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BOX=ART copyright © 2013-2019 Adam Gidney. All rights reserved. Hosted by Dathorn.
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 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.
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.
Artist index: Vi
Video game series index: Ve
>Box art catalogue
Viewtiful Joe | Capcom | 2003 | JPN ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube.
Viewtiful Joe | Capcom | 2003 | NA ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube, PS2.
Viewtiful Joe | Capcom | 2004 | EU ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | PS2.
Viewtiful Joe 2 | Capcom | 2004 | JPN ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube, PS2.
Viewtiful Joe 2 | Capcom | 2004 | NA ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube, PS2. (2)
Viewtiful Joe 2 | Capcom | 2005 | EU ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube, PS2.
Viewtiful Joe: A New Hope | Capcom | 2004 | by Kumiko Suekane | PS2. (3)
Viewtiful Joe: Double trouble! | Capcom | 2005 | by Kumiko Suekane | Nintendo DS. (4)
Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble | Capcom | 2005 | JPN/ NA ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube, Sony PSP. (5)
Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble | Capcom | 2005 | EU ver. | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube, Sony PSP.
Viewtiful Joe: Revival | Capcom | 2003 | by Kumiko Suekane | GameCube.
>Box art catalogue
>Box art catalogue
Competition in the late 70’s was far from stiff compared to today’s crowded scene, but established machines such as Magnavox’s Odyssey and Fairchild’s Channel F did provide early gaming rivalry for the VCS. A part of the VCS’ wild popularity compared to these machines was the inspired artworks that adorned debuting titles such as Combat, Star Ship, Street Racer. For the first time the basic pixelated world on screen was vividly brought to life through box art, providing a much-needed window to fuel gaming imaginations.
Pioneering artists such as Cliff Spohn and Susan Jaekel brought traditional art techniques to the table and successfully produced exciting montages with Hollywood inspired movie poster finishes. Atari’s art team, headed by James Kelly, would also brand early cover arts with a distinct coloured banner, whilst early box layout interestingly eschewed the need to heavily promote the console’s name compared to the Odyssey, Channel F and later Odyssey2. In fact, launch box arts Surround, Star Ship and Indy 500 removed the VCS credit altogether.
Capitalising on the just released movie phenomena, Superman (1978), the VCS would be the first gaming machine to use a comic book hero in a game with Superman (1978). Its box art would use the man of steel’s images cut from the 1976 300th issue by artist Curt Swan, and would mark the first time an artist outside of Atari’s collective was used. The start of the 1980’s saw the world’s first 3rd party publisher Activision release the exclusive Dragster on the VCS, and with it one of gaming’s most recognisable box art designs. Its brash and bold palette would instantly stand out from Atari’s pastle-toned cover arts and would distinctly brand Activision’s games up until 1982.
In 1980 Atari released the world’s first licenced video game, Space Invaders. The mega hit‘s established Japanese characterisation unfortunately would not be used in North America and marked the start of it’s long, and at times shaky history of reinterpreting eastern character art. Also that year the world’s first celebrity likeness would be used in the Pele endorsed Pele’s Soccer (by James Kelly). The newly named Atari 2600 in 1982 would boast another box art first in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Painted by James Kelly it would be the world’s first movie licenced video game cover art, and Harrison Ford the first movie star to be immortalised by box art. The following year saw Nintendo’s Mario depicted for the first time in the West in Mario Bros (Colco’s Donkey Kong release the year before still christened its hero as ‘Jumpman’). It would end up being one of a few examples of the plumber appearing on non-Nintendo hardware.
The video game crash of 1983 would have a great impact on the American video game industry and 2600 box art. The aftermath meant little US video game production happened between 1984 and 1985, by which time Nintendo’s NES had released and dominated the market. The resurge in video gaming interest did lead to further game production for the 2600 but weak cover art design that had little artistic merit would help the 2600’s slow decline. By 1990 Atari’s pioneering machine had run its course.
>Select box art catalogue
Night Driver | Atari | 1980 | by Steve Hendricks.
Pitfall! | Activision | 1982.
Raiders of the Lost Ark | Atari | 1982 | by James Kelly. (3)
Solar Storm | Imagic | 1983 | by Michael Becker. (4)
Solaris | Atari | 1986.
Space Invaders | Atari | 1980.
Star Ship | Atari | 1977 | by Cliff Spohn.
Star Wars: The Emipire Strikes Back | Parker Brothers | 1982. (5)
Super Breakout | Atari | 1981 | by Cliff Spohn. (6)
Tac-Scan | Sega | 1983.