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.


Whilst not having a distinctive style of cover art design of its own, like so many consoles of the previous generations did, the Super Famicom’s box profile would lend itself to a distinctive approach to box art layout.


Its long, portrait profile, when compared to the Famicom’s landscape (possibly to differentiate between the two at a retail level), would allow for larger, more detailed character arts to be displayed, but would be an Achilles heel when the same artworks were reused overseas. Super Famicom cover arts such as Castlevania: Dracula XX, Super Metroid, Prince of Persia and Secret of Mana would lose their heightened grandeur due to the inevitable cropping required to fit the SNES’s landscape box profile. Later this landscape profile would be adopted in Japan, with publisher Square being a notable employer of it.


The general level of Japanese artistry, it could be argued, increased with the generational jump (an observation that can be seen across many formats), with a sound reason being the enlarged number of noted illustrators and Mangaka’s being drafted to take up duties. They would, a majority of times, be assigned the role of character designer and be responsible for the in-game character designs along with promotional material.


The Super Famicom’s catalogue would see an influx of western games being ported as American and European publishers started to heavily develop for the system. The same could not be said for predecessor, the Famicom, whose box art catalogue is almost exclusively Japanese designed. Subsequently, this western influx would be some of the first tastes the Japanese had of foreign box arts. Covers for European and American titles such as DOOM, Populous, Another World (Outer World in Japan), Flashback, and Drakkhen would all make the transition unchanged.


Plenty of western box arts would still find themselves redundant in place of a Japanese artist’s own interpretation. The more fantasy/ adventure based titles would generally remain somewhat Americanised in design (see Wolfenstein 3D, Populous II, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, and Might and Magic II), whilst the heavily character led games would adopt a more traditional Manga or anime style of art – Super Turrican, Lester the Unlikely, Soccer Kid, Pipe Dream and Lost Vikings being examples - but it would often be as ill fitting as America’s take of Japanese character art.


After a fairly moot period that lasted throughout the latter part of the 80’s, American box art design would bounce back with the help of their cartoonists and comic book alumni. Illustrators such as Greg Winters (Super Double Dragon, Final Fight 3), Mick McGinty (Street Fighter II/ Turbo/ Super), Glenn Fabry (Speedball II, The Incredible Hulk) and Greg Martin (Super Bomberman) would see to Americanising Japan’s cover art efforts, whilst trying to sit in line with what Sega’s Mega Drive and its “cooler” and more mature promotional art was delivering.


Donkey Kong Country’s box art deserves special mention as one of the earliest examples (if not the first) to use computer art as its primary medium within console gaming. All cover arts, for both the Super Famicom and SNES, before Country and the vast majority after would still use traditional art techniques.

Related BOX=ART pages.


Notable and influential Super Famicom/ SNES box arts, 1990 - 1996.  

Please note. Box arts were exclusively designed for the Super Famicom/ SNES on original release.

>Click on images below  to enlarge.


Overview

To follow up the all-conquering Famicom/ NES, Nintendo would release the Super Famicom in Japan followed by its western counterpart the SNES at the start of the 90’s. It has since become home to some of the most exciting and artistically rich box arts in video gaming.

Posted - 23/08/15, by Adam Gidney

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BOX=ART hardware

 >Super Famicom/ SNES




Video game box art history from 1994 - 1999 page| BOX=ART

90’s gallery page


legend of bishin.jpg

The Legend of Bishin

1993

By Katsuya Terada


Nosteratu

1994

By Jun Suemi


nosferatu big.jpg Final Fantasy VI big.jpg

Final Fantasy VI

1994

By Yoshitaka Amano


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Donkey Kong Country

1994

By -


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Castlevania: Dracula XX

1995

By Akihiro Yamada


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Street Fighter II

1992

By Akiman


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Secret of Mana

1991

By Hiroo Isono


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F-Zero

1990

By -


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Super Metroid

1994

By -


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Darius Twin

1991

By -


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Front Mission: Gun Hazard

1996

By Yoshitaka Amano


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Rudra no Hiho

1996

By Keita Amemiya


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Maten Densetsu

1995

By Katsuya Terada


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Might and Magic II

1993

By Akira Komeda


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Super Street Fighter II

1994

By Muraoka Satoshi


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Batman Returns

1993

By -


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Street Fighter II Turbo

1993

By Mick McGinty


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Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

1992

By -


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Super Mario Kart

1992

By -


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Alcahest

1993

By -


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Kirby Super Star

1996

By -


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Super Mario World

1991

By -


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Prince of Persia

1992

By Katsuya Terada


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Assault Suit Valken

1992

By -



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The Amazing Spider-Man: Lethal Foes

1995

By Mark Bagley


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Lennus II

1996

By -


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Mystic Arc

1995

By Akihiro Yamada


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Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure

1995

By -



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Super Turrican

1993

By -


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Populous II

1993

By Toshiaki Kato


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Super Double Dragon

1992

By Greg Winters


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Xardion

1992

By Hajime Katoki


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Super Aleste

1992

By Naoyuki Kato


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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

1991

By -


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Live a Live

1994

By Ryogi Minagawa


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Demon’s Crest

1994

By Julie Bell


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Hagane

1994

By Keita Amemiya


Secret of Mana art review page| BOX=ART

Secret of Mana review page

Dracula XX review page

Dracula XX l box art review page| BOX=ART Super Mario series box art page| BOX=ART

Super Mario series page