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BOX=ART copyright © 2013-2019 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.
Asuka 120% Burning Fest | Family Soft Co. | 1994.
Baraduke | Micomsoft | 1995 | by Yūichirō Shinozaki. (1)
Castlevania X68000 | Konami | 1993. (8)
Emerald Dragon | Glodia | 1990 | by Akihiro Kimura. (3)
Final Fight | Capcom | 1992 | by Akiman. (2)
Genocide 2: Master of the Dark Communion | Zoom Inc. | 1993 | by Yoshiyuki Takani. (10)
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts | Capcom | 1994. (11)
Gradius II | Konami | 1988 | Akira Nishimura. (6)
Phalanx | Kemco | 1991 | by Yoshiyuki Takani. (7)
Populous | EA | 1989 | NA ver | by David John Rowe.
R-Type | IREM | 1991 | Naoyuki Kato.
Road Blaster | Jitensha Sōgyō | 2009.
Scorpius | Shinseisha | 1991. (4)
Signatory: Chouinsha | Tenky | 1991.
Star Wars: Attack on the Death Star | Victor Musical Industries | 1991. (12)
Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition | Capcom | 1991 | by Shoei.
Strider | Capcom | 1991 | by Shinichi Yoshimoto. (9)
Ys | Dempa Shinbunsha | 1991 | by Yoshitaka Amano. (5)
Released in 1987 and exclusively for the Japanese market, the X68000 would play host to a plethora of arcade smashes, running near pixel-perfect ports thanks to the machine’s powerful hardware setup. Developers, Capcom (who used the X68000 as its CPS system development machine), Taito, Sega and Konami would all lead the way with arcade ports such as Super Hang On, Castlevania, Bubble Bobble and Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition. These companies’ box arts would either use the equivalent arcade flyer art (Final Fight, Salamander, Strider and Gradius II) or encompass the arcade’s loud and brash nature in an original composition.
Unlike Nintendo and Sega’s stricter policies on appropriate imagery used on box arts, the X68000 (along with home computers the PC-98, MSX2 and FM Towns) would have a more relaxed attitude towards censorship. It led to a genre of video game little seen in the West but popular in Japan: Eroge/ Hentai games - erotic/soft-porn game. Cover arts depicting excitable young Manga-imagined girls such as Cyberblock Metalorange, Asuka 120% Burning Fest and Lipstick Adventure would rampantly stock the shelves.
When the eroticism became too much, fan boys were instead shooting things and the platform would become popular with shoot ‘em up aficionados. Titles: Code Zero, Parodius, KU2, and Image Fight would all ship with varied and excellent box arts for the genre, with special mention needed for Yoshiyuki Takani’s Phalanx, Sol-Feace and Naoyuki Kato’s R-Type.
For a machine exclusive to Japan the small amount of foreign cover art available is hardly surprising. Strategy games Powermonger and Populous would cross over to Japan with their European box arts intact but Mega lo mania would be less lucky. US platformer Prince of Persia would adopt the Sega CD/ Mega CD box art (possibly of US origin but more likely Japanese) but other than these western covers little else was made available.
Due to the size of the X68000’s 5.25” floppy disks, its casings would be on the large side. They made an appealing alternative to Japan’s rather more diminutive console casings and would not only allow for a more detailed box art but also for the inclusion of extras such as art books and comic strips. Exclusive box arts such as Phalanx, Baraduke and Scorpius would thankfully not make the console transition and the extreme cropping of their covers that would have ensued.
>Notable box art catalogue
>Box art review
Strider (ストライダー飛竜) by Shinichi Yoshimoto.
Japanese artwork. Published by Capcom in 1992 for the Japanese market.
X68000 ver. pictured.
“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 left to right - orginal box art and promotional poster.
Phalanx (ファランクス) by Yoshiyuki Takani.
Published by Kemco in 1991 for the Japanese X68000 market.
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.