raymond.

Dark Star | Mastertronic | 1984 | by Mark J. Bradly.

Demon’s Forge, The | Mastertronic | 1987 | NA ver. | by Oliver Frey. (1)

Feud | Mastertronic | 1987 | NA ver. | by Oliver Frey.

Finders Keepers | Mastertronic | 1985 | by John Smyth. (2)

Golden Axe | Virgin Games | 1990 | EU home comp ver | by Dermot Power.

Judge Dredd | Virgin Games | 1990 | by Dermot Power. (3)

Knight Games | Mastertronic | 1986 | NA ver. | by Oliver Frey.

Kobyashi Naru | Mastertronic | 1987.





Neutron Zapper | Mastertronic | 1984 | by Mark J. Bradly. (5)

Ninja | Mastertronic | 1986.

Ninja Warriors | Virgin Games | 1989.

Realms | Virgin Games | 1991 | by Dermot Power.

Sarakon | Virgin Games | 1991 | by Dermot Power.

Spellbound | M.A.D | 1985.

Spirit of Excaliber | Virgin Games | 1990  | by Mark J. Ferrari | Amiga, Apple IIgs, Atari ST, CDTV, Macintosh, MS-DOS.

Spot | Virgin Games | 1990 | EU/ NA ver. | Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Game Boy, MS- DOS, NES. (6)

Supremacy | Virgin Games | 1990 | by Dermot Power.

Vegas Jackpot | Mastertronic | 1984.

Way of the Exploding Fist | Ricohet | 1988 | by David John Rowe. (7)






Formed in 1984 by Martin Alper, Frank Herman, Terry Medway and Alan Sharam, Mastertronic Ltd would offer the UK its first budget video game line, the 199 range. The line’s early games could be of varying quality but their box arts were arguably of a consistent high standard for the period. Mastertronic Ltd would outsource its promo duties to fledgling London design studio Words & Pictures Ltd - an unusual move for the time. Words & Pictures Ltd would hire freelance artist’s Mark J. Brady and John Smyth to do the bulk of the publisher’s early output. If the game was sci-fi or fantastical, Mark’s Chris Foss inspired SF art would be used, and if the game was comedic or more childish then John’s cartoon art was preferred. A black boarder then surrounded all artworks with ‘Mastertronic’ on the top and ‘M’ logo at the bottom.  In addition, covers had a colour-coded triangle in the top right corner stating the games format – a first for the industry.  

Even through the 199 range proved hugely successful the profit margins were still slight compared to full price titles, and so in response Mastertronic Ltd released a more expensive range M.A.D (Mastertronic. Added. Dimension) retailing at £2.99 for Christmas 1985. To make this range distinctive from the 199 range cover arts dropped the sci-fi realism and instead adopted a more comic book style of art, featuring large, bold character art on a white dotted background (see, The Last V-8). 1986 saw Mastertronic setup its first overseas operation Mastertronic Inc. in the USA.  The ‘M’ logo would be become 3D and artworks were either redesigned or originals used depending on whether the game was first designed in the US or UK. Notably, games Feud and The Demon’s Forge re-commissioned cover arts from video game magazine Crash by esteemed English illustrator Oliver Frey.

Alongside Mastertronic’s original games the company also become well known for re-releasing other publisher’s older games at budget prices under the UK Ricochet range. Box arts would always use the games original artwork and be surrounded by a M.A.D styled dotted background. Companies such as Ultimate Play the Game, Melbourne House, Virgin Games and Martech took advantage of Mastertronic’s expertise, with hit titles Way of the Exploding Fist (box art by David John Rowe), Ghost Busters and Aliens getting new leases of life under Ricochet.

By the end of 1987 Virgin had acquired 45% of Mastertronic and the company went through many changes towards a complete Virgin take over the following year (Virgins interest was down to the fact that Mastertronic in 1987 had acquired the rights to distribute Sega Master System games in Europe). 1987 Cover arts had now dropped the original ‘M’ logo and in its place a new Mastertronic type – with small italic ‘i’ – emblazoned across the left side. Artworks throughout this period and when Virgin took over between 1988-1991 were varied and used many artists.

