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.


The covers for launch-year games would be a mix of painterly art (see Yamoto and N-Sub) and cartooned styled illustrations (see Pacar and Congo Bongo) that oddly borrowed little from Japan’s cultural Manga and anime scenes of the time.  


They would also bare little similarities with the Famicom’s first round of Nintendo published covers, which took some influence from E. C. Segar’s art, and were themselves designed in a vibrant, simple style and bold palette.


Toe to toe with the Famicom’s colourful box arts the SG-1000’s couldn’t help but look rather demure and joyless in comparison, not helped by the engulfing black borders used to mount the artworks.


The border situation would be revised and improved upon through three iterations from 1983 - 1985.  Type A, the original box design, had a thick black border, title in English and smallish artwork; type B, a thinner border, title in English and a larger artwork, and type C, no border, full width artwork and title in Japanese.  


The type C box would make for a more appealing cover and was later used as standard on the Sega My Card releases from 1985 – 1987. The only difference  now being the change to blue boxes for card games, so to differentiate them from the black cartridge boxes.


Related BOX=ART pages.


Notable and influential SG-1000 box arts from 1983 - 1986.  

Please note. Box arts were exclusively designed for the SG-1000 on original release.

>Click on images below  to enlarge.


Overview

In 1983 Sega entered the home console market with the little remembered SG-1000, launching the same day as Nintendo’s Family Computer (Famicom).  The console would prove to be an awkward and unsuccessful first step for the Japanese giant.

Posted - 20/12/16, by Adam Gidney

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BOX=ART hardware

 >SG-1000/ SC-3000/ SG 1000 II



Sega-Galaga

1983

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Mikie

1985

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Sega Ninja

1986

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sega-ninja-SG-big.jpg

Space Invaders

1985

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space-invaders-SG-big.jpg

Girls Garden

1984

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girls-garden-SG-big.jpg

N-Sub

1983

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nsub-SG-big.jpg sega-galaga-SG-big.jpg

Sinbad Mystery

1983

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sinbad-mystery-SG-big.jpg

Loretta no Shouzou: Sherlock Holmes

1986

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Pacar

1983

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pacar-SG-big.jpg

Orguss

1984

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orguss-SG-big.jpg mikie-SG-big.jpg

Champion Boxing

1984

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champion-boxing-SG-big.jpg

Championship Lode Runner

1985

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lode-runner-SG-big.jpg

Exerion

1983

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exerion-SG-big.jpg borderline-SG-big.jpg

If so, this could account for the more western style of art used and the US references found within many covers (see Borderline, Zippy Race and Space Slalom).


That’s not to say overtly looking Japanese art wasn’t still used and exported.  Orguss was a great example of an anime box art that published across PAL regions. It is the earliest known video game cover to use this style of art in the West.  


Bar one cover - Championship Tennis - all games published abroad shipped with their original Japanese artworks.  This entailed that for the first time Japanese designed cover arts were being released in the West, a feat that would take Nintendo some years to equal with its NES in the States.


The final SG-1000 game to be released on cartridge would be Loretta no Shouzou: Sherlock Holmes (1987).  It used the gold décor design that adorned the boxes for Sega’s follow up console the Mark III, one of only two SG-1000 games to do so (the other being The Castle, 1987).


One can only speculate that this rather deceptive decision on Sega’s part was due to the company not wanting to associate these two games with the SG-1000 - having already been discontinued for a year or so - and so through box art misled Mark III owners concerning their true origins (SG-1000 games were compatible with the Mark III).



Categories: Sega

Boarderline| 1983| Sega| A launch title and one of Sega’s first box arts.

Loretta-no-Shouzou-big.jpg

Monaco GP

1985

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monaco-gp-SG-big.jpg

More from Sega

Mega Drive box art page| BOX=ART

Mega Drive

The history behind Sega’s magum opus the Mega Drive/ Genesis.

Dreamcast box art page| BOX=ART

Dreamcast

The history behind Sega’s last home console the much loved Dreamcast.

Sonic the Hedgehog series box art page| BOX=ART

Sonic the Hedgehog

A retrospective look at Sega’s mascot and one of the most recognisable characters in video gaming, Sonic.

From the SG-1000’s modest beginnings Sega appeared to have had an international plan for it - the Mark I released in New Zealand in 1983, the Mark II Australia and Europe in 1984, whilst early game manuals shipped in both Japanese and English. It may well of been a priority that box arts appealed to overseas markets.  

80's gallery page| BOX=ART

80’s gallery page

Japan gallery page

Japanese box art page| BOX=ART

Sources and further reading.


>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SG-1000

>http://segaretro.org/SG-1000

>http://segaretro.org/List_of_SG-1000_games

>http://www.videogameconsolelibrary.com/pg80-sg1000.htm#page=reviews

                                 




Wonder Boy

1986

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wonder-boy-SG-big.jpg