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Found 10 results

  1. Feature: Review: Sonic Mania

    Sonic has spent last 15 years or so as gaming’s most reliable punchline. Poorly received modern titles have been exemplified by laughable storytelling, ill-conceived gimmicks, and, often times, broken gameplay. This left old-school fans to ask the eternal question: Why can’t Sega just make the games like they did on Sega Genesis? For the hedgehog’s 25th anniversary, Sega assembled a dream team of talented indie developers, all of whom have worked on Sonic-related ports and passion projects, to do just that. On its surface, Sonic Mania takes the series back to tried-and-true basics. That entails 16-bit graphics and sound, classic side-scrolling platforming, and three beloved characters as opposed to 37 inane critters. But Sonic Mania prevails as more than just a polished highlight reel of the Blue Blur’s best moments. A slew of creative, new ideas experiment and expand on Sonic’s classic design for wonderful results. Sonic Mania’s formula feels like the team designed it using two steps: Give players what they remember and then spice it up with a new take. The first Acts of classic areas like Chemical Plant Zone and Hydrocity Zone play largely the same with new twists sprinkled about. Changes include adding enemies and other elements that didn’t appear originally. One of my favorite examples was using the flame shield from Sonic 3 to spark raging oil fires in Sonic 2’s Oil Ocean Zone. Act 1 allows fans to re-familiarize themselves with old favorites while making them feel new again. Meanwhile, newcomers get a general idea of what these stages were originally like and maybe see why people loved them in the first place. On to the designers’ second step: Presenting the spicy new take. Upon reaching the second act, classic tunes take on a remixed form and everything gets flipped on its head. Chemical Plant Zone suddenly features giant syringes that inject goo into the chemical sea, turning it into a bouncy surface. Quicksand-like trash piles litter Sonic & Knuckles’ Flying Battery Zone. The designers did a masterful job of incorporating their own crazy ideas into the original templates. The new elements don’t feel out-of-place or negatively disrupt the zone’s original flow. Rather, they complement and, in some cases like Chemical Plant Zone, improve upon it. Unfortunately, the impact these changes have will be lost on players unfamiliar with the the old levels, though newbies should still find them enjoyable. But for seasoned players intimately familiar with the old games, Act 2 feels like an exciting and unpredictable treat. A batch of imaginative new stages stand proudly beside the series’ best levels. I had a blast zapping through satellite dishes and playing powerball-style mini-games in the film-themed Studiopolis Zone. Mirage Saloon Zone has a cool blend of western aesthetics with magician elements. The new zones play wonderfully and sound just as good thanks to toe-tapping original scores composed by famed Sonic remixer, Tee Lopes. For Sonic diehards, the sprinkles of obscure nods to the series’ history offer even more sources of enjoyment and nostalgia. Boss battles take place at the end of each Act instead of one per zone, meaning a lot of them. Thankfully, most feel inventive and offer good fun with only a couple of duds. They can also be as surprising as the stages themselves. One memorable bout pits a pint-sized Sonic against Eggman’s gashapon (a Japanese vending machine) style ship. Hitting a knob on the ship dispenses capsules containing mini versions of past Eggman contraptions, like the classic airship and drill car, that must be taken out first. A Puyo Puyo Tetris showdown ala Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine may be my favorite bout in terms of pure fan service. Collecting chaos emeralds involves finding hidden ring portals leading to a UFO chase special zone inspired by those in Sonic CD. Fun and challenging, I especially like how the team intentionally rendered these stages in crappy polygonal graphics that harken back to the Sega Saturn era. I can’t express the same enjoyment for the return of Sonic 3/Knuckles’ “collect the blue orbs” bonus stages. Granted, I was never a fan of this mini-game even in its time, so take this as a very personal gripe. The rewards for beating these stages include new abilities, like Sonic CD’s Super Peel Out, AKA “the figure-eight run”. The high frequency of these bonus stages became irritating because of their low barrier for entry. About 25-30 rings opens them at each checkpoint, meaning you have to halt your adventure to visit them multiple times per stage. Those who enjoy these mini-games will probably be okay with this. I began ignoring them