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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.
Box art index: Ya - Yu
Artist index: Yo - Yu
Ys (イース Īsu) by Yoshitaka Amano.
Japanese artwork. Published by Nihon Falcom in 1991 for the Japanese X68000 market.
Click to enlarge
Yuke Yuke!! Troublemakers (ゆけゆけ！！トラブルメーカーズ) by HAN.
Japanese artwork. Published by Enix Corporation in 1997 for the Japanese N64 market.
Click to enlarge
Moving to Tokyo as a teenager, Yoshitaka would take up his first artistic position with famed animation studio Tatsunoko in 1967. His fifteen-year tenure with them saw him develop into the then unheard role of character designer, pencilling such characters as Gatchaman and Cashaan.
It would be a time spent developing his trademark style of delicate wispy lines, bold comic book inspired colouring and effeminate looking characters.
After Tatsunoko, Amano would freelance providing fantasy novel cover arts and would create one of his most enduring designs in heroic vampeel, D, finding worldwide recognition with the titular character’s debut anime: Vampire Hunter D (1985).
In 1987 he joined fledgling video game developer Square as a promotional illustrator and character designer for its latest game, Final Fantasy (1987). His delicate painting on Fantasy’s debut box art would not only become symphonious with the beloved series in the East but also, for that time, raise the standard of Japanese cover art artistry.
The following year would see him work with Japanese studio KSK where he applied a similar fantasy look to flag ship title First Queen and its two following sequels (the reigns were then taken by artist Jun Suemi).
He would be enlisted for further KSK box arts such as Kawanakajima Ibunroku (1992), Duel (1989) and Silver Ghost (1988) adding what could be argued is one of the few highlights of the company’s gaming catalogue.
With the success of Final Fantasy, Square set about turning the game into a series and Yoshitaka’s artwork would be used on the Famicom releases of Final Fantasy II and III (1988 and 1990). Strangely, IV and V’s box arts on the Super Famicom (1991 and 1992) eschewed his illustrations in favour of character art reminiscing their equivalent in-game sprites. Final Fantasy IV would though start the artist’s long running tradition of title and logo design that has proliferated in all main series box arts to this day.
Final Fantasy VI’s (1994) box art saw Amano’s art return and in fine form, but it would be the last time until the plethora of compilations and remakes, from the PlayStation era onwards, started using his works.
They would amazingly be the first time western gamers accessed Yoshitaka’s original cover arts, with North America’s Final Fantasy 1-3’s box arts (Europe never received the NES and SNES games) having little to no connection with his artistic vision.
Amano would turn his hand to another Square series in 1995: Front Mission. The debut box art and sequel, Front Mission: Gun Hazard (1996), saw a grittier characterisation compared to Fantasy’s heroes and heroines, but would still unmistakably be a part of “Amano’s World” *, with their fragile and slight demeanours, petite facial features and pale skin tones.
Outside of Square, Yoshitaka teamed up with Capcom on its Japanese only episodic game Eldorado Gate in 2000. His characterisation, while again displaying many familiar traits, would be executed in contrast to previous box arts with a distinct anime inspired look of heavier line work and shading which also complimented the cel-shading found in-game.
Post Eld orado Gate his box art catalogue has been exclusively Final Fantasy based, however it would return to the traditional painted style of the debut’s cover art, using watercolour and ink. Interestingly the artist has stated how he is unsure the medium of computer art can realise his artistic ambitions.
With his open appreciation for western art from 1960’s comic books to art nouveau inspiring his works, Yoshitaka has rightly pointed out that his trans-Atlantic success over the past twenty years has been down to the blurring of both eastern and western art styles; a style that has helped creatively distinguish one of video games most enduring and iconic series’ and bring attention to a classic box artist.
* A fan’s description of his corpus of work being part of a created fictional world, something the artist attests to.
Duel | Kure Software Koubou | 1989.
Eldorado Gate vol 1 - 2 | Capcom | 2000.
Eldorado Gate vol 3 - 7 | Capcom | 2001.
Final Fantasy | Square | 1987.
Final Fantasy II | Square | 1988.
Final Fantasy III | Square | 1990.
Final Fantasy III DS | Square Enix | 2006.
Final Fantasy IV | Square | 1994 .
Final Fantasy IV | Square | 1997.
Final Fantasy IV Advance | Square Enix | 2005.
Final Fantasy IV Advance | Square Enix | 2005.
Final Fantasy IV DS | Square Enix | 2007.
Final Fantasy V Advance | Square Enix | 2006.
Final Fantasy VI Advance | Square Enix | 2006.
Final Fantasy VII | Square | 1997.
Final Fantasy XI Online | Square Enix | 2003.
Final Fantasy XI Online | Square Enix | 2004.
