Art of Atari Poster Collection (2017)

Art of Atari Poster Collection (2017), curated by Tim Lapetino

When it comes to game boxes, modern games are relatively boring, if they even come in physical boxes at all. As far I recall, the decline of game box art, in general, started somewhere in the late '90s, when 3D started to play a more important part in the game technology and the boxes started to use 3D rendered imagery as their main art. Before that, the art in boxes was either directly drawn for that specific use or was based on actual conceptual art for the game. This decay of art is partly a reason why I stopped buying physical copies of games.

Now I never was an Atari kid back in the 1980s. I actually saw and learned of the Atari consoles, 2500 and 2600 etc., later on when the Internet became more dominant, so I have no nostalgic connection towards the system itself, but every time I saw pictures of the games provided for the system, I was thinking how much I liked the game box art the games were packaged in.  The games themselves aren't anything spectacular, graphically, as the Atari machines aren't really anything spectacular in today's point of view, being capable of only very rudimentary sprite-based graphics.

Back in the early ages of home-computing companies like Atari realized, that in order to sell those games, they'd need to be packaged in a way that would help in providing more visual cues to the players, hence they got themselves an array of good artists, that painted box art for the various games, ranging from sports to space shooters. Thanks to this Tim Lapetino has been able to collect some of the art into a poster collection book that nicely portrays these at times odd art pieces, trying to portray games like Tic-Tac-Toe in more finely rendered manner.

The book itself is sized 30cm by 40,5cm, roughly a standard A3 size. The pages are thick, so there's no danger of ripping the poster edges and as they are printed on both sides, there's no danger of the picture on the other side shining through. This does, however, present a problem if you want to hang the posters on your wall, as if one page happens to have two images you like, you have to make a decision of which you like more. The 40 prints themselves are very high quality, scanned from the original artwork without any logos in them. They also are ready to remove, if you so desire, but they are held on tight enough that they hold on as a book if you want to keep it intact. So overall, the book itself is of a high quality and works nicely as either of an artbook or just a source for wallhanging posters.

Art of Atari Poster Collection is a companion piece to Tim Lapetino's book Art of Atari, so if you are interested in reading more in-depth about the art, Atari and the artists, it's a recommended get. But as such, the Poster Collection works nicely on its own as well.

As I don't have a nostalgic connection to the games themselves, I can't really comment on if this particular poster collection rings any gentle bells in the recesses of my mind, but as someone who does like watch nicely painted images now and then, I do think the price tag of around 20 dollars Amazon is charging for the book is a money well spent.

I do hope that similar books and collections will be made of other notable companies as well. Companies like Sierra and Lucasarts would offer an amble source for more fantastic art to the be produced in a form like this. Not to mention all the other companies. Now, the art of computer game boxes is a bit of a lost genre, but maybe in the future, we will see a resurgence of this most fantastic art from the past.

Art of Atari Poster Collection contains the following posters, artists name last:

1. Millipede 2600 - Hiro Kimura
2. Star Raiders 5200 - Robert Hunt
3. Realsports Baseball 5200 - D. Smith
4. Missle Command 2600 - George Opperman
5. Centipede 2600 - Burrell Dickey
6. 3D Tic-Tac-Toe -Susan Jaekel
7. Asteroids 2600 - Chris Kenyon
8. Basketball 2600 - Cliff Spohn
9. Asteroids 5200 - Terry Hoff
10. Centipede 5200 - Hiro Kimura
11. Asteroids 7800 - Greg Winters
12. Combat Two - Michel Allaire
13. Demons to Diamonds
14. Crystal Castles - Judy Richter
15. Football 2600 - Cliff Spohn
16. Haunted House - Steve Hendricks
17. Haunted House (unused) - Steve Hendricks
18. Home Run - Cliff Spohn
19. Missle Command 5200 - Chris Kenyon
20. SwordQuest Fireworld - Warren Chang
21. RealSports Tennis - Terry Hoff
22. RealSports Baseball - Michel Allaire
23. Surround - Cliff Spohn
24. RealSports Basketball 2600 - D. Smith
25. Video Checkers - Steve Hendricks
26. RealSports Soccer 5200 - Chris Kenyon
27. RealSports Volleyball - Terry Hoff
28. SwordQuest Airworld - Warren Chang
29. AtariAge  SwordQuest Cover - George PĂ©rez
30. Video Pinball
31. SwordQuest Waterworld - Warren Chang
32. RealSports Basketball 5200 - Terry Hoff
33. RealSports Football 2600 - Michel Allaire
34. Star Raiders 2600 - Terry Hoff
35. Super Breakout 2600 - Cliff Spohn
36. Tempest 2600
37. Warlords - Steve Hendricks
38. Yars' Revenge - Hiro Kimura
39. Warlords Family - Steve Hendricks
40. Atari Wizard - Cliff Spohn