entirely towards the end in favor of continuing uninterrupted. Outside of the main game, a time attack mode and the Sonic 2 versus competition mode, where two players race through maps, offer decent diversions. Chaos emerald collection stands as the main source of replayability, as does playing the entire game as Knuckles. You can also play the story co-op with a partner controlling everyone’s favorite two-tailed fox, Tails. Somewhat surprisingly, Sonic Mania is a tough game. Some rust with playing classic Sonic may have been a personal factor, but completing stages often left me breathing a sigh of relief. At times, the game throws every obstacle it can muster to bring Sonic to his knees. Especially the latter stages, such as the Titanic Monarch Zone, a cool but barely comprehensible labyrinth of enemies and other forms of “ouch.” I saw the Game Over screen more often than I care to admit and never had more than 6 lives throughout the game. On top of carrying over Sonic’s best qualities, Sonic Mania also inherits some of the series’ less savory traits. Forward momentum still takes an annoying time to get going when you’ve been stopped cold. You’ll hit hidden spring pads you’d never know to avoid until after Sonic’s been sent careening into a well-placed hazard. Underwater areas remain an anxiety-spiking series of traps seemingly designed to make you want to punch the screen. The end-level inverted animal pod once pushed me through the ground, killing me in a glitch befitting of the 90s. I found that my patience for this kind of stuff has waned since the that decade. Be prepared to scream “Oh, come on now!” at periodic intervals. Conclusion: Sonic Mania retains everything that made the Blue Blur a household name in the first place, for better or worse. Thankfully, the hedgehog’s positive aspects shine brighter. This lovely-crafted celebration of Sonic’s most beloved era stands as his best outing in many years. Newcomers and modern fans get to enjoy a well-made look at an icon’s past. Long-time enthusiasts can feel a bit of vindication now that their hero has one good game under his belt (in this decade). On a personal and cheesy note, Sonic Mania made me the happiest Sonic fan since I bragged about the games in grade school. Sonic Mania was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and available now for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The PC version arrives August 29. View full article
  2. Review: Sonic Mania

    Sonic has spent last 15 years or so as gaming’s most reliable punchline. Poorly received modern titles have been exemplified by laughable storytelling, ill-conceived gimmicks, and, often times, broken gameplay. This left old-school fans to ask the eternal question: Why can’t Sega just make the games like they did on Sega Genesis? For the hedgehog’s 25th anniversary, Sega assembled a dream team of talented indie developers, all of whom have worked on Sonic-related ports and passion projects, to do just that. On its surface, Sonic Mania takes the series back to tried-and-true basics. That entails 16-bit graphics and sound, classic side-scrolling platforming, and three beloved characters as opposed to 37 inane critters. But Sonic Mania prevails as more than just a polished highlight reel of the Blue Blur’s best moments. A slew of creative, new ideas experiment and expand on Sonic’s classic design for wonderful results. Sonic Mania’s formula feels like the team designed it using two steps: Give players what they remember and then spice it up with a new take. The first Acts of classic areas like Chemical Plant Zone and Hydrocity Zone play largely the same with new twists sprinkled about. Changes include adding enemies and other elements that didn’t appear originally. One of my favorite examples was using the flame shield from Sonic 3 to spark raging oil fires in Sonic 2’s Oil Ocean Zone. Act 1 allows fans to re-familiarize themselves with old favorites while making them feel new again. Meanwhile, newcomers get a general idea of what these stages were originally like and maybe see why people loved them in the first place. On to the designers’ second step: Presenting the spicy new take. Upon reaching the second act, classic tunes take on a remixed form and everything gets flipped on its head. Chemical Plant Zone suddenly features giant syringes that inject goo into the chemical sea, turning it into a bouncy surface. Quicksand-like trash piles litter Sonic & Knuckles’ Flying Battery Zone. The designers did a masterful job of incorporating their own crazy ideas into the original templates. The new elements don’t feel out-of-place or negatively disrupt the zone’s original flow. Rather, they complement and, in some cases like Chemical Plant Zone, improve upon it. Unfortunately, the impact these