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Old Article Revival: Terrible Box Art in Gaming, Part 3: Sega Master System Extravaganza

Terrible Box Art in Gaming, Part 3: Sega Master System Extravaganza

This entry stars the system that is perhaps most synonymous with terribly uninspired box art, the Sega Master System.

Crudely Drawn Game Elements

Far and away the most prevalent of all Master System box art cliches is this one, featuring a white grid, a rather amateurish piece of artwork in the lower corner, the game's title in a plain font, and little else to speak of.  Even the handful of two-game cartridges don't stray from this format:

TWO pieces of generic artwork instead of just one!

"What the hell is that?"

Is it a microwave?  An old 1960s mainframe?  What are these symbols?

Actually, it's one of the many terminals you'll need to hack into with the symbols you find in order to complete the game.  You'd think they'd go with a guy firing a laser gun or something over this rather nondescript image, since the whole game was promoted as a space-themed action adventure game.

A girl and a bald guy shooting at some kind of... confetti-launching robot, I guess?

A headless wrestler giving his own severed head a headlock?

Sega Cards

Before Konami was putting the gamebox on the game's box, Sega was putting the game card on the cover of the box, perhaps as a means to advertise their new game format.  I think the reduced price and large letters proclaiming "The Sega Card" would have done the trick, but hey, I'm no marketing expert.

Stock Artwork

Later on, Sega would simply resort to copying artwork from other sources, official or not.  Derivative, I suppose, but at least the result was more aesthetically pleasing than the generic stuff seen above.