Mercenary – Box Art

Mercenary - Box Art

Some more 80’s nostalgia – Retro Game Box Art from 1985; Mercenary was a very early attempt at FPS Sci-Fi adventuring with 3d wire-frame vectors to describe the game world as shown above. The whole design is, of course, a stab at virtual reality using an ‘advanced console’ and HUD (heads up display) to explore an immersive game world, ok that ‘console’ might only have been the humble C64 or Speccy, but that’s not really the point. There’s a pure charm with these early ideas of machine/human interaction mirrored in movies and tv of the time; Tron, Last Starfighter, Airwolf, Firefox etc  – more on these soon…..

Image sourced from, read more about Mercenary here:

Roger Dean – Brataccas

Roger Dean - Brataccas

This is Roger Dean’s first piece of commissioned artwork for the legendary 80/90s Games House Psygnosis, and dates from way back to 1986. In addition to Roger Dean Psygnosis also used other Sci-Fi-O-Rama Favorites Tim White and Peter Andrew Jones examples of which I’ve featured earlier. Not all of the games were that memorable but the artwork certainly was and although some of it had been used before as SF Novel covers I think it’s fair to say that it reached a much wider and younger audience thanks to Psygnosis. Read more about Psygnosis here:

Knights of the Crystallion

Knights of the Crystallion

Another example of box art from the early 90s’s, Knights of the Crystallion (great title!) was a third person RPG mix of puzzling solving and exploring made solely for the Commodore Amiga in 1990 –  so I think it’s safe to say, fairly obscure. Whats so appealing about this cover? It’s a smoke-breathing Crystal Stallion hatching from an egg!

Knights of the Crystallion is an interesting looking Fantasy Game and one I’d never heard of until recently, read more at:

Chris Foss

(Above) Another sample of Chris Foss’s uber cool space hardware design style. This Example is especially interesting as it shows Foss’s style at it’s most minimal and therefore abstract, and as with all of his work has a tremendous sense of scale.

See more of Chris Foss here

Quick Addendum Sept 2009 – Note that the Elite Poster Below is actually by Philip Castle NOT Chris Foss !!

Looking at this piece made me wonder how much of an influence/inspiration Chris Foss’s Art must have been on David Braben & Ian Bell’s legendary 80’s computer game Elite. Original 80’s Elite Poster featured below, It’s not another Chris Foss By the way, but in fact another Airbrush Legend – Philip Castle, more on him soon… (thanks for the tip Jim!)

Elite Poster

Rodney Matthews – Transarctica

Rodney Matthews - Transarctica

Cover Box art again from, you guessed it, the early 90’s. Transarctica was a 16-bit steampunk themed strategy/management game developed by now-defunct French Software Silmarils. Interestingly the actual art “Heavy Metal Hero” was produced in 1985 by Britsh Sci-Fi & Fantasy Illustrator Rodney Matthews, the game itself features designs based upon that image, so basically Transarctica seems to have been envisaged BECAUSE of the Cover Art! Can’t imagine this has happened too many times.

More on the game here:

Rodney Matthews has had a long career in Fantasy and Sci-fi Illustration spanning several decades. Akin to Roger Dean he’s also produced a large body of work for the music industry being responsible for well over seventy LPs sleeves, his first commission was for Thin Lizzy in 1969. See his site here