changes have will be lost on players unfamiliar with the the old levels, though newbies should still find them enjoyable. But for seasoned players intimately familiar with the old games, Act 2 feels like an exciting and unpredictable treat. A batch of imaginative new stages stand proudly beside the series’ best levels. I had a blast zapping through satellite dishes and playing powerball-style mini-games in the film-themed Studiopolis Zone. Mirage Saloon Zone has a cool blend of western aesthetics with magician elements. The new zones play wonderfully and sound just as good thanks to toe-tapping original scores composed by famed Sonic remixer, Tee Lopes. For Sonic diehards, the sprinkles of obscure nods to the series’ history offer even more sources of enjoyment and nostalgia. Boss battles take place at the end of each Act instead of one per zone, meaning a lot of them. Thankfully, most feel inventive and offer good fun with only a couple of duds. They can also be as surprising as the stages themselves. One memorable bout pits a pint-sized Sonic against Eggman’s gashapon (a Japanese vending machine) style ship. Hitting a knob on the ship dispenses capsules containing mini versions of past Eggman contraptions, like the classic airship and drill car, that must be taken out first. A Puyo Puyo Tetris showdown ala Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine may be my favorite bout in terms of pure fan service. Collecting chaos emeralds involves finding hidden ring portals leading to a UFO chase special zone inspired by those in Sonic CD. Fun and challenging, I especially like how the team intentionally rendered these stages in crappy polygonal graphics that harken back to the Sega Saturn era. I can’t express the same enjoyment for the return of Sonic 3/Knuckles’ “collect the blue orbs” bonus stages. Granted, I was never a fan of this mini-game even in its time, so take this as a very personal gripe. The rewards for beating these stages include new abilities, like Sonic CD’s Super Peel Out, AKA “the figure-eight run”. The high frequency of these bonus stages became irritating because of their low barrier for entry. About 25-30 rings opens them at each checkpoint, meaning you have to halt your adventure to visit them multiple times per stage. Those who enjoy these mini-games will probably be okay with this. I began ignoring them entirely towards the end in favor of continuing uninterrupted. Outside of the main game, a time attack mode and the Sonic 2 versus competition mode, where two players race through maps, offer decent diversions. Chaos emerald collection stands as the main source of replayability, as does playing the entire game as Knuckles. You can also play the story co-op with a partner controlling everyone’s favorite two-tailed fox, Tails. Somewhat surprisingly, Sonic Mania is a tough game. Some rust with playing classic Sonic may have been a personal factor, but completing stages often left me breathing a sigh of relief. At times, the game throws every obstacle it can muster to bring Sonic to his knees. Especially the latter stages, such as the Titanic Monarch Zone, a cool but barely comprehensible labyrinth of enemies and other forms of “ouch.” I saw the Game Over screen more often than I care to admit and never had more than 6 lives throughout the game. On top of carrying over Sonic’s best qualities, Sonic Mania also inherits some of the series’ less savory traits. Forward momentum still takes an annoying time to get going when you’ve been stopped cold. You’ll hit hidden spring pads you’d never know to avoid until after Sonic’s been sent careening into a well-placed hazard. Underwater areas remain an anxiety-spiking series of traps seemingly designed to make you want to punch the screen. The end-level inverted animal pod once pushed me through the ground, killing me in a glitch befitting of the 90s. I found that my patience for this kind of stuff has waned since the that decade. Be prepared to scream “Oh, come on now!” at periodic intervals. Conclusion: Sonic Mania retains everything that made the Blue Blur a household name in the first place, for better or worse. Thankfully, the hedgehog’s positive aspects shine brighter. This lovely-crafted celebration of Sonic’s most beloved era stands as his best outing in many years. Newcomers and modern fans get to enjoy a well-made look at an icon’s past. Long-time enthusiasts can feel a bit of vindication now that their hero has one good game under his belt (in this decade). On a personal and cheesy note, Sonic Mania made me the happiest Sonic fan since I bragged about the games in grade school. Sonic Mania was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and available now for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The PC version arrives August 29.
