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

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Video game box art and artist history database

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BOX=ART copyright ©2013 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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Artist index: St - Su

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Star Gladiator 2: Nightmare of Bilstein by Bengus.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 1999 for the Japanese Dreamcast market.




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Star Ship by Cliff Spohn.

North American artwork. Published by Atari in 1977 for the North American Atari VCS market.




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Star Voyager by Michael Becker.

North American artwork. Published by Imagic in 1982 for the North American Atari 2600 market.




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Star Wars by Ralph Mcquarrie.

North American artwork. First published by Broderbund in 1989. For the European and North American markets.

C64 ver. pictured. Also available on: Amiga, Atari ST, C64, DOS, Mac.



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>One of only two known box arts by the influencial artist Ralph Mcquarrie (the other being for the classic Atari 2600 game Vanguard).  

It would not only be used be used for the US release of Star Wars (the EU equivelant illustrated by Steinar Lund) but also for the European exclusive Star Wars Trilogy pack.

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Star Wars: Rogue Squadron by Greg Winters.

North American artwork. Published by LucasArts in 1998 for the European and North American markets.

N64 ver. pictured. Also available on: Windows.  



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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Published by Parker Brothers in 1982 for the North American market.  

Atari VCS ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Intellivision.




>The very first Star Wars game would pass over 1977’s ‘A New Hope’ in favour of the more recent ‘Emipre Strikes Back’. Compared to later series box arts Empire is a rather artistically simple affair that focuses on the games main setting, the battle of Hoth.

The art direction is very much inline with other Parker Brother covers from the early 1980’s, as is the imposing silver border and bold type.  

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Star Wars : The Empire Strikes Back.

Published by Ubisoft Entertainment in 1992 for the European and North American Game Boy markets.




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>This artwork was originally used as the cover art for 1980 LP, ‘The Story of the Empire Strikes Back’, itself taken from a pool of conceptual artworks from the 1980 film.

>Pictures from the top - Original box art and The Story of the Empire Strikes Back LP.

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Stryx by Peter Andrew Jones.

English artwork. Published by Psygnosis in 1989 for the European and North American markets.  

Atari ST ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Amiga.




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>Peter Andrew Jone’s Stryx would carry on the Psygnosis/ Psyclapse tradition of using already completed artsworks and re-commissioning them.  Originally created in 1970, Stryx was classic sci-fi pulp complete with diabolic robot and death rays: something straight out of 50’s cinema.  

As with many of Peter’s earlier box arts, such as Laser Zone, Blood Money and Alien Legion, they originally found life on the cover of a 70’s novel.  So far Stryx can not be found published elsewhere but it is highly unlikely it went unused.

The lettering is most definitely by Roger Dean.

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Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition (ストリートファイター2ダッシュ) by Shoei (Shoei Okano).

Japanese artwork. First published by Capcom in 1993 for the European and Japanese markets.

Mega Drive ver. pictured. Also available on: FM Towns, PC Engine, X68000.



>The debut Street Fighter box art from artist Shoei and his only internationally used Street Fighter cover. It would also be the first Japanese Street Fighter box art to be used in the European region.

The artwork was a part of Capcom’s arcade promotional material and interestingly had eyes painted for M. Bison originally - only for them to be removed as it was felt that they were too imposing and detracted the viewers attention from Ryu.

The America’s would again use artist Mick McGinty for the Genesis and Master System version. It paid no relation to Shoei’s.

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Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (ストリートファイターⅡ) by Mick McGinty.

North American artwork. Published by Capcom in 1992 for the European and North American markets.  

Amiga ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Atari ST, C64, DOS, Game Boy Advanec, SNES, ZX Spectrum.




>Debut western Street Fighter II series box art. Artist Mick McGinty’s, The World Warriors would be used on all home computer and console releases bar the Japanese Super Famicom version (the only Japanese release of the game).

The artists western portrayal of original artist Akiman’s Japanese characters would polorize Capcom of America, with some believing that Akiman’s box art should have prevaled State side. Ultimately it was decided against as not being suited enough to American tastes, in a time when Japanese art was not yet accepted as it is today.

The box art was designed using McGinty’s favored media of the time, air brush.

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Street Fighter Zero (ストリートファイター ゼロ) by Dai-Chan.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 1996 for the Japanese market.

Saturn ver. pictured. Also available on: PS1.  



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Streets of Rage (ベア・ナックル 怒りの鉄拳) by Greg Winters.

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

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



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Street Fighter III: W Impact by Kinu Nishimura.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 1999 for the Japanese Dreamcast market.




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Strider (ストライダー飛竜) by Shinichi Yoshimoto.

Published by Capcom in 1992 for the Japanese market.

X68000 ver. pictured. Also available on: PC Engine.  



>“Despite it’s massive cult popularity, there’s surprisingly little art for Strider. This illustration (pictured) was lost for a long time, but we managed to find it for this book (Capcom Illustrations: GAMEST MooK Vol.17). It was drawn by the creator of Strider himself, Shinichi Yoshimoto. This was also Capcom’s first promotional poster to use a horizontal layout.” Shoei - Capcom creative head.

>Pictures from top - orginal box art and promotional poster.

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Strider 2 (ストライダー飛竜1&2) by HaruMaru.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 2000 for the Japanese PS1 market.



