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: Pa - Pu

Artist index: Pa - Ph

BOX=ART index

 >Pa - Pu

Panzer Dragoon (パンツァードラグーン) by Moebius (Jean Giraud).

French artwork. Published by Sega in 1995 for the Japanese Saturn market.  

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>Taking clues from the game’s opening level and it’s “Alexandrian” inspired architecture, Moebius would deploy his trademark style of minimalist detail and masterful use of colour.  He would also add a healthy dose of surrealism to the mix whilst doing away with the usual blasting and destroying that shooter cover arts often depicted.

His work on comic book Arzach in 1975 would be one of Team Andromeda’s main artistic influences for Panzer Dragoon, and Moebius would go on to produce original artwork for their creative process.  It would be an unusual collaboration for its time but his influence on Japanese illustrators, and such famed purveyors as Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli), Katsuya Terada (Blood: The last vampire) and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), would certainly explain Sega of Japan commissioning him.  

The box art would interestingly not make it to western shores making it one of a few European cover arts from that period to be exclusive to Japan.  Unfortunately Europe and America would have frowned upon them a computer art equivalent with none of the comic book wonder of Jean’s.  

Pandora’s Tower (Pandora no Tō: Kimi no Moto e Kaeru Made) by Gou Takeuchi.

Japanese artwork. Published by Nintendo globally in 2011 for the Wii market.

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Publisher index: Ps


Panzer Dragoon Saga (アゼル パンツァードラグーンRPG) by Katsumi Yokota.

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

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>Yokota-san would get the job of character designer on Saga after working on the previous game in the series, Panzer Dragoon II: Zwei’s (1996) cinematic end-credit sequence.

The illustrator recalls that much of the character art had been sketched out when he joined the project - by Manabu Kusunoki, director and chief designer - and that he was responsible for refining and bringing them to life. The designs were deliberately anti what Japanese characters looked like in the late 1990’s (see Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud for a typical example), with an attitude of the avent-garde permeating the development team’s work.

The dragon design was the work of Satoshi Sakai who remembers that Katsumi took a print off of one of his 3D dragon models and painted over it.  Katsumi recalls that he was never a fan of Sakai’s dragon designs at the time - thinking that looked too Kaiju (like Godzilla) - and so made them more elegant and fitting with the games overal feel.

Much like the rest of the development team Katsumi was influenced by artist Moebius, who was responsible for the first Panzer Dragoon box art (see above).


Phalanx by Yoshiyuki Takani.

Japanese artwork. Published by Kemco in 1991 for the Japanese X68000 market.  

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>The veteran illustrator of TAMIYA military model-kit box arts would beautifully depict Phalanx’s star-fighter in an uncommonly calm setting for a shoot ‘em up cover art.

Very much in line with the style of illustartor Shigeru Komatsuzaki, Yoshiyuki’s delicate brush strokes, soft pallet and detailed realism would be a welcome artistic change to the more common anime style seen in the Super Famicom’s equivalent release.

In the US, publisher Kemco would infamously create the equivalent SNES box art. Bereft of any quality, it depicted a banjo-playing hick. Whilst certainly achieving the tongue-in-cheek recognition, and notoriety, the publisher set out to garner, it was a depressing alternative when Takani’s artwork was available.

A hidden gem of a box art, Phalanx is another classic work from one of Japan’s old guards in the art of painted war.


Perfect Assassin by Kev Walker.

English artwork. Published by Grolier Interactive Inc. in 1997 for the European market.

DOS ver. pictured. Also available on: PlayStation.  


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Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods by Toshiaki Kato.

Japanese artwork. Published by Imagineer Co. in 1993 for the Japanese Super Famicom market.

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Prince of Persia (プリンスオブペルシャ) by Katsuya Terada.

Japanese artwork. Published by Masaya in 1992 for the European and Japanese markets.

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


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Power Blade (パワーブレイザー, Pawā Burez) by Michael J. Winterbauer.

North American artwork. First published by Taito in 1991 for the European and North American NES markets.


North American artwork. Published by Taito in 1991 for the European and North American NES markets.  

