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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.


BOX=ART series

>Sonic the Hedgehog (platform games)

BOX=ART profiles the cover art history behind the character that arguably kick started the mascot boom of the 1990’s, Sonic the Hedgehog.

Notable Sonic the Hedgehog box arts.


Japanese artwork, first published by Sega in 1991.

Designed for the Japanese Mega Drive market.

Also available on na.


Series debut cover in Japan.

Watanabe would take Sega artist Naoto Oshima’s original Sonic character designs and cement them with this cover. Sonic’s character art would be tailored for the North American audience that Sega with it’s Mega Drive so keenly sought to pursue in the early 1990’s. It entailed that characters such as Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse would greatly inspire Sonic’s overal design and features.  

The character art was undoubtably composed using airbrush, whilst the background takes style clues from 90’s MTV. This format would proliferate almost all Japanese Sonic covers until 1998’s Sonic Adventure.  

The European box art would use Watanabe’s Sonic character art but superimpose it on a not so vibrant backing.

Sonic the Hedgehog by Akira Watanabe

North American artwork, first published by Sega in 1991.

Designed for the EU/ NA Game Gear markets.

Also available on: na.


By the end of 1991 Greg Marttin would take over cover art duties from Greg Wray starting with this composition. Martin would then become the series cover artist for practically all western box arts until the Saturn period in 1996.

Like Wray, Martin’s background was also cartoons working for Hanna Barbara as an illustrator.  Martin would change little of Wray’s character art maintaining Sonic’s spikier plume, larger ears and a more mischievous look that wasn’t found in Watanabe’s original designs.

The overal general lack of change between western and eastern Sonic designs was remarkable for the time, and an indicator of how western friendly Watanabe’s Sonic character art was.  

Sonic the Hedgehog by Greg Martin

North American artwork, first published by Sega in 1992.

Designed for the EU/ NA markets.  Genesis version pictured.  

Also available on: Mega Drive.


This box art would introduce the Tails character to the West and also is one of the few covers to feature arch-enemy Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 by Greg Martin


Japanese artwork, first published by Sega in 1993.

Designed for the EU/ JP Mega CD markets.  

Also available on: na.


The European version (pictured) would crop the Japanese original, making for a more intense design.

The Japanese version would still use the ‘MTV’ style of art seen on the Mega Drive box arts, plus adorning a snazzy gold logo.


Sonic CD by Kazuyuki Hoshino



Japanese artwork, first published by Sega in 1997.

Designed for the Japanese Saturn market.  

Also available on: na.


Final box art in Japan to adopt the original ‘MTV’ style background.

The character art would be superimposed on different backgrounds for both the North American and European releases.


Sonic Jam


Sonic Adventure by Yuji Uekawa

Japanese artwork, first published by Sega in 1998.

Designed for the worldwide Dreamcast market.

Also available on: na.


This cover would ship as one of the Dreamcast’s launch games. It is the first Sonic box art to be used worldwide unchanged, and was testament to Sega’s confidence in Yuji’s character art.

Sonic would become taller, with longer legs and have a more slender body. He’d also be given green eyes and a larger, fuller plume of spikes. This character art that would be used for the best part of a decade and is arguably the most Japanese looking of Sonic’s designs.



Japanese artwork, first published by Sega in 2006.

Designed for the worldwide market.  PlayStation 3 version pictured.  

Also available on Xbox 360.


The Sonic Adventure character art would be redesigned making Sonic taller and more adult looking so to appeal to next generation PS3 players.

This cover is arguably duller in colour compared to the series’ usual bright compositions, again in attempt to woo older gamers.   

It would also be the first cover to kick start the the series current trend of using computer generated art - although the first cover to use this medium would go to the rather poor Sonic Blast (1996).


Sonic the Hedgehog by Yuji Uekawa


Japanese artwork, first published by Sega in 2010.

Designed for the worldwide market.  Nintendo DS version pictured.  

Also available on Wii.


This box art is a good example of a more modern Sonic cover art. The Sonic character is dynamic, the background is littered with secondary characters, and the colour palette is explosive.


Sonic Colours by Yuji Uekawa

North American artwork, first published by Sega in 2014.

Designed for the worldwide Wii U market.  

Also available on: na.


This game would companion the Sonic Boom cartoon series.

It’s character art would be designed by North American developer Big Red Entertainment, Inc, whose character art has been well documented as polarizing many long term fans.

