The Most Awesome Box Art In The World

They may be known as Studio Liverpool today, but there once was a time British developers Psygnosis were responsible for the greatest video game covers of all time.

From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, the team responsible for games like Lemmings, Shadow of the Beast and Barbarian (and who would later go on to create the Wipeout series on the PlayStation) broke from the infantile and/or boring styles preferred by other companies and went for a look that was part Heavy Metal, part Moebius and all brilliant.

Things began to get a little more tame as the 90s dragged on, with fantastical art going out of style and Psygnosis moving away from home computer development and towards consoles, but for just under a decade, they were kings. In honour of that, then, we present this gallery of their finest work.

In case you're wondering - and really, you should be - who's responsible for many of these, it was British artist Roger Dean, who not only designed the company's famous "owl" logo, but provided the art for games like Brataccus, Barbarian, Shadow of the Beast and Baal.

[images via]


    Looks like something out of Brutal Legend... oh god, i want the damn sequel :'(

      Brutal Legend was that good?
      To think all this time I've let the game slide my interest because of my hatred of Jack Black lol.

      How can you compare that Disney-fied crap with this awesomeness? If only there were some real games being made now with Roger Dean's designs/conceptualisations behind them...

        talk about a love affair with Roger Dean. Is he credited?

        I wonder if he saw Avatar, too.

    I had Shadow of the Beast on my Atari Lynx II. Ahh, memories.

    Psygnosis put a lot of effort into their box art. Roger Dean is the artist who usually gets mentioned, but some of their best artwork was done by other major UK scifi artists.

    The painting at the top of the story for Awesome is actually by John Harris. Amnios and Infestation were painted by Tim White, another artist . Peter Andrew Jones painted Blood Money and Stryx.

    All three artists have had long successful careers painting scifi book covers, and their paintings are very collectible.

    Oh man... what happened to the awesome game box art? For that matter, what happened to game boxes with feelies, cloth maps, cool widgets, tome-sized manuals full of game information, background story and art? Fuck, what happened to game boxes PERIOD?

    Digital download may be convenient, but I still can't help feeling like the golden age is long gone.

      I felt like that when Vinyl Records began to be replaced by Cassette tapes & CDs. I look forward to books being published on "Great MP3 Album covers".

      They wasted space, and money. If you really like that stuff, you can always buy fan-made stuff to go with your game. Some of it is pretty high quality

    I loved some of these games. Everything Psygnosis did when I was a kid was cool. Loved Leander, Barbarian and Blood Money. Never played much Shadow of the Beast, but loved the artwork in it and it always looked awesome. Man, what a time! I still have some of those boxes and disks!

    The Captain Fizz cover was also used for the paperback of the most excellent Space Vikings.

    Psygnosis was unquestionably the king of box art when I was a kid.

    God I love old school hand drawn sci-fi stuff.

    BAAL!!! Now there's one I used to play almost every day :)

    Freaking difficult too.

    Psygnosis.. there's a name I remember.. and yes, they always had the best cover art.

    As for the game "Awesome".. I remember that one very well because I could never get it to run.. always had disc errors when trying to run it.. *sigh*.. I always wanted to play that but sadly I probably never will.. and it's probably not worth it now.

    My god....

    Possibly your best article ever Luke. No sarcasm.

    I remember thursday, late night shoppings at Carindale shopping center every week as a kid, mum would drop me at the computer store and I would get to peruse the games for half an hour, buying one once a month. This was 1990 - 1992 when I was 13 - 15 years old. Box art was as interesting as the games they contained within. I just opened my cupboard and pulled out a few games to compare. Unfortunately something has been lost. Granted its all photoshopped now, but by god, what a lost artform.... almost Drew Struzanesque in a lot of cases. Amazing.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane Plunkett :)

    What?? No Ecstatica?! Can't be!!

    Reminds me of the awesome sci-fi book covers of the 70's - 80's

    Holy shit it keeps going! I'd play any modern day game that looked like any of these covers.

    Ahh the days when the box art graphics were better than the in game graphics. And Psygnosis, that name brings back memories. Actually - didn't they do Demolition Derby port for PC? I seem to remember that was one of their last games I had...

    Anyway, one of the big reasons now I'm buying up some old nostalgia / games I used to own is solely for the box/packaging.

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