Legacy of Greg Martin

The name may not mean a lot now, but if you remember a time when you were drawn to a game by its art on the box, be it from a Mega Drive or Game Boy game with their own unique art, you’ll know that Greg Martin created them from scratch.

On the 3rd of January 2014, Greg Martin suddenly passed away, shocking the retro gaming community.

The news broke on a retro forum called ‘Nintendo Age‘ by a friend of Greg.

Every artwork was airbrushed by hand, and would take just over a week to complete.

Some examples include:

sonic 2

milon

Spinball boxart

ducktales2 boxart

Each one had their own distinctive style to match the game, and drew you in instantly, even without seeing a single frame of the game in action.

He began his career at Hana Barbera, drawing frames for the cartoons in the mid-eighties. He then moved on to designing the box art for Sega’s ‘Mega Drive’ and ‘Master System’ console, while also creating images for Nintendo’s ‘Super Nintendo’ console. Throughout all of these systems’ lifespan, there would have been an almost-certain chance that you were drawn to the game by the box art to start with, without reading in a magazine or seeing an advert on TV showing the game in action.

The drawing he did of Sonic is something I certainly remember from that era, even having a poster that he once drew, never realizing it was all from just one person.

He was running his own website here where he was still selling his work that had appeared on many video game boxes. Whether the collections can still be bought remains to be seen, but in a time when you judge a game by it being played on Twitch or announced at E3, Greg Martin singlehandedly brought a lot of sales to games by his incredible efforts to draw the player in, and that’s an incredible achievement, and a legacy that will forever be remembered.

Daryl Baxter.

@darylbaxter

sonic

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