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 copyright ©2013 Adam Gidney. All rights reserved. Hosted by Dathorn.
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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.
BOX=ART profiles the internationally renowned artist and designer Roger Dean who would help introduce a new standard of video game box art in the 1980’s.
Chrono Quest published by Psygnosis in 1988. Poster version pictured.
Born in England in 1944 and studying design between 1961-1968, the artist would begin his career in graphic design and fine art through a commission from British rock trio, The Gun. The band’s 1968 debut cover art would lead to further commissions from various jazz and rock outfits of the 1970's, with the most notable and influential covers designed for progressive rockers, Yes.
As much a part of Dean's art for his album designs was the band logo that went with them. His distinctive typeface of flowing and organic curves would complement the otherworldly vistas that were often depicted.
This style would catch the imagination of a young Richard Branson who would hire Dean and his brother, Martyn to rebrand Virgin Records in the early 70’s. It would be Dean's first high profile logo design and encapsulated the decade’s hard rock and progressive scene perfectly.
Dean would start his career in video game box art design by joining Liverpool developer, Psygnosis at the start of the company’s tenure in 1984. Designing the iconic owl logo and Psygnosis font, Dean would be responsible for the company’s debut box art for Brataccas. It would be a milestone in cover art design and firmly put the studio on the map, not only because of its craftsmanship but also due to the artist’s revered reputation.
Brataccas| 1986| Psygnosis/ Mindscape| The artist’s debut box art and arguable a milestone in cover art design. Put simply, art of this quality had not been seen on European covers before Brataccas.
Aquaventura| 1992| Psygnosis| The artists final box art for Psygnosis, and his final one to date to be classed as high-art.
Follow ups, Deep Space (1986), Barbarian, Terrorpods (both 1987), Chronoquest and Obliterator (both 1988) would all take the imagination of the home computer gamer to fantastical worlds, and help shape the gaming landscape of the 1980's.
The 1988 port of The Black Onyx for Nintendo's Famicom would be Roger’s first box art to be made available in Japan. The exclusive cover was quite possibly originally commissioned for the game, due to its creation and the game's logo – now titled The Super Black Onyx - both dating from 1987. It also has the name ‘Freyja's Castle’.
The following year saw Roger’s highest profile box art, Shadow of the Beast released. Not only a highlight of the decade but also in box art history. It was framed in a big landscape box that captured the beauty and gravitas of the metal animal's against the baked vista.
It shipped with the sought after 'Beast t-shirt' and was Rogers most used box art to date, finding home across a multitude of gaming formats worldwide.
“Shadow of the Beast was framed in a big landscape box that captured the beauty and gravitas of the metal animals against the backed vista.
Obliterator| 1988| Psygnosis.
Shadow of the Beast II followed in 1990 and started the decade on a lofty high that only a few would reach before cover art duties went to David John Rowe for the final box art in the series.
The year 1990 saw another logo design for developer Bullet-Proof Software, Henk Roger's company who designed early RPG, The Black Onyx. Dean would also provide the logo for Henk's follow up company, Blue-Planet Software in 2000.
After designing the box art for the Killing Game Show remake, Fatal Frame, for publisher EA (1991), Roger completed his final Psygnosis cover art, Aquaventura, 1992.
Roger's final box art duties would come at the end of the 1990's when Blue-Planet Software commissioned him in 1999 to rebrand Tetris. It would be Dean's last, thus far, high profile logo design in the industry, and would be seen on many Tetris titles, most notably, Tetris Worlds (2002).
Roger's box arts could be described as meddling with organic and metallic life. His characters were painted within space and on paths that drew the viewer into the art. He used strong contrasts of light and dark to add a depth of field, whilst also portraying the shifting of time. Arguably they illustrated a created world in a single picture, a concept that paralleled how Psgynosis designed its games.
The artist’s favoured medium was acrylic on canvas and today he keeps his art alive through a comprehensive website HERE and printed collections.
Updated - 27/05/17 by Adam Gidney
Terrorpods| 1987| Psygnosis.
Tetris Worlds| 2002| THQ| The artist’s final cover to date.
Shadow of the Beast| 1989| Psygnosis| Possibly the artist’s most well known box art due to the games lasting reputation and the widespread availability of it.
Roger Dean box art catalogue.
>Brataccas (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST.
>Deep Space (EU) Amiga, Atari ST.
>Barbarian (EU/ NA) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, ZX Spectrum.
>Terrorpods (EU) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum.
>Obliterator (EU/ NA) Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, DOS, ZX Spectrum.
>The Super Black Onyx (JP) Famicom.
>Shadow of the Beast (worldwide) Amiga, Atari ST, FM Towns, Master System, Mega CD, Mega Drive, PC Engine, ZX Spectrum.
>Shadow of the Beast II (worldwide) Amiga, Atari ST, FM Towns, Mega CD, Mega Drive.
>Fatal Rewind (worldwide) Mega Drive.
>Aquaventura (EU) Amiga.
>The Next Tetris (EU/ NA) PlayStation, Windows.
>Tetris World (worldwide) Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Windows.
Sources and further reading.
Related BOX=ART pages.
If you like Roger’s art you’ll love…
Japanese fantasy illustrator and mech designer.
BOX=ART profiles one of the UK’s great publishers, Psygnosis. Responsible for classic series Shadow of the Beast and WipEout.