>“Strider 2 came 10 years after the first game, and perhaps because of the pressure of living up to the prequel, the artist (Harumaru) really fretted over the pose and layout of this illustration. It has a lot of dynamic movement overall, but there are some problems with the composition. If only he’d had a little more time…” Shoei in Capcom Illustrations: GAMEST MooK Vol.17.

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Street Fighter II (ストリートファイターⅡ) by Akiman (Akira Yasuda).

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 1992 for the Super Famicom market.




>The debut Street Fighter II series box art. Designed by lead designer Akira “Akiman” Yasuda who would also be responsible for the in-game character art.

The box art was the same used for the previous years arcade promotional artwork, and was exclusive to Japan and the Super Famicom - much to the annoyance of some at Capcom of America who believed Akiman’s character art would have resonated with North American’s.

Akiman’s characterisation would be the basis for all other iterations of the ‘World Warriors’ over the coming years.

The artist would reminise in Capcom Illustrations: GAMEST MooK Vol.17 the following, “I began painting this over my New Year’s vacation in my rural hometown (Hokkaido!). For some reason, I couldn’t find much time to work on it at our offices. My overall concept for this poster was “Street Fighter: THE ULTIMATE EDITION!” When the designers started creating the characters for Street Fighter II, I had a presentiment that this was going to be an amazing game; I wanted my poster to live up to the same quality, and I was very enthusiastic about it. So enthusiastic I put that planet in the background! I find it kind of charming.”


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Super Aleste (スーパーアレスタ) by Naoyuki Kato.

Japanese artwork. Published by Toho Co. in 1992 for the Japanese Super Famicom market.




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Super Breakout by Cliff Spohn.

North American artwork. Published by Atari in 1981 for the global market.

Atari 2600 ver. pictured. Also available on: Atari 2800.  



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Super Double Dragon (Return of Double Dragon) Greg Winters.

North American artwork. Published by Tradewest Inc. in 1992 for the European and North American SNES markets.



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Super Mario 64 (スーパーマリオ64) by Yusuke Nakano.

Japanese artwork. Published by Nintendo globally in 1996 for the N64 market.  




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>This cover would be the first in Super Mario series to use CG art and also to be designed by Nakano.  Both computer art and Yusuke have been linked to Mario cover arts ever since.

The character art and background scenery deliberately emphasize depth and the third dimension, both of which would help revolutionise the game.

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Super Mario Bros. (スーパーマリオブラザーズ) by Shigeru Miyamoto.

Japanese artwork. First published by Nintendo in 1985 for the Japanese Fmaicom market.  

Famicom ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Disk System.




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>Debut box art for the Super Mario series and the only to designed by creator Shigeru Miyamoto.

The box art would introduce stable series characters, Toad, Bowser, Koopers, Goombas and Peach.

The character heavy art design would be replicated for both Famicom sequals - penned by Yoiche Kotabe - and would also influence the original Game Boy Mario covers.  Further influencing can be found in Rock Man’s Famicom box arts.

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Super Mario Bros. 3 (スーパーマリオブラザーズ3) by Yoichi Kotabe and GIRVIN.

JPN/ NA artwork. Published by Nintendo in 1990 for the European and North American NES markets.  





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>For gamers in 1990 this cover was hard to ignore with the heavy promotion Nintendo put behind it.  It is arguably, and much like its predecesor, an Iconic example of 90’s box art and characterisation.  

The Mario art would be lifted from the Japanese version - a cover too chaotic of western taste - and it would be design studio GIRVIN who brilliantly emblazened the plumber against bright yellow and applied the logo.

The cover would cap off Mario’s three NES efforts, all of which have stood the test of time.

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Super Mario USA (スーパーマリオUS) by Yoichi Kotabe.

Japanese artwork. Published by Nintendo in 1992 for the Japanese Famicom market.  





>The well-documented history of Super Mario Bros 2 had Nintendo of Japan (NOJ) take its abandoned attempt for Mario’s first sequel and fashion Fuji TV’s then mascots into it calling it Yume Kōjō: Dokidoki Panic (1987).

These changes were made only for Nintendo of America to request it be made into Super Mario Bros 2 (1988) after the Japanese release of that game (The Lost Levels) was deemed too challenging. Subsequently, after the game’s success in the West, it was brought back to Japan as Super Mario USA (1992).

Interestingly, NOJ would take Dokidoki Panic’s original box art, with character art by Tadashi Sugiyama and an unknown Fuji designer, redraw the piece, so it would be more in line with Mario’s previous box arts, and replace Fuji’s characters with Yoichi Kotabe’s Mario designs.  

Being of Mario heritage Dokidoki Panic and Mario USA share obvious design traits with other Famicom Mario cover arts such as bold colouring, distinctive line work and chaotic characterisation (see Super Mario Bros 1 and 3 on the Famicom) while the box layout is vertically designed instead of horizontally, as found on the vast majority of Famicom releases.  

To finish, its pink border (which also extends to the game’s cart) is a stark reminder of how daringly colourful Japanese box art can be.

>Pictured from top - Original box art and Doki Doki Panic.

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Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (スーパーマリオブラザーズデラックス) by Yoichi Kotabe.

Japanese artwork. Published by Nintendo in 1999 for the European and North American Game Boy Color markets.




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>Possibly the final Super Mario series box art by artist Yoichi Kotabe.

The game would not see a physical release in Japan making it the only game in the series to miss out on a Japanese box art.