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>The title screen of the game features a picture of main chararter NOVA that closely resembles promotional images of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1984 film The Terminator, the box art also features a similar portrayal of NOVA. According to artist Winterbauer, "a certain movie star's lawyers" sent him a very unpleasant letter regarding the painting used for the cover. Michael was able to prove that he had used a photograph of himself for reference and received no further contact.

>Pictures from top. Original box art and photo reference.


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Phantasy Star Online ver. 2 by Akikazu Mizuno.

Japanese artwork. First published by Sega globally in 2001 for the Dreamcast market.

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Populous by David John Rowe.

English artwork. Published by EA globally from 1989.

Amiga EU ver. pictured. Also available on: Acorn 32-bit, Atari ST, DOS, Genesis, Master System, PC-98, Super Famicom, X68000.

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>By far artist David Rowe’s most popular cover finding home across the globe including on no less than three Japanese systems - quite the feat for a western artists work in the 80’s.

David would come up with the design after having rare early access to the game. The artist remembers that the finished piece took some at EA a while to warm to - it being labeled a golf divot. The wild sucess that Populous achieved helped win them over though...


Pipe Dream by Steve Purcell.

North American artwork. First published by Lucasfilms Games in 1989 for the European and North American markets.

Apple II ver. pictured. Also available on: Acorn 32-bit, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, BBC Micro, C64, DOS, Electron, Mac, ZX Spectrum .  

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P.T.O.: Pacific Theater of Operations II (Teitoku no Ketsudan II) by Noriyoshi Ohari.

Japanese artwork. First published by KOEI in 1993 and for the Japanese and North American markets.

Super Famicom ver. pictured. Also available on: FM Towns, PC-98, PlayStation, Saturn, SNES, Windows.  

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Pele’s Soccer by James Kelly.

North American artwork. Published by Atari in 1980 for the North American Atari VCS market.

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>Adding to the sports star’s legacy of achivements would be his likeness on James Kelly’s cover art being the world’s first celebrity depiction.


Parappa and Rapper (パラッパラッパー) by Rodney Alan Greenblat.

North American artwork. Published by Sony in 1996 for the Japanese PS1 market.

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>“In 1994 I was hired by Sony Creative Products, a licensing company inside Sony Music Japan. I was visiting their Tokyo office, and designing cute characters for printed products, clothing and toys. I designed a bored brown bear named PJ Berri, a cute precocious girl named Pony Pony, a blue fashionable cat named Katy Kat, and a super happy flower girl named Sunny Funny. Sony Creative was designing products with these fun characters.

Little did I know in another Sony office, Matsaya Matsuura, a well know pop musician was developing a game for a brand new game platform called Playstation. He was already a fan of my artwork, and when he found out I was already working for Sony, he asked the people at Sony Creative Products if I would design the characters and world for his game.

Of course I said yes. When I went to meet Matsuura’s team, they had already made a crude animation demo of the rap-music-simon-says-game using my characters from my 1993 CD-ROM Dazzeloids. Matsuura’s animation people loved the flatness of my work, and thought of creating flat characters who move around in a 3D world.

I returned to New York and set about making sketches for the characters and world. I got word from Sony Creative that they wanted to put my colorful funky PJ, Katy, and Sunny characters in the game. Matsuura wanted the main character to be an upbeat, lovable slightly naive dog. I made several sketches and Sony Creative chose a dog with a pointed cap. Matsuura liked it too, and he had come up with a name for the game: Parappa The Rapper. “Parappa” is some kind of play on Japanese words that means “paper thin”. So Parappa was born.” Rodney Greenblat via


Power DoLLs 5 (パワードール5) by Yoshiyuki Takani.

Japanese artwork. Published by Kogado Studio in 2002 for the Japanese Windows market.

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Punisher, The by Mark Stutzman.

North American artwork. Published by MicroProse in 1990 for the North American DOS market.

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Pablo Uchida.  Japanese box artist in 2016.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Definitive Experience | Konami | 2016.  

Romancing of the Three Kingdoms: XIII | Koei Tecmo Games| 2016.

