Opening up the game world
Graphic design A new book chronicles how a group of artists brought Atari’s wildest fantasies to life
Tim Lapetino’s love affair with Atari 2600 boxes began with his first console, back in 1983. He’s felt its influence throughout his career as an artist and graphic designer – so much so in fact, that the American felt compelled to write a book charting the history of console’s classic game covers.
Part of the artwork’s beauty, Tim says, lies in its use of long-forgotten techniques – as seen on covers for cult games like Video Chess and Defender and Warlords.
“The art was so powerful and excellent that it has stood the test of time visually. Those early games were almost crude by today’s visual standards, but the artwork itself wasn’t. These beautiful, striking images acted as a powerful bridge between the game players’ imagination and the gameplay itself, fleshing out the overall video gaming experience.”
The making of the Art of Atari saw Tim playing detective, as the manufacturer didn’t always credit its design and illustration teams. It was worth the extra effort, though. The book is a fitting tribute to some of game art’s forgotten heroes.
“Atari’s artwork was originally designed to stand out on store shelves and sell video games, and it has transcended that original purpose.”
To see more of Tim’s work and to order the Art of Atari visit www.hexanine.com.
The 1987 re-release of the classic game Centipede sported this fun image on the boxart. 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe featured floating grids, but the characters and slick rendered look was, unsurprisingly, absent.