The newly coined Virgin Mastertronic label (1988) and the Mastertronic Plus range (replacing M.A.D in 1989) would however concentrate on budget 8-bit titles and re-releases, and their respective cover arts were looking tired and uninspired by the start of the 90’s. For full price titles Virgin dropped the Virgin Mastertronic label, instead using its traditional red Virgin logo (likely not wanting its full price games to be associated with a budget line). Notably, this period saw comic book artist Dermot Power start in the video game industry, with box arts Wonderland, Golden Axe and Judge Dredd showcasing his talent in Virgins full price line. With it’s budget game range dwindling in place of its full price range Virgin would lay to rest the Mastertronic label in around 1991, selling it to Sega.  Effectively, Mastertronic formed the basis of today’s Sega of Europe, and with it came the end of one of Europe’s early pioneering publishers.

Wonderland | Virgin Games | 1991 | by Dermot Power | Acorn Atom, Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS.  (8)

This cover would start a long career the artist has had within Lewis Carol’s universe.  

Dermot has commented that the original pencil drawing is better than the finished painting, and that Wonderland is the only box art he has personally retained.

Last V8, The | M.A.D | 1985 | Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64. (4)

The Last V-8 would be budget publisher Mastertronic’s first game under its new line M.A.D (Mastertronic’s Added Dimension).  

The comic book/ pop art style would dishtinguish itself from the sci-fi/ comedic art of Mastetronic’s £1.99 range’s (see Dark Star and Finders Keepers respectively), but would be shortlived with more realistic art styles being used by 1987.  

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Masanori Sato.  Japanese box artist from 2002-2009.

Doshin the Giant | Nintendo | 2002 | JPN ver. | GameCube.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story | Nintendo | 2009 | 3DS.

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time | Nintendo | 2005 | Nintendo DS.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga | Nintendo | 2003 | Nintendo DS.

Mario Strikers Charged | Nintendo | 2007 | Nintendo Wii. (1)








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Masaki Yamanaka.  Japanese box artist in 2009.

Madworld | Spike Co, Ltd. | 2009 | Nintendo Wii. (1)





>Box art catalogue

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Masaki Okumura.  Japanese box artist in 1988.

Xanadu: Dragon Slayer II | Nihon Falcom | 1988 | PC-88, Sharp X-1. (1)





>Box art catalogue

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Mark Stutzman.  North American box artist from 1990-1992.

Challenge of the Five Realms | Microplay Software | 1992 | MS-DOS.

Punisher, The | Microprose Software | 1990 | MS-DOS. (1)

Space 1889 | Paragon Software | 1990 | Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS.





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Marek Okon.  Polish box artist from 2011-2017.


Dead Alliance | Maximum Games | 2017 | PS4, Windows, Xbox One.

Last of Us, The | Sony | 2013 | PS3.

Star Wars: The Old Republic | EA | 2011 | Windows.

Uncharted – The Lost Legacy | Sony | 2017 | PS4.

Witcher 3, The: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone | CD Projekt | 2016 | PS4, Windows, Xbox One. (1)




As one of today’s sought after conceptual artists in the video game and movie businesses, Marek has applied his talents to high profile properties such as studio 20th Century’s Captain America: Civil War and Gods of Egypt and publisher Sony’s Last of Us, God of War and the Uncharted series’.

He has provided key art as well as box art for game promotion, all designed in CG art.  His pieces are usually multi layered and composite with many different characters and assets.

>Artist profile

>Box art catalogue

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Marc William Ericksen.  North American box artist from 1982-2003.

1503 A.D.: The New World | EA | 2003 | Windows.

After Burner | Tengen | 1989 | NA ver. | NES.

Aeroblitz Supersonic | Koei | 1994 | NA ver. | Genesis, SNES.

Alpha Mission II | SNK America | 1991 | NA ver. | Neo Geo. (1)

Atomic Runner | Data East | 1992 | NA ver. | Genesis.

