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 © 2013-2019 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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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 and she is at present the earliest know female box artist.

3-D Tic-Tac-Toe | Atari | 1980 | Atari 2600/ VCS. (1)

Adventure | Atari | 1980 | Atari 2600/ VCS.

Basic Math (Fun With Numbers) | Atari | 1977 | Atari 2600/ VCS.

Circus Atari | Atari | 1980 | Atari 2600/ VCS.

Hangman | Atari | 1978 | Atari 2600/ VCS.

Hunt and Score (Concentration) | Atari | 1978 | Atari 2600/ VCS.




>Artist profile

>Box art catalogue

Susan Rowe.  English box artist from 1983-1985.


Castle of Jasoom | Quicksilva | 1984 | Commodore 64.

Dungeons of BA | Accelerated Software | 1984 | Commodore 64.

Fairlight II | The Edge | 1986 | Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, ZX Spectrum.

Mighty Magus | Quicksilva | 1985 | ZX Spectrum.

Velnor’s Lair | Quicksilva | 1983 | Commodore 64, Oric, ZX Spectrum. (1)

Wizard, The | Quicksilva | 1983 | BBC Micro.

Wizardry | The Edge | 1985 | Commodore 64.



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.

>Box art catalogue

>Artist profile

Susumu Matsushita.  Japanese box artist from 1983-2017.



Adventure Island | Hudson | 1986 | JPN/ NA ver. | Famicom, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, MSX, NES,

Adventure Island Classic | Hudson | 1992 | EU ver. | NES.

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

Adventure Island III | Hudson | 1992 | JPN ver. | Famicom.

Adventure Island IV | Hudson | 1994 | JPN ver. | Famicom.

Alibaba and the 40 Thieves | Sony | 1984 | MSX.

Backgammon | Sony | 1984 | MSX.

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

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

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

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

Chess | Sony | 1984 | MSX.

Computer Othello | Sony | 1983 | MSX. (9)

Derby Stallion II | ASCII Corp. | 1994 | Super Famicom.

Derby Stallion III | ASCII Corp. | 1995 | Super Famicom.

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

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

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

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

Elfaria | Huson Soft | 1993 | Super Famicom. (3)

Elfaria II | Huson Soft | 1995 | Super Famicom.

Game ABC game Programming Master | Sony | 1984 | MSX.

Ikinari Musician | Tokyo Shoseki Co. | 1987 | Famicom. (6)

Maximo vs Army of Zin | Capcom | 2003 | JPN ver. | PS2. (1)

Maximo vs Army of Zin | Capcom | 2004 | EU/ NA ver. | PS2.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory | Capcom | 2001 | JPN ver. | PS2.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory | Capcom | 2002 | EU/ NA ver. | PS2.

Monkey Magic | Sun Corp. | 1999 | PS1.

Monkey Magic | Sun Corp | 2000 | PS1.

Motor Toon Grand Prix | Sony | 1994 | PS1.

Motor Toon Grand Prix | Sony | 1996 | NA ver. | PS1.

Motor Toon Grand Prix II | Sony | 1996 | EU/ JPN ver. | PS1. (8)

Navy Blue ‘90 | Use Corp. | 1990 | Game Boy.

New Adventure Island | Hudson | 1992 | PC Engine, Turbo Grafx.

Puzzle Mate: Oekaki Mate | Compile Heart | 2008 | Nintendo DS.

Puzzle Mate: Nampure Mate | Compile Heart | 2008 | Nintendo DS.

Puzzle Mate: Crossword Mate | Compile Heart | 2008 | Nintendo DS.

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

Super Adventure Island | Hudson | 1992 | JPN ver. | Super Famicom.

Super Adventure Island II | Hudson | 1994 | SNES, Super Famicom.

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts | Capcom | 1991 | JPN ver. | Super Famicom.

Tiny Barbarian DX | Starquail | 2017 | Nintendo Switch. (7)

Willy Wombat | Hudson Soft | 1997 | Saturn.

Wonder B-Cruise | SunSoft | 1999 | PS1.






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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.

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.

Computer Othello

Published by Sony in 1983 for the European and Japanese MSX markets.   




Computer Othello is presently artist Matsushita’s earliest known artwork.  With the MSX format it was released on finding some popularity in Europe (North America would miss out) Sony took the very unorthodox step - for the time - of releasing this Japanese designed cover art overseas.  It is presently the earliest known Japanese cover released outside of the country and certainly the most high profile of the period due to its creators revered status.

The character art would ooze Susumu’s perchant for busty westernised woman that would later populate his covers.  

computer-othello-MSX-big.jpg

>Artist profile

>Box art catalogue

>Box art review

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

New Super Mario Bros. | Nintendo | 2006 | Nintendo DS.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 | Nintendo | 2012 | 3DS. (7)

New Super Mario Bros. U | Nintendo | 2012 | Nintendo Wii U.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii | Nintendo | 2009 | Nintendo Wii.

Super Mario 3D Land | Nintendo | 2011 | 3DS.

Super Mario 3D World | Nintendo | 2013 | Nintendo Wii U.

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

Super Mario 64 | Nintendo | 1996 | EU/ NA ver. | by Yusuke Nakano | Nintendo 64. (10)

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

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

Super Mario Bros. | Nintendo | 1985 | JPN ver. | by Shigeru Miyamoto | Famicom, Game Boy Advance. (4)

Super Mario Bros. | Nintendo | 1985 | EU/ NA ver. | Game Boy Advance, NES. (5)

Super Mario Bros. 2 | Nintendo | 1988 | by Shigeru Miyamoto and GIRVIN | NES. (11)

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

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

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

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

Super Mario Galaxy | Nintendo | 2007 | Nintendo Wii. (6)

Super Mario Galaxy 2 | Nintendo | 2010 | Nintendo Wii.

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

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

Super Mario Odyssey | Nintendo | 2017 | Nintendo Switch.

Super Mario Sunshine | Nintendo | 2002 | GameCube.

Super Mario USA | Nintendo | 1992 | by Yoichi Kotabe | Famicom. (9)

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

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

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

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

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












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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 Nintendo 64 market.  




This cover would be the first in Super Mario series to use computer generated 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 Super Mario 64’s gameplay.

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Super Mario USA (スーパーマリオUS) by Yoiche 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 a 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 left to right - original box art and Doki Doki Panic.

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>Box art catalogue

>Box art review

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