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Super Metroid (スーパーメトロイド).

Published by Nintendo in 1994 for the the Japanese Super Famicom market.




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>At first glance it looks as though the Samus character art on the Super Famicom cover was superimposed onto a new background for the SNES release.  The original SNES sketch (now likely drawn by a North Amercan artist) shows that the cover was actually designed from the ground up with the SNES case’s horizontal dimensions taken into account.  

The Super Famicom cover would do well in conveying the game’s grand scope and it’s achingly brutal isolation.

>Pictures from top - Super Famicom box art, original Super Famicom artwork, SNES box art and SNES sketch.   

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Stephanie M. B. Czech.  North American box artist from 1982-1983.

Controller | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1982.

Knockout | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1982

Legionnaire | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1982.

Roadracer Brawler | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1982.

Paris in Danger | The Avalon Hill Game Company | 1983.




Stephen Bliss.  English box artist.

Grand Theft Auto III | Rockstar Games | 2001 | EU ver.





Star Wars - film canon.  Video game series from 1982-2016.

Lego Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens | Warner Bros | 2016.

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga | LucasArts | 2007.

Lego Star Wars: The Video Game | Eidos interactive | 2005.

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy | LucasArts | 2006.

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars | LucasArts | 2011.

Star Wars | Broderbund | 1989 | NA ver. | by Ralph Mcquarrie.

Star Wars | Domark | 1987 | EU ver. | by Steinar Lund.

Star Wars | JVC Musical Industries | 1991 | NES ver. | by John Berkey.

Star Wars | Namco | 1987 | Famicom ver.

Star Wars | U. S. Gold | 1993 | EU Game Gear ver. | by John Berkey.

Star Wars Arcade | Sega | 1994.

Star Wars: Attack on the Death Star | Victor Musical Industries | 1991.

Star Wars: Clone Wars | LucasArts | 2002.

Star Wars: Episode I - Battle for Naboo | LucasArts | 2000 | by Clint Young.

Star Wars: Episode I - Jedi Power Battles | LucasArts | 2000 | Dreamcast ver.

Star Wars: Episode I - Jedi Power Battles | LucasArts | 2001 | Game Boy Advance ver.

Star Wars: Episode I - Obi Wan’s Adventures | THQ | 2000.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace | LucasArts | 1999 | by Drew Struzan.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones | THQ | 2002.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith | LucasArts | 2005.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan | LucasArts | 2001.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi | Domark | 1988 | EU Amiga ver. | by Steinar Lund.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - Death Star Battle | Parker Brothers | 1983 | by John Berkey.

Star Wars: The Arcade Game | Parker Brothers | 1983.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back | Domark | 1988 | EU Amiga ver.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back | JVC Musical Industries | 1992 | NES ver. | by John Berkey.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back | Parker Brothers | 1982.

Super the Empire Strikes Back | JVC Musical Industries | 1993 | by Greg Winters.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back | Ubisoft | 1992 | Game Boy ver.

Super Return of the Jedi | JVC Musical Industries | 1994 | by Kazuhiko Sano.

Super Star Wars | JVC Musical Industries | 1992 | by Tom Chantrell.





Steinar Lund.  Norwegian/ English box artist from 1981-1995.

After studying Interior Design at Kingston college, Steinar would decide on a career as a painter and start to build his portfolio.  Come the early 1980’s he would get his break into the video game industry by freelancing for early Sinclair studio Quicksilva.

Founder’s Nick Lambert and Jon Hollis would take on the aspiring box artist after Steinar took it upon himself to supply them examples of art roughs. It led to him being commissioned for game QS Defenda (1981) and a claim to creating the - thus far known - earliest piece of coloured art to adorn a European video game. He would carry on working with Quicksilva alongside artist’s David John Rowe and Rich Shenfield on titles such as QS Asteroids (1981), Xadom and Smugglers Cove (both 1983) before branching out and freelancing for Melbourne House.  But it would be upon meeting with famed designer Jeff Minter and working on Llamasoft’s cover arts that the embodiment of Steinar’s art style, along with his penchant for vivid and surreal characterisation would be truly revealed.





His box arts for cult classics such as Ancipital, Attack of the Mutant Camels (both 1984) and Batalyx (1985) would epitomise his early work: intoxicatingly colourful, abstract and fun.  They would also exemplify the artist’s own inspiration found in the works of Salvador Dali, Roger Dean and Maxfield Parrish.

By the latter half of the 1980’s his cover arts had started to become deliberately richer and more detailed due to the dawn of 16-bit gaming (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS) and the demand for a level of artistry that complemented the finer graphics the games now offered. Cover arts such Armageddon Man, Hunt for the Red October (both 1987) and, one of his personal favourites, Return of the Jedi (1988) would all display this new level of detail that also benefited from the larger boxes now commonly used. This period furthermore produced The Last Ninja (1987). The box art would be instantly recognisable to 80’s gamers, and ended up as one of Steinar’s most well known due to the game’s success. It would inspire the cover art designs for the two European sequels, and be used again for the Amiga CD32 release of The Last Ninja 3 (1994).

Ending the decade Steinar teamed up with Microprose and his versatility would again be flexed with M1 Tank Platoon (1989).  Its high level of detail, historic accuracy and a near photo finish look would lead the artist on to other similar Microprose projects such as Gunship (1989), Team Yankee (1990) and F-15 Strike Eagle II (1991) and define his later box art career.