Paul Hanson.  North American box artist from 1978-1979.

BASIC Computer Game | Creative Computing Software | 1978.

More BASIC Computer Games | Creative Computing Software | 1978.

Paul Kidby.  English box artist from 1991-1994.

Benefactor | Psygnosis | 1994.

Corporation | Virgin Games | 1991 | NA ver.

Prince of Persia | Virgin Games | 1992 | EU/ NA Game Boy ver.  

Second Samurai | Psygnosis | 1994 | Genesis ver.

Peter Andrew Jones.  English box artist from 1983-1992.

Even before his graduation from St. Martins School of Art in 1974 Peter had started to make a name for himself as a fine painter.  With the encouragement of a visiting lecturer he would secure his first commercial cover art job through Puffin Books and Penelope Farmer’s ‘A Castle of Bone’.

He would continue to provide commissioned artworks throughout the 70’s and into the 80’s for various sci-fi authors before turning his attentions to a different form of publishing; the role play book. His cover for Fighting Fantasy’s the ‘Warlock of Firetop Mountain’ would radically eschew cover art traditions and give the artist an even greater international presence due to the book’s success. It led to further role-play book commissions in the Lone Wolf and Kult series’. 

By the early 80’s Peter would start commissioning artworks for the fledgling UK video game scene with one of his first box arts being for Llamasoft’s space shooter Laser Zone (1983). It would be an early example of an artwork being reused as cover art, and helped pave the way for this European trend that lasted a decade longer. 

Alien Legion | Gainstar Software Ltd | 1989.

Artura | Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd | 1989.

Badlands | Domark Software | 1989.

Big 100, The | Wicked Software | 1992. (8)

Black Tiger | U.S Gold | 1989. (7)

Blood Money | Psygnosis | 1989 . (6)

Cytron | Psygnosis | 1992.

Dynasty Wars | U.S Gold | 1990.

Echeon | U.S Gold | 1988.

Falcon: The Renegade Lord | Virgin Games Ltd. | 1987.

F.O.F.T – Federation of Free Traders | Spotlight Software | 1989.

Gauntlet III: The Final Quest | U.S Gold | 1991. (4)

Interphase | Image Works | 1989.

Knights of the Crystallion | U.S Gold | 1990.

Kristal, The | Addictive Games Ltd. | 1989.

Laser Zone | Llamasoft | 1983. (5)

Last duel | U.S Gold | 1989.

Matrix Marauders | Psygnosis | 1990.

Omnicron Conspiracy | Star Software | 1990.  (3)

Shadowlands | Domark Software Ltd. | 1992

Spell Bound | Psyclapse | 1990. (2)

Stryx | Psygnosis | 1989. (1)

Targhan | Silmarils | 1989.

Venus the Fly Trap | Psygnosis | 1990.

Warlock of Firetop Mountain, The | Puffin Books Ltd. | 1984.

1989 saw the artist team up with software house Psygnosis where he would contribute such classic works as Blood Money (1989), Matrix Marauders (1990) and Spellbound (1990). It would also be a period of exclusive cover arts with fine examples including Artura (1989), Black Tiger (1989) and Knights of Crystallion (1990) sitting comfortably alongside previous works, along with stylistically lighter and more ‘arcadey’ looking box arts such as Last Duel (1989), Badlands and Venus the Flytrap (both 1990).  

As with so many box artists of his generation Peter would move on by the mid 90’s with his last video game cover being possibly either Cytron or Shadowlands (both 1992).

With inspiration from such varied, and eclectic artists, as Peter Blake, Salvador Dali and James Bama, as well as visually formative and inspiring media including 60’s Star Trek, Doctor Who and DC’s comics, Peter’s lasting passion for otherworldly landscapes and bold central figures clothed in dramatic colour is understandable. Box arts for Blood Money, Black Tiger, Omnicron Conspiracy (1990) and Targhan (1989) all brilliantly show these traits, and how suggestive and fitting both his commissioned and exclusive artworks are. 