Blasteroids | Tengen | 1989 | NA ver. | Commodore 64.

Bermuda Triangle | Data Age | 1982 | Atari 2600/ VCS.

B.O.B | EA | 1993 | EU/ NA ver. | Genesis, Mega Drive, SNES.

Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure | Turbo Technologies | 1993 | NA ver. | Turbo Grafx.

Chelnov: Atomic Runner | Data East | 1992 | NA ver. | Genesis.

Chop ‘n Drop | Activision | 1988 | NA ver. | Commodore 64.

Choplifter! | Broderbund Software | 1982 | NA ver. | Apple II, Commodore 64.

Crash Dive | Fox Video Games | 1983 | Atari 2600/ VCS.

Das Boot: German U-Boat Simulation | Three-Sixty Pacific | 1990 | Amiga, MS-DOS.

David’s Midnight Magic | Broderbund | 1982 | EU/ NA ver. | Apple II, Atari 2600/ VCS, Commodore 64.

Deadly Skies | Tronix Publishing | 1983 | VIC-20.

Drol | Broderbund Software | 1983 | NA ver. | Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64.

Evasive Action | Software Toolworks | 1993 | MS-DOS.

First Over Germany | SSI | 1988 | Commodore 64, MS-DOS.

Full Tilt! Pinball | Maxis Software | 1996 | Macintosh, Windows, Windows 3.x.

G-Loc Air Battle | Sega | 1991 | EU/ NA ver. | Genesis, Mega Drive..

Galactic Blitz | Tronix Publishing | 1982 | VIC-20.

Galaga | Atari | 1987 | Atari 7800.

Ghost Pilots | SNK America | 1991 | Neo Geo.

Gold Fever | Tronix Publishing | 1983 | VIC-20.

Gridrunner | Human Engineered Software | 1982 | Commodore 64.

Guerillia War | SNK Corp | 1989 | NA ver. | NES.

Harley’s Humongous Adventure | Hi-Tech Expressions | 1993 | SNES, Super Famicom.

Heavy Barrel | Data East | 1989 | NA ver. | Apple II, MS-DOS, NES.

Herzog Zwei | Sega | 1990 | EU/ NA ver. | Genesis, Mega Drive.

Hockey | Atari | 1992 | Lynx.

Hydra | Atari | 1992 | Lynx.  

Ikari III: The Rescue | SNK Corp of America | 1990 | NA ver. | Commodore 64, MS-DOS, NES.

Incredible Crash test Dummies, The | LJN | 1992 | EU/ NA ver. | Game Boy.

Incredible Crash test Dummies, The | LJN | 1993 | Amiga, Game Boy (JPN ver), Game Gear, Genesis, Master System, Mega Drive, SNES, Super Famicom.

James Pond 2: Codename Robocod | EA | 1991 | EU/ NA ver. | Genesis, Mega Drive.

Juice! | Tronix Publishing | 1983 | Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64.

Kid Grid | Tronix Publishing | 1982 | Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64.

Laser Force | Britannica Software | 1989 | Apple IIgs.

Lock n’ Chase | Sun Electronics Corp | 1990 | Game Boy.

LucasArts Air Combat Classics | LucasArts | 1994 | MS-DOS.

Mechanized Attack | SNK Corp of America | 1990 | NES.

Mega Man 2 | Capcom USA | 1989 | NA ver. | NES. (2)

Megafortress | Three-Sixty Pacific | 1991 | Amiga, MS-DOS.

Minnesota Fats’ Pool Challenge | Hesware | 1984 | NA ver. | Commodore 64.

Ocean Ranger | Activision | 1988 | Commodore 64, MS-DOS.

Operation Crusader | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1994 | Macintosh, MS-DOS.

Operation Neptune | The Learning Co | 1991 | Macintosh, MS-DOS, Windows, Windows 3.x.

Operation Whirlwind | Broderbund | 1984 | Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64.