His final cover art would be sci-fi epic Space Bucks (1995), which unfortunately would be heavily redesigned from the original (a first for the artist). As with many box artists of his generation, Steinar left the industry by the mid-90’s when CG art started to wrestle out traditional art.

Steinar’s preferred art media throughout his box art career was airbrushed inks and acrylics. Both would prove sturdy and gave him the intense colours that defined his cover arts.

Presently Steinar is freelancing as an illustrator while also developing his photography and video skills. He’s a published musician, and his many works and further details can be found HERE.

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3D Pool  | Firebird Software | 1989.  

Alcatraz | Inforgrames Europe SA | 1990.  

Ancipital | Llamasoft | 1984.  

ARAC | Addictive Games Ltd | 1986.  

APB | Domark | 1989.  

Apprentice | Rainbow Arts Software GmbH | 1990.  

Armageddon Man | Martech Games Ltd | 1987.  

Ashes of Empire | Mirage Tech Ltd | 1992.  

Attack of the Mutant Camels | Llamasoft | 1984.  

Backpackers Guide to the universe Part 1 | Fantasy Software | 1984.  

Batalyx | Llamasoft | 1985.  

Battle of the Planets | Mikro-Gen Ltd | 1985.  

Blood ‘n’ Gutz | Quicksilva | 1984.  

Boulderdash | Mirrorsoft Ltd | 1984.  

Castle of Terror | Melbourne House | 1985.  

Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Trainer 2.0 | Electronic Arts | 1990.  

Classic Adventure | Melbourne House | 1982.  

Codename MAT 2 | Domark | 1985.  

Cop Out | Mikro-Gen Ltd | 1986.  

Dark Side | Incentive Software | 1988.  

Dark Tower | Melboure House | 1984.  

Dragons Bane | Quicksilva | 1983.  

Driller | Incentive Software | 1988.

Dynamite Dan II | Mirrorsoft | 1985.  

F-15 Strike Eagle II | Microprose | 1991.  

Fighting Warrior | Melboure House | 1985.  

Fireblaster | Prism Leisure Corp | 1988.  

Frost Byte | Mikro-Gen Ltd | 1986.   

Gatecrasher | Quicksilva | 1984.  

Gyroscope | Melboure House | 1985.  

Hellfire Attack | Martech Games Ltd | 1988.  

Hunt for the Red October | Grandslam Entertainments Ltd | 1987.  

IBall | Firebird | 1987.  

Idris Alpha | Hewson Consultants | 1986.  

Ian Flemming’s James Bond 007 in Live and Let Die: The Computer Game | Domark | 1988

Jahangir Khan Championship Squash World | Krisalis Software Ltd | 1986.  

Knuckle Busters | Melbourne House | 1986.  

Kwah! | Melbourne House | 1986.  

Last Ninja, The | System 3 | 1987.  

Lords of Chaos | Blade Software | 1990.  

M1 Tank Platoon | Microprose | 1989.  

Manchester United | Krisalis Software Ltd | 1991.  

Mad Doctor | Sparkers  | 1985.  

Mad Professor Moriati |  | 1990.  

Mama Llama | Llamasoft | 1984.  

Mega Apocalypse | Marteck Games Ltd | 1987.  

Mermaid Madness | Electric Dreams Software | 1986.  

Moon Strike | Mirrorsoft | 1987.  

Nigel Mansell’s Grand Prix |  | 1987.  

Orbix: The Terrorball | Streetwise | 1986.  

Raid 2000 | Mirrorsoft | 1986.  

Redhawk | Melbourne House | 1986.  

Return of the Jedi | Domark | 1988.

Rex | Martech Games Ltd | 1988.  

Riddlers Den | Electric dreams Software | 1985.  

R.I.S.K | The Edge | 1988.

Rules of Engagement 2 | Impressions Games | 1993.  

Pac-Mania | Grandslam Entertainments Ltd | 1988.  

Pacific Islands | Empire software | 1992.  

Phantom Fighter | Martech Games Ltd | 1988.  

QS Asteroids | Quicksilva | 1981.  

QS Defenda | Quicksilva | 1981.  

QS Invaders | Quicksilva | 1981.  

Sabre Team | Krisalis software House | 1992.  

Shadoworlds | Krisalis software House | 1992.  

Shoot-Out | Martech Games Ltd | 1988.  

Smugglers Cove | Quicksilva | 1983.  

Soul Crystal | Starbyte Software | 1992.  

Space Bucks | Sierra On-Line | 1996.  

Space Harrier II | Grandslam Entertainments Ltd | 1990.  

Stainless Steel | Mikro-Gen Ltd | 1986.  

Star Wars  | Domark | 1988.  

Stunt Track Racer | Microstyle | 1989.  

Team Yankee | Empire Software | 1990 | UK ver.  

Terramex | Grandslam Entertainments Ltd | 1987.  

Terror of the Deep | Mirrorsoft Ltd | 1986.  

Thunderbirds | Grandslam Entertainments Ltd | 1989.  

Total Eclipse | incentive Software | 1988.  

Tube, The | Quicksilva | 1987.  

Twilight: 2000 | Empire Sotftware | 1992.  

Uridium 2 | Renegade Software | 1993.  

Vikings: Fields of Conquest | Krisalis Software | 1992.  

Vindicators | Domark | 1989.  