Final Fantasy XI Online | Square Enix | 2006.
Final Fantasy XI Online: Seekers of Adoulin | Square Enix | 2013.
Final Fantasy XI Online: Wings of the Goddess | Square Enix | 2007.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Nordic Edition) | Square Enix | 2012.
Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn (Collectors Edition) | Square Enix | 2013.
Final Fantasy XIV Online (Collectors Edition) | Square Enix | 2010.
Final Fantasy XV: Deluxe Edition | Square Enix | 2016.
Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition | Square Enix | 2018.
Final Fantasy Anthology | Square Enix | 1999.
Final Fantasy Anthology: European Edition | Square Enix | 2002.
Final Fantasy Type-o | Square Enix | 2011.
First Queen | Kure Software Koubou | 1988.
First Queen II | Kure Software Koubou | 1990.
First Queen III | Kure Software Koubou | 1993.
Front Mission | Square | 1995.
Front Mission 1st | Square Enix | 2003.
Front Mission: Gun Hazard | Square | 1996.
Front Mission Online | Square Enix | 2005.
Kartia: The Word of Fate | Atlus Software Inc. | 1998.
Kawanakajima Ibunroku | Kure Software Koubou | 1992.
Silver Ghost | Kure Software Koubou | 1988.
Ys | Nihon Falcom | 1991.
Alien Storm | Sega | 1991 | JPN ver.
Bare Knuckle | Sega | 1991.
Bare Knuckle II | Sega | 1993.
G-Loc | Sega | 1990.
Golden Axe | Sega | 1989 | JPN ver.
Super Monaco GP | Sega | 1990.
Super Real Basketball | Sega | 1990 | JPN ver.
Super Thunderblade | Sega | 1988.
Truxton | Sega | 1989.
The famous Godzilla and mechanical designer would start a long career in the video game industry by creating the promo poster for a young Hideo Kojima’s cyber-punk adventure Snatcher (Yuji’s art would also be used on the instruction manual for the 1988 releases and as box art for the 1994 Sega CD version).
His first high profile cover which saw a globally release on the still new Sega Mega Drive would be Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (1989). A generation of gamers would would be inducted into Yuji’s art through this cover and its masterful take on gothic-horror.
Into the 1990’s he would do a slew of mechanical themed covers that would be Japanese exclusives and finish, thus far, as a box artist with UItra Seven (1993) - a re-issued original piece of his.
Throughout the rest of the ’90’s he would be involved in arcade and magazine illustrations, and post 2000 he would do a glut of card illustrations (popular in Japan, see Culdcept and Ateil series) and monster designs for various browser and IOS games.
ESWAT: City Under Siege | Sega | 1990.
Ghouls n’ Ghosts | Capcom | 1989.
Kiaidan 00 | Telenet Japan Co. | 1992.
Nexzr | Naxat Soft | 1992.
Snatcher | Konami | 1994.
Soldier Blade | Hudson Soft | 1992.
Ultra Seven | Bandai Co. | 1993.
Whip Rush | Renovation Products | 1990.
Illusion City: Gen’ei Toshi | Micro Cabin Corp | 1991.
Legend of Zelda, The: The Twilight Princess | Nintendo | 2006.
Legend of Zelda, The: The Wind Waker | Nintendo | 2002 | JPN ver.
Super Mario 64 | Nintendo | 1996 | EU/ NA ver.
No More Heroes | Marvelous Entertainment | 2007 | EU/ NA ver.
No More Heroes 2: Desparate Struggle | Marvelous Entertainment | 2010 | JPN ver.
Sonic 3D: Flickies Island | Sega | 1999.
Sonic Advance | Sega | 2001.
Sonic Advance 2 | Sega | 2002.
Sonic Advance 3 | Sega | 2004.
Sonic Adventure | Sega | 1998 .
Sonic Adventure 2 | Sega | 2001.
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle | Sega | 2001.
Sonic Adventure DX | Sega | 2003.
Sonic Heroes | Sega | 2003.
Sonic Rush | Sega | 2005.
Sonic Rush Adventure | Sega | 2007.
Sonic the Hedgehog | Sega | 2006.
Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure | Sega | 1999.
Yar’s Revenge by Hiro Kimura.
Japanese artwork. First published by Atari in 1981 and for the North American VCS/ 2600 market.
Click to enlarge
>“Yar’s Revenge turned out to be my first package art assignment after having done a couple of manual illustrations. I got the basic concept of the Yar, not as a gigantic fly, but a chrome-plated insect shooting spitballs. It was my first attempt of rendering chrome surface and I recall struggling mightily with it. Perhaps the biggest reason for it was that I used airbrush almost exclusively for the very first time, a tool I still wasn’t skilled in then.” Hiro Kimura via The Art of Atari.