  3. Zipping around Green Hill Zone as the Sega’s flagship hedgehog on my Genesis ranks among my fondest gaming memories. As the quintessential Genesis kid, I bought into Sega’s marketing of Sonic as the embodiment of everything radical about the 90’s as I tried (and failed) to adopt that signature ‘tude into my own life. Thankfully, his games backed that up that advertising hype with well-designed platforming fueled by the hedgehog’s impressive sense of speed. As Sonic sped into the 3D era, his quality and appeal began a steady decline. The 3D-style gameplay introduced in Sonic Adventure never grabbed me the way the side-scrollers did. The rapid introduction of insipid side characters and increasingly convoluted plotlines made me pine for the days when Sonic was just a cool dude protecting his forest from a maniacal scientist. I, like many like-minded Sonic fans, were mystified as to why Sega couldn’t just stick to the winning formula that put Sonic on the map in the first place. But then Sega finally listened. Last summer, the publisher announced Sonic Mania, a game that can be aptly described as “that exact thing you old fogeys used to like but a bit better”. The retro-style throwback is an amalgamation of the best parts of Sonic’s Genesis heyday, and a well-crafted one at that. I got my hands on Sonic Mania during E3, playing through Act 1 of the reimagined Green Hill Zone. Sonic Mania scratched all the right itches: tight, identical controls and physics of the original (something Sonic 4 lacked), a hum-worthy soundtrack of remade tunes, and a nostalgic presentation. It really does play like the titles I obsessed over as a kid. But as I landed the final blow on Robotnik’s Death Egg robot at the demo’s conclusion, I couldn’t shake the sense that these memories felt too familiar. Probably because they more or less are those memories, just remixed with better music. I appreciate Sega greenlighting such a fan-focused passion project, but I can only imagine how much more excited I would be if they pitched the same concept but with entirely fresh content. New stages, never-before-seen enemies, additional power-ups, an original story – all wrapped up in a classic 16-bit package. As much as I enjoy Chemical Plant Zone, I’ve spun up and down its pipes enough to last a lifetime. Take that classic gameplay and apply it to something new, and Sega could have the comeback the hedgehog desperately needs. That’s not to say Sonic Mania won’t be a blast on its own merits. I knew I was going to purchase it the moment it was announced, and playing it for myself solidified that decision. Thus far it’s a fun and accurate throwback to a simpler period in my life. I smiled gleefully throughout the entire demo. However, it's impossible for me to ignore the overwhelming amount of creative potential that was left on the table. I guess I’ll have to wait until the game’s launch on August 15 to see if nostalgia alone is enough to resurrect my ailing childhood hero. View full article
  4. Zipping around Green Hill Zone as the Sega’s flagship hedgehog on my Genesis ranks among my fondest gaming memories. As the quintessential Genesis kid, I bought into Sega’s marketing of Sonic as the embodiment of everything radical about the 90’s as I tried (and failed) to adopt that signature ‘tude into my own life. Thankfully, his games backed that up that advertising hype with well-designed platforming fueled by the hedgehog’s impressive sense of speed. As Sonic sped into the 3D era, his quality and appeal began a steady decline. The 3D-style gameplay introduced in Sonic Adventure never grabbed me the way the side-scrollers did. The rapid introduction of insipid side characters and increasingly convoluted plotlines made me pine for the days when Sonic was just a cool dude protecting his forest from a maniacal scientist. I, like many like-minded Sonic fans, were mystified as to why Sega couldn’t just stick to the winning formula that put Sonic on the map in the first place. But then Sega finally listened. Last summer, the publisher announced Sonic Mania, a game that can be aptly described as “that exact thing you old fogeys used to like but a bit better”. The retro-style throwback is an amalgamation of the best parts of Sonic’s Genesis heyday, and a well-crafted one at that. I got my hands on Sonic Mania during E3, playing through Act 1 of the reimagined Green Hill Zone. Sonic Mania scratched all the right itches: tight, identical controls and physics of the original (something Sonic 4 lacked), a hum-worthy soundtrack of remade tunes, and a nostalgic presentation. It really does play like the titles I obsessed over as a kid. But as I landed the final blow on Robotnik’s Death Egg robot at the demo’s conclusion, I couldn’t shake the sense that these memories felt too familiar. Probably because they more or less are those memories, just remixed with better music. I appreciate Sega greenlighting such a fan-focused passion project, but I can only imagine how much more excited I would be if they pitched the same concept but with entirely fresh content. New stages, never-before-seen enemies, additional power-ups, an original story – all wrapped up in a classic 16-bit package. As much as I enjoy Chemical Plant Zone, I’ve spun up and down its pipes enough to last a lifetime. Take that classic gameplay and apply it to something new, and Sega could have the comeback the hedgehog desperately needs. That’s not to say Sonic Mania won’t be a blast on its own merits. I knew I was going to purchase it the moment it was announced, and playing it for myself solidified that decision. Thus far it’s a fun and accurate throwback to a simpler period in my life. I smiled gleefully throughout the entire demo. However, it's impossible for me to ignore the overwhelming amount of creative potential that was left on the table. I guess I’ll have to wait until the game’s launch on August 15 to see if nostalgia alone is enough to resurrect my ailing childhood hero.