Viva Vic! | Llamasoft | 1986.  

Winzer | Starbyte Software | 1991.  

Xadom | Quicksilva | 1983.  

Xiphos | Electronic Zoo | 1990.  

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Steve Chorney.  North American box artist from 1983-2005.

Chess | Texas Instruments | 1983 | TI-99/4A ver.

Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard | Atari | 2005.

Football | Texas Instruments | 1983 | TI-99/4A ver.

Sid Meier’s Civilisation III: Play the World | Infogrames | 2002.




Steve Erwin.  North American box artist in 1993.

Batman Returns | Konami | 1993 | JPN ver.






Steve Hendricks.  North American box artist from 1980-1981.

Defender | Atari | 1981.

Haunted House | Atari | 1981.

Night Driver | Atari | 1980.

Othello | Atari | 1980.

Steeplechase | Atari | 1980.

Video Checkers | Atari | 1980.

Warlords | Atari | 1981.





Steve Huston.  North American box artist from 1986-1989.

Body Slam! Super Pro Wrestling | INTV Corp | 1988.

Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess | Infogrames | 1989 | NA ver.

Drakkhen | Infogrames | 1989 | NA ver.

Mountain Madness: Super Pro Skiing | INTV Corp | 1988.

Super Pro Decathlon | INTV Corp | 1988.

Super Pro Football | INTV Corp | 1986.  



Steve Peringer.  North American box artist from 1989-1994.

Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle | Kemco | 1989.

Final Fantasy Legend, The | Squaresoft | 1990 | NA ver.

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest | Squaresoft | 1992 | EU/ NA ver.

Leisure Suit Larry Greatest Hits and Misses | Sierra On-line | 1994.

Shadowgate | Kemco | 1989 | NA ver.

Super R-Type | Irem Amerian Corp | 1991 | NA ver.


Steve Purcell.  North American box artist from 1988-2011.

After studying at the California College of arts and crafts Steve would freelance for a number of years as a jobbing artist and as a penciller for Marvel comics. This period would be the genesis of Steve’s most enduing characters: Sam & Max.

LucasFilm Game’s artist Ken Macklin (Manic Mansion) would introduce his art director, Gary Winnick to the newly released Sam & Max comic strip, and on the strength of it Steve was hired in 1988 as an adventure game artist and animator. His first task would be the box art for Zak Mckracken and the Alien Mindbenders (1988) before working on in-game pixel art for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

It would be his work on The Secret of Monkey Island (1990), including the games box art, that would expose his art at an international level.  Compared to the familiar territory of Zak’s cartooned style, Monkey’s more painterly realism in opaque watercolours would creatively stretch the artist.


The following year’s sequel Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991) Steve would credit as a more successful box art from a design perspective. It’s character art was created by taking photos of his girlfriend modelling in pirate attire whilst being dramatically lit. LeChuck’s Revenge would be painted in oils over the course of a month, and as with the first game, Steve would be responsible for the conceptual art and animation.

What followed would surprise Steve; LucasArts approached him on using the Sam & Max licence.  Sam & Max: Hit the Road was released in 1993 and would be a landmark game in character development, humour and design.  Steve would be responsible at every level of the games creation including the duo’s cover art.

Steve has said that he always found painting box art fun because of the opportunity it gave to flesh out the pixelated characters on screen, defining their look and world in paint over computer art. This traditional view point could also go some way in explaining why he created the box art for Telltale’s Tales of Monkey Island (2009) using acrylics at a time when most artists favoured digital art (he has always favoured traditional media even when creating comic strips).

Leaving LucasArts in 1996 would free Steve to pursue a Sam & Max animated series and also gave him the opportunity to freelance for other developers and their characters including Sega’s ToeJam and Earl.

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Defenders of Dynatron City | JVC Musical Industries, Inc. | 1992.

Herc’s Adventure | LucasArts | 1997.

Monkey Island II: LeChuck’s Revenge | LucasArts | 1991.

Mortimer and the Riddles of the Medallion | LucasArts | 1997.

Pipe Dream | Lucasfilms Games | 1989 | EU/ NA ver.  

Sam & Max: Hit the Road | LucasArts | 1993.

Secret of Monkey Island, The | LucasFilm Games | 1990.

Tales of Monkey Island | LucasArts | 2009.

Tales of Monkey Island: Premium Edition | Lace Mamba Global | 2011.

Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders | Lucasfilms Games | 1988 | EU/ NA ver.  





Street Fighter (main series).  Capcom video game series from 1988-2018.

Fighting Street | Hudson Soft | 1988 | by Bengus. (6)

Street Fighter | GO! Media Holdings | 1988 | EU ver.

Street Fighter | Capcom USA | 1988 | NA ver | by Maureen Kringen.

Street Fighter: 30th Anniversary Collection | Capcom | 2018 | by Shinkiro.

Street Fighter: Anniversary Collection | Capcom | 2004.

Street Fighter II | Capcom | 1992 | JPN ver | by Akiman. (1)

Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition | Capcom | 1993 | EU/ JPN ver by Shoei.

Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition | Capcom | 1993 | NA ver | by Mick McGinty.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior | Capcom | 1992 | EU/ NA ver | by Mick McGinty.

