There's Nothing Like Vintage Sci-Fi Art to Liven up a Game Cover

Few things on this planet get me more excited than classic science fiction art. Wait, no. Quality classic science fiction art. Which means people like John Berkey, who is the man behind two of the best examples of sci-fi box art from the 1990s.

Berkey, who passed away in 2008, was a prolific commercial artist for much of his life, producing work that appeared on everything from calendars to advertisements. His legacy, though, is his vast collection of science fiction images, in which he draws starships and futuristic installations with an astonishing amount of detail.

His most famous works will be recognisable to Star Wars fans, as he did a few very early posters for the original film, including the iconic image used as the front cover to the novel adaptation of the screenplay.

It shouldn't be too big a surprise, then, that Berkey's art has been used by video game publishers to help sell a title. The first of these was the 1991 Genesis version of EA's Starflight, a later port of a surprisingly complex space exploration game first developed back in 1986.

The second, and more impressive of the two, was the Mac version of 1996 strategy game Star Control 3. While the PC edition featured one of the worst boxes of the decade, in 1998 Apple owners were treated not only to an incredible piece of Berkey's work across the front of their cover, but a poster of the same image as well, which even was made into a selling point of sorts.

You can buy Star Control 3 for $6 from Good Old Games, who in a smart move now use Berkey's image as the cover shot for all versions of the game.

If you're interested in seeing more of Berkey's work, this fan site has over 1200 of them.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

There's Nothing Like Vintage Sci-Fi Art to Liven up a Game Cover

There's Nothing Like Vintage Sci-Fi Art to Liven up a Game Cover