  5. You'll get a lot, and I mean A LOT, of different answers if you ask a group of gamers about the best Sonic the Hedgehog game. Some are die-hard supporters of 3D-era Sonic, some will swear by the 3D Sonic Revival that happened after Sonic 2006, and some maintain that there were never any good Sonic the Hedgehog games at all (an opinion that might start some flame wars in certain corners of the internet). However, if there is one thing that most people can agree on it is that Sonic's best streak of games was found on the Sega Genesis. Sonic Mania pursues that ear of nostalgia perfectly in the trailer released today. The trailer features animation work done by Tyson Hesse, the artist and author of the comic Diesel. The music comes courtesy of the YouTube channel Hyper Potions. Together with Sega, Hesse and Hyper Potions managed to really capture a the retro feel of the franchise while covering it in a new coat of paint. Oh, and Sonic Mania will be returning to the franchise's Sega Genesis roots with 2D platforming. Players will be able to play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles that brings fans all new levels, reimagined versions of classic stages, and boss battles. I mean, look at that trailer! It definitely left me smiling. Sonic Mania releases on August 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Fans can also nab a Collector's Edition of the game that comes with a Sonic/console statue, a faux cartridge with a golden ring, and a big, ol' box. The old timey commercial Sega put together to advertise it is pretty funny, so check that out below.
  6. You'll get a lot, and I mean A LOT, of different answers if you ask a group of gamers about the best Sonic the Hedgehog game. Some are die-hard supporters of 3D-era Sonic, some will swear by the 3D Sonic Revival that happened after Sonic 2006, and some maintain that there were never any good Sonic the Hedgehog games at all (an opinion that might start some flame wars in certain corners of the internet). However, if there is one thing that most people can agree on it is that Sonic's best streak of games was found on the Sega Genesis. Sonic Mania pursues that ear of nostalgia perfectly in the trailer released today. The trailer features animation work done by Tyson Hesse, the artist and author of the comic Diesel. The music comes courtesy of the YouTube channel Hyper Potions. Together with Sega, Hesse and Hyper Potions managed to really capture a the retro feel of the franchise while covering it in a new coat of paint. Oh, and Sonic Mania will be returning to the franchise's Sega Genesis roots with 2D platforming. Players will be able to play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles that brings fans all new levels, reimagined versions of classic stages, and boss battles. I mean, look at that trailer! It definitely left me smiling. Sonic Mania releases on August 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Fans can also nab a Collector's Edition of the game that comes with a Sonic/console statue, a faux cartridge with a golden ring, and a big, ol' box. The old timey commercial Sega put together to advertise it is pretty funny, so check that out below. View full article
  7. Sega made an appearance at SXSW Gaming to reveal the game they've been working on under the title of Project Sonic 2017. Now dubbed Sonic Forces, the trailers only show 40 seconds of in-game footage and a little over a minute of CG cinematics. We don't know much about the upcoming Sonic game, but we do know that it looks awfully similar to Sonic Generations and Sonic Adventure, though certainly darker in tone. Forces has classic Sonic teaming up with modern Sonic to kick Dr. Eggman out of a post-apocalyptic future. The gameplay trailer shows Sonic racing through a city under siege by Death Egg Robot sentinels and the cinematic introduces classic Sonic. The robot attack causes explosions and fire to spread through the city as Sonic races through streets filled with robot enemies, spike traps, and speed boosters. Series veteran Takashi Iizuka will be directing Sonic Forces and has confirmed that the title is a standalone entry in the franchise with no connection to Sonic Generations. Sonic Forces will release this holiday season for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox one, and PC. You can watch an hour long recap of Sega's time at SXSW if you're still craving more Sonic tidbits.
