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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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 from a variety of angles 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.


Jon Woods and David Ward would form Ocean Software in the early 80’s under the name Spectrum Games. Early box arts for titles such as Cosmic Intruders and Rocket Command (both 1983) were rudimentary, but when the period’s main method of video game distribution was through mail order there was little need for elaborate cover art design.  


The name Spectrum Games was quickly dropped in 1983 in favour of Ocean, and late that year the studio would poach Imagine Software’s art director, Steve Blower, responsible for much of Imagine’s promotional material. 


For the short but influential time Imagine was active (1983 - mid 1984) it was seen as an industry leader, produced quality colour box arts that would influence and later inspire Spectrum Games and Oceans early cover art output.  


Working alongside Steve in those early days was artist, Bob Wakelin. Hired by Ocean in 1983 together with illustrator, Blair, Bob and Blair would be responsible for Ocean's debuting games, Moon Alert and Gilligan’s Gold.  Bob from then on would go it alone and be responsible for a large portion of Ocean’s box arts until 1994.  


The vast amount of games produced monthly in the early days meant a quick turnaround was required from Bob. This lack of allotted time coupled with the small case dimensions used by tape based machines, led to crude and simplistic box arts such as Road Toad and Hunchback (both 1983). Later, with longer development times and larger boxes to cover, Bob’s artistry would greatly improve. 




1983

>Chinese Juggler (EU) Commodore 64. (BW)

>Road Frog (EU) Oric, ZX Spectrum.  (BW)

1984

>Daley Thompson’s Decathlon (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum. (BW)

>The Dam Busters (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>Gift From the Gods (EU) ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>High Noon (EU) Commodore 64. (BW)

>Match Day (EU) Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

1985

>Frankie goes to Hollywood (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum   (BW)

1986

>The Great Escape (EU/ NA) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX   Spectrum. (BW)

>Green Beret (EU) Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>MOVIE (EU) Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

1987

>Gryzor (EU/ NA) Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>Head over Heals (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum. (BW)

>Renegade (EU) Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>Wizball (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

1988

>Batman: The Caped Crusader (EU/ NA) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari   ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>Operational Wolf (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX,   ZX Spectrum. (BW)



1989

>Cabal (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>Chase H.Q (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.   (BW)

>The NewZealand Story (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX   Spectrum. (BW)

1990

>Battle Command (EU/ NA) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64,   DOS, ZX  Spectrum. (GM)

>Midnight Resistance (EU) Amstrad, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum. (BW)

>Rainbow Islands (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum.   (BW)

>Shadow Warrior (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum. (BW)

1991

>Billy the Kid (EU) Amiga. (BW)

>Elf (EU) Amiga, Atari ST, DOS. (BW)

1992

>Epic (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST. (BW)

>Parasol Stars (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST, Game Boy, NES. (BW)

>Wizkid (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST, DOS. (BW)

1993

>Sleepwalker (EU) Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX   Spectrum. (BW)

1994

>Central Intelligence (NA) DOS. (BW)

>Choplifter III (EU) Game Boy, SNES.  (BW)

1995

>Worms (EU) Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari ST, DOS, Genesis, Jaguar, Macintosh,   Mega Drive, PlayStation, Saturn, SNES.



Notable Ocean Software box artists

>Bob Wakelin (BW)

>Gary McNamara (GM)

>Steve Blower (SB)






Sources and further reading:

>The History of Ocean (book)













Related BOX=ART pages.











Although neither Steve nor Bob were responsible for Oceans famous logo (that piece of history is likely lost now), Bob is credited for jazzing it up.  


The flat, blue on white logo would have the Wakelin treatment, with the aim of bringing it in line with what Imagine Software had done with their logo (designed by Blower). Both logos would be used interchangeably until the Ocean name was dissolved in the late 90's.    


Ocean in 1985 would buy the defunct Imagine name and use it as a sub-label to release converted Konami arcade games. Bob would find himself on box art duties for such Imagine games as, Hyper Sports (1985), Green Beret (1986) and Renegade (1987).  


All would look resolutely westernised paying little attention to the Japanese originals: that were unlikely available to reference at the time. Some Konami Japanese originals were also used, Ping Pong, Yie Ar Kung-Fu (both 1985) Salamander and Bad Dudes (both 1988) being examples, but most would get a more culturally suitable version, as was the norm in the 1980’s. 







Innovation, big ideas and a certain Mr Wakelin all added up to one of video gaming’s most cherished and revered studios.

BOX=ART publisher

 >Ocean Software

Daley Thompson’s Decathlon (1984) would be Oceans first big hit and the first time in Europe that a personality likeness used on a box art. It would be the catalyst for the move into licencing that Ocean would later become famous for.  


The Neverending Story (1985) was the first movie licence used in Europe’s video game industry and its box art the first time a movie poster was attached. What success Ocean had with Story would be dwarfed in 1987 with Robocop’s release, setting the company up as a major international player.  


By the 1990’s Ocean were one of the largest video game companies in the world. Bob’s cover art output had become exceptional and iconic with artworks such as Epic (1992), Rainbow Islands (1990) and Elf (1991) showing a level of detail now far removed from what he had started out producing for the company. 




Notable box arts published by Ocean Software.

80's gallery page| BOX=ART

80’s gallery page

Donkey Kong by Leslie Cabarga

Published by Ocean in 1986.

Designed for the European market. MSX version pictured. Also available on: Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

Battle Command by Gary McNamara

Published by Ocean in 1990.

Designed for the EU/ NA markets. DOS version pictured. Also available on Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum.

The NewZealand Story by Bob Wakelin

Published by Ocean in 1989.

Designed for the European market. Available on Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum.

Robocop by Mike Bryan

Published by Ocean in 1988.

Designed for the worldwide market. Atari ST version pictured. Also available on Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, DOS, Game Boy, NES.

Renegade by Bob Wakelin

Published by imagine in 1987.

Designed for the European market. Amstrad CPC version pictured. Also available on Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum..

Rainbow Islands by Bob Wakelin

Published by Ocean in 1990.

Designed for the European market. Amiga version pictured. Also available on Atari ST, Commodore 64, NES, ZX Spectrum.

Epic box art review page| BOX=ART

Epic review page

NewZealand Story box art review page| BOX=ART

NewZeal and Story review page

Bob Wakel in artist page

Bob Wakelin box art artist page| BOX=ART

Worms by Kevin Jenkins

Published by Ocean in 1995.

Designed for the worldwide  market. Amiga CD32 version pictured. Also available on Amiga, DOS, Game Boy, Genesis, Jaguar, Macintosh, Mega Drive, PlayStation, Saturn, SNES.

The further into the 90’s the less Bob would be commissioned and in 1994, Central Intelligence would finish his time with Ocean. The expense of commissioning him was likely his demise, but with the lack of inspiration that went in to successive box arts such as Weaponlord (1995, PAL version and not artist Simon Bisleys), Wetrix (1998) and EF2000 (1997), showed a marketing team at Ocean who were hardly concerned with quality art.  


The magic behind Ocean’s box arts ended with their final licenced cover art for Jurassic Park (1993) and Bob’s leaving, but the final nail would be the Infogrames take over in 1996.  The brand would still be invisible for a couple of years until being dissolved, at which point the industry lost one of the great innovators in video gaming.

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Posted - 07/12/15, by Adam Gidney


Categories: Comic; European artist; Ocean Software