When released, the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive as it’s known in Japan and Europe had state of the art graphics. But like it’s 8-bit predecessors, games developed for the Genesis relied on the cover art visuals of their boxes to sell in the high street stores.
Pre Internet is an interesting time period for cover art, artists had a number of competing requirements to fulfill. As mentioned, the box art was a major marketing tool and on crowded shelves, the title needed to stand out. But striking the right combination of eye catching colors, illustrating unique features and game play while setting the tone of the game is a challenging feat.
The first two scans below illustrate the competing objectives well. First is Double Dragon V – the predominately yellow cover has a huge “pop” effect, it was certain to stand out against neighboring titles on the store shelf. The art work is small in comparison and the cover relies heavily on the franchise name.
Next up is Echo The Dolphin – This art work is calming and subdued but upon further examination, the supporting characters in the background give context to the scenes and hints of the game play.
In my mind these are 2 very different design and marketing approaches. Please enjoy these jewel case scans from my collection.
Counting Virtual Sheep is a blog dedicated to the capture of digital retro.
These are the tools and entertainment we used at the dawn of the digital revolution.
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