Street fighter II Turbo | Capcom | 1993 | EU/ NA ver | by Mick McGinty. (4)

Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting | Capcom | 1993 | JPN ver | by Kinu Nishimura.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike | Capcom | 2000 | EU/ NA ver | Dreamcast ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Street fighter III: 3rd Strike | Capcom | 2000 | JPN ver | Dreamcast ver | by Daigo Ikeno. (5)

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike | Capcom | 2004 | PS2 ver | by Akiman.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - Limited Edition | Capcom | 2004 | PS2 ver | by Akiman.

Street Fighter III: Double Impact | Capcom | 2000.

Street Fighter III: W Impact | Capcom | 1999 | by Kinu Nishimura.



Street Fighter IV | Capcom | 2009 | by Daigo Ikeno.

Street Fighter IV 3D Edition | Capcom | 2011 | EU/ NA ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Street Fighter IV 3D Edition | Capcom | 2011 | JPN ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Street Fighter IV: Collectors Edition | Capcom | 2009 | by Daigo Ikeno.

Street Fighter V | Capcom | 2016 | JPN ver.

Street Fighter V | Capcom | 2016 | EU/ NA ver.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition | Capcom | 2018.

Street Fighter V: Special Shoryuken Edition | Capcom | 2016 | by Shinkiro.

Street Fighter V: Vital Box | Capcom | 2016 | by Bengus.

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers | Capcom | 1994 | Super Famicom ver | by Muraoka Satoshi.

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers | Capcom | 1994 | EU/ NA ver | by Mick McGinty.

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers | Capcom | 1994 | X68000 ver | by Akiman.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo | Capcom | 1995 | NA DOS ver.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo | Capcom | 1996 | EU/ NA Amiga/ CD32 ver.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival | Capcom | EU/ NA ver | by Edayan. (2)

Super Street Fighter II Turbo X | Capcom | 1994 | NA ver | by Bengus.

Super Street Fighter II X | Capcom | 1994 | JPN ver | by Kinu Nishimura.

Super Street Fighter II X: For Matching Services | Capcom | 2000 | by Kinu Nishimura. (7)

Super Street Fighter II X Revival | Capcom | JPN ver | by Edayan.

Super Street Fighter IV | Capcom | 2010 | EU/ JPN ver | by Daigo Ikeno. (8)

Super Street Fighter IV | Capcom | 2010 | NA ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition | Capcom | 2011 | EU/ NA ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition | Capcom | 2011 | JPN ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Super Street Fighter IV: Ultra | Capcom | 2014 | EU/ NA ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Super Street Fighter IV: Ultra | Capcom | 2014 | JPN ver | by Daigo Ikeno.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers | Capcom | 2017 | by Shinkiro. (3)




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Susan Jaekel.  North American box artist from 1977-1980.

Susan would break into the video game industry through fellow Atari artist - and later husband - Rick Guidice, joining the debuting team of illustrators in 1977 when the VCS shipped.  Her first cover, Basic Maths, would showcase a more stylised, cartooned look compared to the other launch box arts, with an appeal towards Atari’s younger gamers (her background was children’s book work). She would work with the company until 1980, producing the popular and enduring Adventure cover.

All of her cover arts were designed using Dr. Martin’s dyes on illustration board.

Susan is at present the earliest know female box artist.

3-D Tic-Tac-Toe | Atari | 1980.

Adventure | Atari | 1980.

Basic Math (Fun With Numbers) | Atari | 1977.

Circus Atari | Atari | 1980.

Hangman | Atari | 1978.

Hunt and Score (Concentration) | Atari | 1978.




Susan Rowe.  English box artist from 1983-1985.

Joining video game publisher Quicksilva and its growing list of artists in 1981, Susan would become one of the earliest box artists in Europe - and possibly the first female.  

Not only would her love for the fantastical and for Wizards be obvious from her cover art output but also her artistic taste for the whimsical. Created using watercolour her cover arts would standout from the industries then reliance on air-brushed compositions.

She is also the wife of David John Rowe who was one of the period’s high profile box artists.

Castle of Jasoom | Quicksilva | 1984.

Dungeons of BA | Accelerated Software | 1984.

Fairlight II | The Edge | 1986.

Mighty Magus | Quicksilva | 1985.

Velnor’s Lair | Quicksilva | 1983.

Wizard, The | Quicksilva | 1983.

Wizardry | The Edge | 1985.



Susumu Matsushita.  Japanese box artist from 1983-2017.

Growing up in Tokyo and training in industrial design, Susumu would get his break in the late 1970’s producing cover arts for Japan’s Popeye and Young Jump magazines. The latter publication’s #1 issue would sport Susumu’s first popular character, Mac Bear.  Mac’s look would be heavily influenced by the American comics Susumu grew up with, and helped cement the artist’s reputation for illustrating colourful, anthropomorphic animal characters. With Tokyo Disneyland opening in 1983, the Japanese would fall in love with these Americanised animal characters and Susumu’s career would go from strength to strength.

The earliest known box art is Computer Othello (1983) for Sony’s HIT BIT range on the MSX platform.  It would portray a busty, vixen with overtly large and engrossing eyes, a somewhat enduring character trademark of the artist. The MSX platform’s popularity would see many machines produced across Europe and Susumu’s covers would make it west intact.  It is thus some of the earliest – if not the earliest – Japanese box art released in Europe, and Susumu would certainly become the first high profile box artist to have art used overseas.