Sonic would again become taller, with longer limbs and he’d be drawn with a scarf and sports bands.  But it would be Knuckles who’d get the biggest design change with the echidna seriously bulking up.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric by Daniel Ramirez

Sonic The Hedgehog series box arts (platform games)

1991

>Sonic the Hedgehog (JP) Mega Drive. (AW)

>Sonic the Hedgehog (EU) Mega Drive. (AW)

>Sonic the Hedgehog (NA) Mega Drive. (GW)

>Sonic the Hedgehog (EU/ NA) Master System. (GM)

>Sonic the Hedgehog (JP) Game Gear. (AW)

>Sonic the Hedgehog (EU/ NA) Game Gear. (GM)

1992

>Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (EU/ NA) Game Gear, Master System. (GM)

>Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (JP) Game Gear. (AW)

>Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (EU/ NA) Mega Drive. (GM)

>Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (JP) Mega Drive. (AW)

1993

>Sonic the Hedgehog CD (EU) Mega CD. (KH)

>Sonic the Hedgehog CD (JP) Mega CD. (KH)

>Sonic the Hedgehog CD (NA) Sega CD. (GM)

>Sonic Chaos (EU/ NA) Game Gear. (GM)

>Sonic Chaos (EU/ NA) Master System. (GM)

>Sonic and Tails (JP) Game Gear. (AW)

1994

>Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (JP) Mega Drive. (AW)

>Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (EU) Mega Drive.

>Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (NA) Mega Drive. (GM)

>Sonic and Knuckles (JP) Mega Drive.

>Sonic and Knuckles (EU/ NA) Mega Drive. (GM)

>Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble (EU/ NA) Game Gear. (GM)

>Sonic and Tails 2 (JP) Game Gear. (AW)

1995

>Knuckles’ Chaotic (EU/ NA) 32X. (GM)

>Chaotix (JP) 32X.

1996

>Sonic Blast (EU/ NA) Game Gear, Master System.

>G Sonic (JP) Game Gear.

>Sonic 3D Blast (NA) Mega Drive.

>Sonic 3D: Flickies Island (EU) Mega Drive, Saturn.

>Sonic 3D Blast (NA) Saturn, Windows.

1997

>Sonic Jam (NA) Saturn.

>Sonic Jam (EU) Saturn.

>Sonic Jam (JP) Saturn.


1998

>Sonic Adventure (worldwide) Dreamcast. (YU)

1999

>Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (worldwide) Neo Geo Pocket Color.   (YU)

>Sonic 3D: Flickies Island (JP) Saturn. (YU)

2001

>Sonic Advance (worldwide) Game Boy Advance, N-Gage. (YU)

>Sonic Adventure 2 (worldwide) Dreamcast. (YU)

>Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (worldwide) Gamecube. (YU)

2002

>Sonic Advance 2 (worldwide) Game Boy Advance. (YU)

2003

>Sonic Adventure DX (worldwide) Gamecube, Windows. (YU)

>Sonic Heroes (worldwide) Gamecube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows. (YU)

2004

>Sonic Advance 2 (worldwide) Game Boy Advance. (YU)

2005

>Sonic Rush (worldwide) Nintendo DS. (YU)

>Shadow the Hedgehog (worldwide) Gamecube, PlayStation 2, Xbox.

2006

>Sonic the Hedgehog (worldwide) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360. (YU)

2007

>Sonic Rush Adventure (worldwide) Nintendo DS. (YU)

>Sonic and the Secret Rings (worldwide) Wii.

2008

>Sonic Unleashed (worldwide) PlayStation 2/ 3, Xbox 360, Wii.

2009

>Sonic and the Black Knight (worldwide) Wii.

2010

>Sonic Colors (worldwide) Nintendo DS, Wii. (YU)

2013

>Sonic: Lost World (worldwide) 3DS, Wii U.

2014

>Sonic Boom: Rise of the Lyric (worldwide) Wii U. (DR)

>Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (worldwide) 3DS. (DR)

2016

>Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (worldwide) 3DS. (DR)

Series box artists

>Akira Watanabe (AW)

>Danial Ramirez (DR)

>Greg Martin (GM)



Related BOX=ART pages.




Sources and further reading

>http://nintendoage.com/forum/messageview.cfm?StartRow=1&catid=5&threadid=117907  

>http://www.sega->16.com/2012/01/sega-stars-naoto-oshima/                                                                

>http://segaretro.org/Yuji_Uekawa






>Greg Wray (GW)

>Kazuyuki Hoshino (KH)

>Yuji Uekawa (YU)



American box art page| BOX=ART

Americ as gallery page

90’s gallery page

Mega Drive box art page| BOX=ART

Mega Drive series page

Updated - 12/6/17, by Adam Gidney

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Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island by Yuji Uekawa. Published by Sega exclusively for the JP Saturn market in 1999.

sonic-flickies-island-SAT-big.jpg

North American artwork, first published by Sega in 1991.

Designed for the North American Genesis market.

Also available on na.


This cover would be the world’s first look at Sonic, releasing a few days before Japan and Europe’s box arts.

Designed by veteran Disney/ Warner illustrator Greg Wray, Sonic would given a slight edginess to Watanebe’s original Sonic design (below), complete with greater a depth in colour and shade.

The box art is a classic example of American cartoon art, and when compared to the European and Japanese versions it overal exemplifies America’s preference for more representational cover arts over styalised ones.

Sonic the Hedgehog by Greg Wray


Categories: Comic| Sega