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 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.

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: Va - Vo

Artist index: Vi



BOX=ART index

 >V

Vanguard by Ralph Mcquarrie.

North American artwork. First published by Atari in 1982 for the North American Atari 2600 market.

Atari 2600 ver. pictured. Also available Atari 2800.




Click to enlarge

vanguard-VCS-big.jpg

Valkyrie Profile (ヴァルキリープロファイル ) by Kou & Yo Yoshina.

Japanese artwork. Published by Enix Corp. in 1999 for the Japanese and North American PS1 markets.




Click to enlarge

Valkyrie-profile-PS1-big.jpg

Vagrant Story (ベイグラントストーリー) by Akihiko Yoshida.

Japanese artwork. Published by Squaresoft globally in 2000 for the PS1 market.  





Click to enlarge

>Pictures from top - Original box art and full promotional artwork.

Vagrant-story-PS1-big.jpg

Click to enlarge

vagrant-story-original-img-big.jpg

Veigues: Tactical Gladiator by Jun Suemi.

Japanese artwork. First published by Game Arts Co. in 1988 for the Japanese PC-88 market.

PC Engine ver. pictured. Also available on: PC-88.  



Click to enlarge

veigues-tactical-gladiator-PCE-big.jpg

Hardware index: Vc


VCS/ 2600.  Atari hardware from 1977-1990.

Competition in the late 70’s was far from stiff compared to today’s crowded scene, but established machines such as Magnavox’s Odyssey and Fairchild’s Channel F did provide early gaming rivalry for the VCS. A part of the VCS’ wild popularity compared to these machines was the inspired artworks that adorned debuting titles such as Combat, Star Ship, Street Racer. For the first time the basic pixelated world on screen was vividly brought to life through box art, providing a much-needed window to fuel gaming imaginations.  

Pioneering artists such as Cliff Spohn and Susan Jaekel brought traditional art techniques to the table and successfully produced exciting montages with Hollywood inspired movie poster finishes.  Atari’s art team, headed by James Kelly, would also brand early cover arts with a distinct coloured banner, whilst early box layout interestingly eschewed the need to heavily promote the console’s name compared to the Odyssey, Channel F and later Odyssey2. In fact, launch box arts Surround, Star Ship and Indy 500 removed the VCS credit altogether.

Capitalising on the just released movie phenomena, Superman (1978), the VCS would be the first gaming machine to use a comic book hero in a game with Superman (1978). Its box art would use the man of steel’s images cut from the 1976 300th issue by artist Curt Swan, and would mark the first time an artist outside of Atari’s collective was used.

The start of the 1980’s saw the world’s first 3rd party publisher Activision release the exclusive Dragster on the VCS, and with it one of gaming’s most recognisable box art designs. Its brash and bold palette would instantly stand out from Atari’s pastle-toned cover arts and would distinctly brand Activision’s games up until 1982.

In 1980 Atari released the world’s first licenced video game, Space Invaders. The mega hit‘s established Japanese characterisation unfortunately would not be used in North America and marked the start of it’s long, and at times shaky history of reinterpreting eastern character art.  Also that year the world’s first celebrity likeness would be used in the Pele endorsed Pele’s Soccer (by James Kelly). The newly named Atari 2600 in 1982 would boast another box art first in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Painted by James Kelly it would be the world’s first movie licenced video game cover art, and Harrison Ford the first movie star to be immortalised by box art.

The following year saw Nintendo’s Mario depicted for the first time in the West in Mario Bros (Colco’s Donkey Kong release the year before still christened its hero as ‘Jumpman’).  It would end up being one of a few examples of the plumber appearing on non-Nintendo hardware.

The video game crash of 1983 would have a great impact on the American video game industry and 2600 box art. The aftermath meant little US video game production happened between 1984 and 1985, by which time Nintendo’s NES had released and dominated the market. The resurged interest in the video gaming did lead to further game production for the 2600 but weak cover art design that had little artistic merit would help the 2600’s slow decline. By 1990 Atari’s pioneering machine had run its course.


>Notable and influencial box arts that were exclusively for, or originally released on the Atari VCS/ 2600.

Asteroids | Atari | 1981 | by Chris Kenyon.

Breakout | Atari | 1978 | by Cliff Spohn.

Defender | Atari | 1981 | by Steve Hendricks.

Dragster | Activision | 1980.

Mario Bros. | Atari | 1983 | by Hiro Kimura.

Night Driver | Atari | 1980 | by Steve Hendricks.

Pele’s Soccer | Atari | 1980 | by James Kelly.

Pitfall! | Activision | 1982.

Raiders of the Lost Ark | Atari | 1982 | by James Kelly.

Slot Racers | Atari | 1978 | by John Enright.

Sky Diver | Atari | 1978 | by Greg Vance.

Solar Storm | Imagic | 1983.

Solaris | Atari | 1986.

Space Invaders | Atari | 1980.

Star Ship | Atari | 1977 | by Cliff Spohn.

Super Breakout | Atari | 1981 | by Cliff Spohn.

Superman | Atari | 1978 | by Curt Swan.

Tac-Scan | Sega | 1983.

Vanguard | Atari | 1982 | Ralph Mcquarrie.









Vicente Segrelles.  Spanish box artist in 1981.

Demons Forge, The | Saber Software | 1981.  




Victor Gadino.  North American box artist in 1999.

Duke Nukem: Zero Hour | GT Interactive | 1999.





Velnor’s Lair by Susan Rowe.

English artwork. Published by Quicksilva in 1983 for the European markets.

ZX Spectrum ver. pictured. Also available on: C64, Oric.  



Click to enlarge

velnors-lair-ZX-big.jpg

Vib-Ripple (ビブリップル) by Takashi Okasawa.

Japanese artwork. Published by Sony in 2004 for the Japanese PS2 market.



Click to enlarge

vib-ripple-PS2-big.jpg

Viewtiful Joe (ビューティフル ジョー Byūtifuru Jō) by Kumiko Suekane.

Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 2003 for the European GameCube market.



Click to enlarge

>Capcom of Europe would take the unusual step of releasing Viewtiful Joe on the GameCube with a pink background box art and also a yellow background box art.  

The same character art can be found on the US releases and the EU PS2 version.

viewtiful-joe-GC-EU-big.jpg

Volleyball Simulator by Celal Kandemiroglu.

Turkish artwork. Published by Softgold in 1987 for the European market.

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



volleyball simulator.jpg

Click to enlarge

Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram (電脳戦機バーチャロン オラトリオ・タングラム M.S.B.S. Ver.5.45) by Hajime Katoki.

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




Click to enlarge

virtual-on-DRE-big.jpg

Volleyball.

Published by Magnavox in 1972 for the North American Odyssey market.




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>Volleyball would be among the worlds first video games and it’s cover the first example of box art.  

It would be a stylish but simple first attempt at the medium. Most of the other games released for the Odyssey would ship with similar covers, but some would have a more detailed artwork.  All in all, Magnavox set out to give these box arts a sence of commonality and thus some branding, it would be a tactic that many of the earliest publishers also adopted.

volleyball-ODY-big.jpg

Virtua Fighter Remix (バーチャファイター リミックス) by Katsuya Terada.

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




Click to enlarge

Virtua-fighter-remix-SAT-big.jpg

Volcanic Dungeon by Emmanual.

English artwork. Published by Carnell Software Ltd. in 1982 for European market.

ZX Spectrum ver. pictured. Also available on: Dragon 32, ZX81.  



Click to enlarge

volcanic-dungeon-ZX-big.jpg


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