To coincide with the release of Nintendo‘s Famicom in 1986 Japan’s first and still most revered gaming magazine Famitsu would be published in August of that year. Susumu would become the main cover artist from issue #3 and from issue #7 he would create one of Japan’s most recognisable characters Necky the fox, the magazine’s mascot.  Necky’s popularity would establish the artist as one of Japan’s premier character designers.


Adventure Island | Hudson | 1986.

Adventure Island | Hudson | 1988.

Adventure Island: Part II | Hudson | 1991. (2)

Adventure Island III | Hudson | 1992.

Adventure Island IV | Hudson | 1994.

Alibaba and the 40 Thieves | Sony | 1984.

Backgammon | Sony | 1984.

Best Play Baseball, The | ASCII Corp. | 1988.

Best Play Baseball II, The | ASCII Corp. | 1990.

Best Play Baseball ‘90, The | ASCII Corp. | 1990.

Best Play Baseball Special, The | ASCII Corp. | 1988.

Chess | Sony | 1984.

Computer Othello | Sony | 1983. (5)

Derby Stallion II | ASCII Corp. | 1994.

Derby Stallion III | ASCII Corp. | 1990.

Derby Stallion ‘96 | ASCII Corp. | 1996. (4)

Derby Stallion: Best Race | ASCII Corp. | 1991.

Derby Stallion: National Edition | ASCII Corp. | 1992.

Down the World: Mervil’s Ambition | ASCII Corp. | 1994.

Elfaria | Huson Soft | 1993. (3)

Elfaria II | Huson Soft | 1995.

Game ABC game Programming Master | Sony | 1984.

Ikinari Musician | Tokyo Shoseki Co. | 1987.

Maximo vs Army of Zin | Capcom | 2003 | JPN ver. (1)

Maximo vs Army of Zin | Capcom | 2004 | EU/ NA ver.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory | Capcom | 2001 | JPN ver.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory | Capcom | 2002 | EU/ NA ver

Monkey Magic | Sun Corp. | 1999.

Monkey Magic | Sun Corp | 2000.

Motor Toon Grand Prix | Sony | 1994.

Motor Toon Grand Prix | Sony | 1996 | NA ver.

Motor Toon Grand Prix II | Sony | 1996 | EU/ JPN ver. (8)

Navy Blue ‘90 | Use Corp. | 1990.

New Adventure Island | Hudson | 1992.

Puzzle Mate: Oekaki Mate | Compile Heart | 2008.

Puzzle Mate: Nampure Mate | Compile Heart | 2008.

Puzzle Mate: Crossword Mate | Compile Heart | 2008.

Shadows of Tusk | Hudson Soft | 1998. (6)

Super Adventure Island | Hudson | 1992.

Super Adventure Island II | Hudson | 1994.

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts | Capcom | 1991.

Tiny Barbarian DX | Starquail | 2017. (7)

Willy Wombat | Hudson Soft | 1997.

Wonder B-Cruise | SunSoft | 1999.






It would also be this year that he’d create the Susumu Matsushita Enterprises Company, bringing on board assistant artists to help with the demanding workload. 1986 also saw the artist design the cover for the first Adventure Island game.  It would be a wonderful explosion of characters, colour and chaos that would be replicated on not only all subsequent series covers but the majority of Matsushita designs.

The artist’s next big series’ would be the Japanese only Derby Stallion (1991) and Motor Toon Grandprix (1994).  More modern gamer through will probably remember the concept work Susumu did for Capcom’s Maximo series (2001-2004).  The art is darker than his usual work and would be used to portray the in-game characters also.  The artist would additionally be responsible for the game’s logo.

Well known as a traditional media artist, Susumu will normally sketch out a design in acrylic paint before applying oils by airbrush.  The process of designing a composition is a complex one of layering paint using delicate stencils so to achieve crisp lines.  Of greatest importance is the attention given to the characters expressions.

Outside of video game box art work the artist is well known for producing promotional characters for Japan’s Space World resort, character and logo designs for Japanese sporting teams, as well as his continuing work with Famitsu.

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Super Mario. Nintendo video game series from 1985-2017.

New Super Mario Bros. | Nintendo | 2006.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 | Nintendo | 2012. (7)

New Super Mario Bros. U | Nintendo | 2012.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii | Nintendo | 2009.

Super Mario 3D Land | Nintendo | 2011

Super Mario 3D World | Nintendo | 2013.

Super Mario 64 | Nintendo | 1996 | JPN ver | by Yusuke Nakano.

Super Mario 64 | Nintendo | 1996 | EU/ NA ver | by Yusuke Nakano.

Super Mario 64 DS | Nintendo | 2004 | EU/ NA ver.

Super Mario 64 DS | Nintendo | 2004 | JPN ver.

Super Mario Bros. | Nintendo | 1985 | Famicom ver | by Shigeru Miyamoto. (4)

Super Mario Bros. | Nintendo | 1985 | NES ver. (5)

Super Mario Bros. 2 | Nintendo | 1988 | by Shigeru Miyamoto and GIRVIN.

Super Mario Bros. 3 | Nintendo | 1988 | Famicom ver | by Yoichi Kotabe.

Super Mario Bros. 3 | Nintendo | 1990 | NES ver | by Yoichi Kotabe and GIRVIN. (1)












Super Mario Bros. Deluxe | Nintendo | 1999 | by Yoichi Kotabe. (2)

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels | Nintendo | 1986 | by Yoichi Kotabe.

