Inspiration: More Atari art

Atari art

Atari art

Big thanks to Marvin who brought this post over at Mighty God King to my attention. I made a post last year about the beauty of oldschool Atari artwork, and this post has many beautiful scans of the same kind. I selected a few of my favorites above, but check out the whole post for a good dose of retro inspiration.

Video game art just isn’t what it used to be :)

12 Comments

  1. Its crazy how cool some of these older pieces were. =)

  2. Some classics here…Atari stuff was a bit before my time but the first Amiga games that came out had a similar feel so I feel I can relate somewhat.

    However, I don’t agree video game art isn’t what it used to be. Take a look at some of the concept stuff that has been created recently for games like Prince of Persia, Dead Space, Assassins Creed, Mirrors Edge, Resident Evil 5 and Wipeout HD – video game art is just heading in a new direction but by no means worse.

    http://simoncpage.co.uk/blog/tag/concept-art/

    Play a couple of the games above and tell me they are aren’t as inspiring?

  3. james (Author)

    Simon, I’m referring more to cover design. Atari’s artists had to take a game which is basically a combination of colored squares mixed with a simple game engine and create an exciting and stylized cover design to give the game more depth and meaning. I’m in no way looking down upon modern games, but the level of visual interpretation artists in the 1970s had to put forth gave way to a very unique genre of game art.

  4. Michael

    Man, I miss playing “It’s Fucking Checkers” & “Gay French Mario Bros.”. Those were some classic games. They sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

    Great artwork though. I really enjoyed looking back at some great work.

  5. Thanks for this post, James. I had a 2600 and tons of games. I loved the boxes, and being the completely anal retentive kid that I was, I kept many many of them, putting the cartridges back in the box after being done playing them. This brought back some great memories of playing ancient games late at night by the glow of a crumby TV.

  6. Lau

    Lovely place your blog, good morning!

  7. james (Author)

    Michael, I’m not sure what the story is with those images either :) There is no reference to them being a gag, so confusing.

    Chad, playing oldschool Atari on a crumby television is the only way to play. I had a super small 14″ tv and spent hours in front of that thing playing Berserk and Defender.

  8. Relvant to this is this collection of video game artworks as if they were done for old books. http://kotaku.com/5145909/a-second-serving-of-classic-reimagined-game-covers

  9. Marvin

    James – even though the original art is in tact (and, in many cases, the name is *extremely* similar), the titles are, indeed, not *actually* the original titles. I just thought you’d like to see the old artwork with some fun titles (MY personal favorite is “It’s Fucking Checkers” because that is JUST about how you felt about it after paying the $ bucks for the damn thing).

    I think that the end of great game cover art (the re-imagined artwork, mind you) ended with the demise of the pre-computer-era Atari and Commodore (they, along with early Activision and Epyx titles, were the some of the best to be seen).

  10. Marvin

    Also (this is for some of your readers), you have to remember that ALL of this artwork was done by *HAND* with only sketchy (the pun wasn’t intended, but it stays) information from the game designers as to what they, conceptually, were creating. No Photoshop, hardly ever any airbrush (unless the game was big-budget) and they were running on a time-constraint.

  11. I can’t imagine having to create that art on a short turn and having to add depth to those 8 Bit games.

  12. I love it, it’s perfect. Thanks for inviting me to see this great art. Godspeed!

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