Adapted from BOX=ART
Peter Andrew Jones (frequently signing his pieces “PAJ”) is a British artist that illustrated video game box art for nearly every major British publisher, including Domark Software Ltd., Image Works, Gremlin Graphics Software Limited, Psygnosis Limited, and U.S. Gold Ltd.
While attending Saint Martin’s School of Art in London, friends and lecturers took note of Peter’s highly-developed skill of rendering realistic imagery. His rendering ability enabled convincing depictions of characters and worlds that didn’t exist, which lent itself well to the fantasy and science fiction genres. Peter produced his first commercial science fiction work for Puffin Books—the cover art for Penelope Farmer’s A Castle of Bone—while still in school, and within a few weeks he was also creating covers for Panther Books. So even before graduating in 1974, Peter’s career had taken off with a bang, and he very quickly earned respect as one of the foremost illustrators of the science fiction genre during the 1970s.
By the early ‘80s, Peter’s work would make it onto game boxes. The first known game box to feature Peter’s artwork, Llamasoft’s 1983 space shooter Laser Zone, was actually reused artwork first commissioned in 1975 as the cover for a collection of Isaac Asimov short stories titled Buy Jupiter. In what would be a somewhat common trend for European box art—with perhaps Laser Zone representing an early example—most of Peter’s early credits for game box art, including for every game published by Psygnosis/Psyclapse, had in fact first been painted for book covers.
While some of Peter’s art reused on game boxes shared no relation to the paintings’ original usages, his second box art in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum game The Warlock of Firetop Mountain had begun in 1982 as wraparound artwork for a role-playing paperback book cover of the same name (the first in the now-legendary Fighting Fantasy series), both published by Puffin Books. Virgin Games’ Falcon: The Renegade Lord was also based on a 1985 book of the same name published by Sphere, and similarly Peter’s artwork was carried over for the project.
Peter’s first pieces of art commissioned specifically as game box artwork appear to have come in 1988, with Gremlin Graphics’ Dark Fusion and U.S. Gold Ltd.’s Echeon.
However, the following year, Gamestar Software’s Alien Legion (no relation to Frank Cirocco’s comic work of the same name) would reuse artwork Peter first painted for a 1977 for science fiction compilation book Deep Space. This trend of reusing book art would continue for every Psygnosis game featuring Peter’s art:
- Blood Money (1989) - cover art for Larry Niven’s Protector (1979)
- Stryx (1989) - cover art for Mick Farren’s The Neural Atrocity (1977)
- Matrix Marauders (1990) - cover art for The Imperial Stars (1976)
- Spell Bound (1990) - cover art for The Enchanter Compleated (1980)
- Cytron (1992) - cover art for Jerry Pournelle’s Future History (1980)
Though Peter had made a name for himself as one of the foremost science fiction and fantasy book illustrators, some of his most impressive works were those done exclusively for games. Standout images include Interphase (1989) and Omnicron Conspiracy (1990), both for Image Works, as well as the Capcom-developed and U.S. Gold Ltd.-published Black Tiger (1990). Compared to his work for book covers, illustrating game boxes gave Peter the opportunity to branch out stylistically. Box art such as Badlands (1990) and Venus the Flytrap (1990) are less realistic than Peter's book work, featuring tighter, action-packed scenes that may have also introduced more airbrushing into his process.
With all of Peter’s exclusive game box art commissioned between 1988 and 1992, his game catalog represents just a small sliver of his professional career, both temporally and in volume. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) has recorded an exceptional list of Peter’s book illustrations spanning more than 20 years. Beyond his game catalog and deep oeuvre of book art, Peter has done work for film posters and advertising in addition to contributions to many BBC TV and commercial TV programs and projects.
Peter’s own website features a rather robust biography of his life and works, from which OVGA has drawn some of this information.
OVGA has included below Peter Andrew Jones' full known video game box art catalog. Titles marked in purple indicate reused works:
- Laser Zone (Llamasoft | Commodore 64, Dragon 32, VIC-20, ZX Spectrum | 1983)
- The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Puffin Books Ltd. | ZX Spectrum | 1984)
- Falcon: The Renegade Lord (Virgin Games Ltd. | Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1987)
- Echeon (U.S. Gold | Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64-EUR, ZX Spectrum | 1988)
- Dark Fusion (Gremlin Graphics | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1988)
- Alien Legion (Gainstar Software Ltd | Amiga | 1989)
- Artura (Gremlin Graphics | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum | 1989
- Badlands (Domark Software | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1989)
- Black Tiger (U.S. Gold | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1989)
- Blood Money (Psygnosis | Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS | 1989)
- F.O.F.T – Federation of Free Traders (Spotlight Software | Amiga, Atari ST | 1989)
- Interphase (Image Works | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1989)
- Last Duel: Inter Planet War 2012 (U.S Gold | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1989)
- Stryx (Psygnosis | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1989)
- The Kristal (Addictive Games Ltd. | Amiga-EUR | 1989)
- Targhan (Silmarils | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Macintosh, DOS | 1989)
- Dynasty Wars (U.S. Gold | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum | 1990)
- Knights of the Crystallion (U.S. Gold | Amiga | 1990)
- Matrix Marauders (Psygnosis | Amiga, Atari ST | 1990)
- Omnicron Conspiracy (Image Works | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS-EUR | 1990)
- Spell Bound (Psyclapse | Amiga | 1990)
- Venus the Fly Trap (Gremlin Graphics | Amiga, Atari ST | 1990)
- Gauntlet III: The Final Quest (U.S. Gold | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1991)
- Wheels of Fire (Domark Software Ltd. | Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum | 1991)
- Cytron (Psygnosis | Amiga | 1992)
- Shadowlands (Domark Software Ltd. | Amiga, Atari ST, DOS | 1992)
- The Big 100 (Wicked Software | Amiga, Commodore 64, DOS | 1992)