  8. Sega made an appearance at SXSW Gaming to reveal the game they've been working on under the title of Project Sonic 2017. Now dubbed Sonic Forces, the trailers only show 40 seconds of in-game footage and a little over a minute of CG cinematics. We don't know much about the upcoming Sonic game, but we do know that it looks awfully similar to Sonic Generations and Sonic Adventure, though certainly darker in tone. Forces has classic Sonic teaming up with modern Sonic to kick Dr. Eggman out of a post-apocalyptic future. The gameplay trailer shows Sonic racing through a city under siege by Death Egg Robot sentinels and the cinematic introduces classic Sonic. The robot attack causes explosions and fire to spread through the city as Sonic races through streets filled with robot enemies, spike traps, and speed boosters. Series veteran Takashi Iizuka will be directing Sonic Forces and has confirmed that the title is a standalone entry in the franchise with no connection to Sonic Generations. Sonic Forces will release this holiday season for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox one, and PC. You can watch an hour long recap of Sega's time at SXSW if you're still craving more Sonic tidbits. View full article
  9. Game Box Artist Greg Martin Passed Away

    The creator of iconic box art that included Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Bonk's Adventures, and Bomberman II died last May. CVG broke the story after an obituary from one of Martin's friends appeared on the Nintendo Age forums. Head over to the full forum thread to pay your respects and view collections of the artist's work. It appears that a combination of factors contributed to keeping this news from being reported earlier. However, the primary reason appears to be because box art illustrators aren't always credited for their work and the friend who started the thread commemorating Martin's work didn't know about Martin's death until recently. As a kid growing up during a time when the internet was in its infancy and video game journalism was pretty much unheard of outside of Nintendo Power (to which I never had a subscription), box art meant a lot. There is the old adage to never judge a book by its cover, but when it came to video games that was often the only way to decide whether to purchase, or more often times rent, a game. There were precious few reviews to be had other than word-of-mouth or whatever could be gleaned from Funcoland employees. Box art was what sold you on a game as a kid. It fueled your imagination for what the game would be like and also helped you visualize what was going on in-game. It made the difference between watching a tiny collection of pixels hop around a colorful screen and knowing that sprite was a swashbuckling duck in search of adventure and treasure. Part of the fun of playing a game was exercising your imagination and envisioning what was happening on the screen as being more real than it appeared. Box art helped give those imaginings direction. Whether he knew it or not, Greg Martin's work helped generations of people fall in love with video games. I used to wonder where the art on video game boxes came from, who made it, if it was ever intended to be the face of the game, etc. I didn't know Mr. Martin's name until today. I didn't know that he worked for years as an illustrator at Hanna-Barbera, the animation company behind the Flinstones, Jetsons, Yogi Bear, and Scooby-Doo. I didn't know that he worked with Jack Kirby and Seth McFarlane. There are tons of things that I don't know about Greg Martin and will never have the opportunity to know. However, I do know that he spent many sleepless nights working on images that defined my early years and helped make my life a happier one. Many people might not know it, but Greg Martin had a hand in shaping our childhoods and I, for one, am sorry to see him go. Here's to you, Greg. Thank you.
  10. The creator of iconic box art that included Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Bonk's Adventures, and Bomberman II died last May. CVG broke the story after an obituary from one of Martin's friends appeared on the Nintendo Age forums. Head over to the full forum thread to pay your respects and view collections of the artist's work. It appears that a combination of factors contributed to keeping this news from being reported earlier. However, the primary reason appears to be because box art illustrators aren't always credited for their work and the friend who started the thread commemorating Martin's work didn't know about Martin's death until recently. As a kid growing up during a time when the internet was in its infancy and video game journalism was pretty much unheard of outside of Nintendo Power (to which I never had a subscription), box art meant a lot. There is the old adage to never judge a book by its cover, but when it came to video games that was often the only way to decide whether to purchase, or more often times rent, a game. There were precious few reviews to be had other than word-of-mouth or whatever could be gleaned from Funcoland employees. Box art was what sold you on a game as a kid. It fueled your imagination for what the game would be like and also helped you visualize what was going on in-game. It made the difference between watching a tiny collection of pixels hop around a colorful screen and knowing that sprite was a swashbuckling duck in search of adventure and treasure. Part of the fun of playing a game was exercising your imagination and envisioning what was happening on the screen as being more real than it appeared. Box art helped give those imaginings direction. Whether he knew it or not, Greg Martin's work helped generations of people fall in love with video games. I used to wonder where the art on video game boxes came from, who made it, if it was ever intended to be the face of the game, etc. I didn't know Mr. Martin's name until today. I didn't know that he worked for years as an illustrator at Hanna-Barbera, the animation company behind the Flinstones, Jetsons, Yogi Bear, and Scooby-Doo. I didn't know that he worked with Jack Kirby and Seth McFarlane. There are tons of things that I don't know about Greg Martin and will never have the opportunity to know. However, I do know that he spent many sleepless nights working on images that defined my early years and helped make my life a happier one. Many people might not know it, but Greg Martin had a hand in shaping our childhoods and I, for one, am sorry to see him go. Here's to you, Greg. Thank you. View full article