Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Japanese Sega Art Book of Sheer Beauty

Now, video game art books are by no means a rare thing in Japan, but Sega ones seem to be few and far between. However, I manged to find this one on Ebay some time ago and won it for about £12. The book contains a variety of artwork from many Mega Drive and Game Gear games, starring the main front cover art as full page spends and littered with character art from the lovely full colour manuals they got over there. More after the jump.

The book splits the games into genres: Role playing, Action, Shooting, Driving & Sports, Simulation and Others. Each game has info about the game as well as comments about the art by the artists themselves. better yet, the book is in Japanese and English. It even tells you what art tools were used to produce each piece.

The first bunch of pages in the book present Segas lineup of RPG's. This is a must buy for fans of Phantasy Star and especially the Shining series, which gets 12 pages dedicated to it's various Mega Drive and Game Gear releases at the time, including full page cover images and tons of character art. Other games shown off include Vermilion, Landstalker and Rent a Hero.

In the action section, the longest in the book, Sonic gets a nice six pages dedicated to him, showing off art from Sonic 1 and 2 and well as art for the Game Gear Sonic 2. Did you know the names of all those different animals you could save when you bopped open a badnik? Well look above and now you'll know. I can't say I've ever seen artwork of Beckie the bear before, and take note how she has a white collar thing a lot like Knuckles' one.

There's also 12 pages dedicated to all the Golden Axe games, 5 for Bare Knuckle (Streets of Rage), 5 for Wonder Boy and 6 for Shinobi. No Revenge of Shinobi/Shinobi III art though, it's all from Shadow Dancer and the Game Gear games. Oh well, they're still nice.

Everyone should recognize this Altered Beast artwork, as it was also featured on the western box for what was the first Mega Drive pack-in title. What you may not have seen before the in the left half of the artwork, which was cut off in our boxes but shown in full on the Japanese box.

Alex Kidd also gets a short 2 page look in, although there's none of that classic Master System art, justthe Mega Drive game which in Japan has a crude but cute cover. The less said about any of our Alex Kidd "art" the better.

The Shooting section is pretty small but contains some memorable art from Super Thunder Blade, Space harrier, Gain Ground and Arrow Flash as seen above. This was back in the day when anything remotely anime-looking would be swiftly replaced with serious, realistic characters, but even in Japan it seems anime style art is not too common in the era of Sega games featured. This book was published in 1994, although there doesn't appaer to be any games in here any later than 1992.

The racing & Sports section almost entirely consists of baseball games. There is seven pages of baseball, all very similar to each other. Those Japanese sure love their baseball, but this is a waste of a good few pages. Also featured is the Super Monaco Grand Prix artwork you may remember, and some fantastic Outrun art that I'm going going to attempt to scan in.

Finally the 'Simulation & Other' section features an assortment of games that we mostly didn't get over here, including this Game Gear version of Pengo. The art above is by the same guy that illustrated the Sonic cover art as well as some Outrun art also in the book. As fantastic as it looks is there any particular reason why the penguin in his art looks more like a duck? Mind you, Pengo is also green and red, so what do I know.

I have no idea what this game is. It's the only Mega CD game featured in the book and has this bonkers artwork that even the artist doesn't like.

Over all the book is rather ace and well worth the money I spent on it. The quality of the artwork featured is a mixed bag as was box art from Sega games at the time in general, but the artists notes and fantastic full page spreads for some truly classic games made up for it. You should especially purchase it if you are a fan of Sega's RPG heritage. I'm going to have a go at scanning some pages tomorrow so they can be turned into wallpapers and the like.


Ryan said...

Alright, you say I should "especially purchase it", but how? It's from eBay right? You know of any other locations I can find this beautiful "thing" at?

Barry said...

Hey Ryan, I felt the same way you did. Then I found the book for 37 USD on ebay and snatched it up! Looks like ebay (and overly priced on Amazon) are the only ways to go. Seems to be out of print now.

Ben said...

Gee Wiz i wish i could find one of
those to go with my Sega Genesis Games

Eisner said...

Did you scan the Altered Beast image? I want to vectorize that pic, blow it up, and use it for side art on a Sega arcade. I am not the biggest fan of the old AB side art, that image is way better.

Thanks for the blog, by the way.

The GagaMan(n) said...

@Einser I did not namely because it's spilt across two pages and the middle is pretty hard to get a good scan of without ripping the pages out or something.