Overrun! | SSI | 1989 | Amiga, Apple II, Commodore 64.

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War | SNK  Corp of America | 1989 | NES.

Racing Aces | Sega | 1993 | Sega CD.

Red Lightning | SSI | 1989 | Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS.

Scorpion | Tronix Publishing | 1983 | VIC-20.

Seafox | Broderbund Software | 1982 | Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, VIC-20.

Shark Trap | Broderbund Software | 1982 | BBC Micro, Electron, VIC-20, ZX Spectrum.

Sidewinder | Tronix Publishing | 1982 | VIC-20.

Space Harrier | Sega | 1991 | EU/ NA ver. | Game Gear, Sega 32X..

Spare Change | Broderbund | 1983 | NA ver. | Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64.

Spellicopter | DesignWare | 1983 | Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, PC Booter.

Star Blazer | Broderbund Software | 1982 | Apple II, Atari 8-bit, MSX, VIC-20.

Steel Empire, The | Flying Edge | 1992 | NA ver. | Genesis.

Steel Talons | Atari | 1992 | Lynx.

Stellar Shuttle | Broderbund | 1982 | Atari 8-bit.

Strider | Capcom USA | 1989 | NES. (3)

Strike Gunner S.T.G | NTV International Corp | 1992 | NA ver. | SNES.

Suicide Strike | Tronix Publishing | 1983 | Commodore 64.

Super Baseball 2020 | EA | 1994 | Genesis, Mega Drive.

Swarm! | Tronix Publishing | 1982 | VIC-20.

Tempo Jr. | Sega | 1995 | EU/ NA ver. | Game Gear.

Tetris | Tengen | 1988 | NES.

Thunder Force 2 | Sega | 1989 | EU/ NA ver. | Genesis, Mega Drive.

Track Attack! | Broderbund Software | 1982 | Apple II, Atari 8-bit.

Turtle Toyland Jr | HesWare | 1983 | Commodore 64.

Typhoon of Steel | SSI | 1988 | Amiga, Apple II, Commodore 64, MS-DOS.

V for Victory: Battleset 1 - D-day Utah Beach – 1944 | Three-Sixty Pacific | 1991 | Macintosh, MS-DOS.

V for Victory: Gold-Juno Sword | Three-Sixty Pacific | 1993 | Macintosh, MS-DOS.

V for Victory: Market Garden | Three-Sixty Pacific | 1993 | Macintosh, MS-DOS.

V for Victory: Velikiye Luki | Three-Sixty Pacific | 1992 | Macintosh, MS-DOS.

Vigilante | Data East | 1989 | Commodore 64.

Vindicators | Tengen | 1988 | NES.

World at War: Volume II – Stalingrad | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1995 | Macintosh, MS-DOS.

Xybots | Atari | 1991 | Lynx.




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Artist index: Ma

Publisher index: Ma

Pages - Ma  Me  Mi-Mo


    Index - 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

Directory - 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

Masato Natsumoto.  Japanese box artist from 1995-2000.


Gunbird 2 | Capcom | 2000 | Dreamcast.

King of Fighters Kyo | SNK | 1998 | PS1.

Mobile Light Force | Atlus | 1995 | JPN ver. | Saturn.

Record of Lodoss War | Entertainment Software | 2000 | JPN/ NA ver. | Dreamcast.






>Box art catalogue

Matt Hall.  North American box artist from 1999-2003.


Medal of Honor | EA | 1999 | PS1. (1)

Medal of Honor: Frontline | EA | 2002 | GameCube, PS2, Xbox. (2)

Medal of Honor: Underground | EA | 2000 | Game Boy Advance, PS1. (3)

Secret Weapons Over Normandy | LucasArts | 2003 | PS2, Windows, Xbox. (4)





Matt would study fine art at Missouri Southern State University and took inspiration from the likes of NC Wyeth, Normal Rockwell and Frederic Remington. The artist would get his break into video game box art through his time at DreamWorks Studios, working as an art director on many of the company’s film and video game projects.  

>Artist profile

>Box art catalogue

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