Super Mario Galaxy | Nintendo | 2007. (6)

Super Mario Galaxy 2 | Nintendo | 2010.

Super Mario Land | Nintendo | 1989 | by Yoichi Kotabe. (8)

Super Mario Land 2 | Nintendo | 1992 | by Yoichi Kotabe.

Super Mario Odyssey | Nintendo | 2017.

Super Mario Sunshine | Nintendo | 2002.

Super Mario USA | Nintendo | 1992 | by Yoichi Kotabe.

Super Mario World | Nintendo | 1990 | Super Famicom ver | by Yoichi Kotabe.

Super Mario World | Nintendo | 1991 | SNES ver | by Yoichi Kotabe. (3)

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island | Nintendo | 1995 | SNES ver.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island | Nintendo | 1995 | Super Famicom ver.

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 | Nintendo | 1994 | by Yusuke Nakano.

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Super R-Type (スーパー・アールタイプ) by Steve Peringer.

North American artwork. Published by IREM American Corp in 1991 for the North American SNES market.



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Super Street Fighter II X: For Matching Service (スーパーストリートファイターIIX) by Kinu Nishimura.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 2000 for the Japanese Dreamcast market.  




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>Eschewing Street Fighters usual montage led box arts, Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge, for Matching Service would instead depict the ever present Ryu shadowed by the mysterious – although maybe not so by 2000 – Akuma.  

Meaning devil in Japanese, Akuma would poignantly be upturned alluding the demonic connection both characters are consumed by. The two hand drawn black and white sketches were originally used in 1994 as promotional material for the release of Super Street Fighter II X, and were composed by Capcom steward Kinu as part of a collection of sixteen character artworks.

Along with artist Bengus, who provided the box arts for the worldwide 3DO versions, Kinu’s sketches would portray a grittier take on Ryu and company. It ended up being an abstract, and unique, styalistic blip in an otherwise usually formulaic sea of bold and colourful Street Fighter cover arts.

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Super Street Fighter IV by Daigo Ikeno.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 2010 for the European and Japanese markets.

PS3 ver. pictured. Also available on: Xbox 360.  



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Super Star Wars by Tom Chantrell.

North American artwork. Published by JVC Musical Industries Inc. globally in 1992.  

SNES ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Game Boy, Super Famicom.




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>This box art would recommission Chantrell’s famous “Style C” one sheet poster for the original movie release in 1977.

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Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers by Muraoka Satoshi.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 1994 for the Japanese market.  

Super Famciom ver. pictured.  Also availble on: Mega Drive.




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>Capcom would break trends and use renowned manga artist Muraoka Satoshi instead of one of its in-house illustrators.

The box art is made up of character art used in the Street Fighter anime movie that was released shortly after, indicating some promotional tie between game and movie.

The European and North America version would again see artist Mick McGinty take the reigns producing his final (and weakest) Street Fighter box art.

Japanese home computers the Sharp X68000 and FM Towns would use manual art from Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition as box art (by Shoei).

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Super Street Fighter II X (スーパーストリートファイターIIX) by Kinu Nishimura.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 1994 for the Japanese 3DO market.  




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>Exclusively used for the Japanese 3DO market, the box arts montage style would would be at odds with usual Street Fighter cover arts, but all the stronger for it.

Drawn in pen and made up of a individual character artworks, the box art’s X would also add a styalised approch.

Kinu would get to reuse an artwork from the same session six years later with the limited release, Super Street Fighter II X: For Matching Service.

The North American release would use an artwork by Bengus and marks the only time a Japanese artwork adorned an American Street Fighter II game.

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Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (スーパーストリートファイターIIX リバイバル) by Edayan (Shinya Edaki).

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 2001 for the European and North American GBA markets.




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Super Valis IV (SUPER ヴァリス 赤き月の乙女) by Julie Bell.

North American artwork. Published by Atlus in 1993 for the North American SNES market.


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Superman by Curt Swan.

North American artwork. Published by Atari in 1979 for the European and North American Atari VCS markets.  





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>Atari would capitalise on the Hollywood phenomena, Superman: The Movie (1978), with Superman - the worlds first superhero video game.

Its box art would use comic art cut from the 1976, 300th Superman comic by DC artist Curt Swan.

It would mark the first time an artist outside of Atari’s in-house art team was used, and the first time a recommissioned artwork was licenced.

>Pictures from top - Original box art and 300th Superman comic.

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Strider.  Capcom video game series from 1989-2014.

Strider | Capcom | 1992 | JPN X68000 ver | by Shinichi Yoshimoto. (4)

Strider | Capcom USA | 1989 | NA NES ver | by Marc William Ericksen. (3)

Strider | Sega | 1990 | EU/ NA Mega Drive/ Genesis ver.

Strider | Sega | 1990 | JPN Mega Drive ver.

Strider | U.S.Gold | 1989 | EU C64 ver.




Strider 2 | Capcom | 1999 | JPN PS1 ver | by Harumaru. (2)

Strider 2 | Capcom | 2000 | EU/ NA PS1 ver | by Harumaru.

Strider II | U.S.Gold | 1990 | Amiga ver.

Strider 2: Limited Edition | Capcom | 2014 | JPN PS3 ver | by Ryuji Hugurashi.

Strider II: Strider Returns | U.S.Gold | 1992 | Mega Drive ver | by Julie Bell. (1)

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