All known box arts would certainly have been primarily created using his favoured media; hand-mixed oil paint, but with a penchant for mixing applications of oils and acrylics and using airbrush, a single box art could have been diversely produced.

Today Peter keeps his artwork alive through his published books and website where you can check out the history from one of Europe’s finest painters.  







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Peter Bollinger.  North American box artist from 1995-1997.

Baku Baku Animal | Sega | 1996 | NA ver.

Gex | Crystal Dynamics | 1995.

Top Gear Rally | Midway | 1997 | EU/ NA ver.

Peter Morawiec.  North American box artist in 1995.

Comic Zone | Sega | 1995 | EU/ NA ver.

Philippe Caza - see CAZA.

Philip Castle.  English box artist from 1986-1994.

Elite | Acornsoft | 1986.

Revs | Firebird | 1986.

Revs+ | Firebird | 1987.

Overlord | Virgin interactive | 1994.

Psygnosis/ Psyclapse.  Publisher years from 1986-1989.

Founders Jonathan Ellis, Ian Hetherington and David Lawson set about building a studio with the high level of quality their previous company, Imagine had become known for.  What they did with Psygnosis in 1985 until the mid - 00’s was to better Imagine’s achievements, and a contributing reason for this was the quality box arts published.   

Famed fantasy and sci-fi painter Roger Dean, known for his Yes album covers, was brought on board in 1985 and set about creating the company’s famous owl logo and Psygnosis lettering.  He would go on to design their first box art, the excellent Brataccas (1986), setting the tone and a high standard for future covers to reach. The artist also created the covers lettering, a practice he’d repeat on many of the publisher’s releases up until 1992.

Dean’s follow up Deep Space (1986) introduced the black box and thin coloured frame design used on the majority of releases until the early 90’s.  Roger would arguably hit his Psygnosis creative peak with the exceptional Shadow of the Beast (1989). The cover exuded a lofty level of craftsmanship quite unseen at that time in Europe.  Psygnosis realizing that they were on to something special with the Beast released it in large panoramic deluxe box. Not only would it show off Roger’s work to its fullest, but it also provided the extra space needed for the much sought-after Dean designed Beast T-shirt.  A few other games saw the big box release, notably Shadow of the Beast II, Awesome and Orbitus.

>Psygnosis box art catelogue 1986-1989.

Baal | Psyclapse | 1988 | by Melvyn Grant. (1)

Ballistix | Psyclapse | 1989 | by Melvyn Grant. (5)

Barbarian | Psygnosis | 1987 | by Roger Dean. (6)

Blood Money | Psygnosis | 1989 | by Peter Andrew Jones. (2)

Brataccas | Psygnosis |1986 | by Roger Dean. (8)

Captain Fizz Meets the Blaster-Trons | Psyclapse | 1988 | by Melvyn Grant.

Chrono Quest | Psygnosis | 1988 | by Roger Dean.

Deep Space | Psygnosis | 1986 | by Roger Dean.

Menace | Psyclapse | 1988 | by Ian Craig. (7)

Nevermind | Psyclapse | 1989 | by Ian Craig

Obliterator | Psygnosis | 1988 | by Roger Dean.

Shadow of the Beast | Psygnosis | 1989 | by Roger Dean. (4)

Stryx | Psygnosis | 1989 | by Peter Andrew Jones. (3)

Terrorpods | Psygnosis | 1987 | Roger Dean & Tim White.

By 1988 Psygnosis’ successes meant their publisher output had increased. One can only imagine the time it took Roger to complete his artworks meant bringing other artists onboard was necessary.  As well as commissioning new artworks, Psygnosis would also license pre-existing high fantasy art that loosely fitted in with the individual games art direction (a common industry practice at the time). Melvyn Grant’s Baal (1988) was the first re-commissioned artwork (it started life in childrens cereal packets as a free mask) and Menace (1988) by Ian Craig, the first non-Roger Dean original. Also on the artist roster by the end of the 1980’s was Peter Andrew Jones (Stryx and Blood Money, both 1989). Psygnosis by 1989 had now pushed the box art medium into new territories of excellence and shown the industry that quality art sold games.   









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