Games In Bits: Master System Mayhem

written by Chris "Christmas" Milling on 30.8.13 Sega-Master-System-Set

Ahh the SEGA Master System. For an 8 Bit system it has graphics that are as fresh as a milky burp from the mouth of a new born baby Jesus and sound that is so good, it’s as if angels are crying heavenly blubs right into your lobe-holes.

The Master System was a much loved console in much of Europe and yet, it’s sales were eclipsed in America and Japan by the Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom, despite the fact that SEGA’s baby was the technically superior machine.

Was this because SEGA, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to provide it’s stonking array of quality games with the kind of box art generally reserved for knock off toys from Poundland? Feast (or should I say fast?) you’re eyes on this compendium of crunk…


Luckily, most purchased Master System came with an in-built copy of the classic platformer Alex Kidd in Miracle World, so most were spared this disparaging eye-sore.

I mean, what the fock are we looking at here?

Wonder Boy

It seems that Sega had lifted all of their cover ideas by looking at the doodles in the discarded maths books of bored kiddies who just wished that they where in an art lesson instead of learning long multiplication. In fact many of them sorely needed those art classes so they could learn which bits of the face that they SHOULD NOT leave out.

Secret Command

The command is so secret that it should never be spoke of, luckily our agent has no mouth.

It’s not just body parts that are missing. What kind of Kung Fu expert forgets to put on one of their shoes. Perhaps he’s a drunken master.

Kung Fu Kid

I love these for so many stupid reasons. Maybe it’s the lack of thought that went into cover marketing at the time, or perhaps I’m just fascinated to know what childhood trauma caused these brain embolisms to blurt out all over this graph paper.

My Hero

It’s interesting to imagine that the above is just a snippet of a completed drawing. Perhaps the troubled teen artist drew a full image of two punks fighting on top of a pile of his baby sisters burning Barbie dolls. The mind does indeed boggle.

Gangster Town

Even the addition of crudely placed motion lines can’t make our super-stiff Gangster look at all animated. At least he looks happy eh? In Gangster Town nobody can shoot straight. In SEGA town nobody can draw straight.

On the subject of being straight, here’s one Robot who most likely isn’t. Look everybody it’s Pre-Optimus Prime.


It’s unusual that SEGA dumped out this kind of crummy box art considering that even the humble Master System ports of arcade beasts such as Space Harrier had exceptional graphics. You’d think that they would have been better off just taking a game still for the cover.


Instead, they hired the assistance of mentally ill artists.

Space Harrier

Similarly great visual games, such as the little known but rather fantastic platform shoot em up Quartet, got this shoddy treatment.


Thrilling… just geometrically thrilling.

The reasoning behind using box graphics that were inferior to the actual game graphics confuses and confusticates my brain engine. It’s the video game equivalent of this…

No Frills

I mean, the next image is like a ‘how to’ of completely removing all atmosphere from your chosen subject.

Ghost House

…and the box art for the ill-fated card system versions of these cartridges didn’t add anything except the employment of a hand model.

Ghost House Card

Of course I saved the best (see: worst) couple for last and here is something that could only have been un-crumpled from the waste paper bin of the school counsellors office. Get a load of this twisted brain-wrong…

Pro Wrestling

He just wasn’t a child who mixed well with others.

Finally, here below where it belongs, is nothing more than a crudely drawn foot rendered by some paint drinker who is probably more vegetable than human. The leaked brain yoghurt that was originally smeared over this useless crock of fock has been thankfully removed from this image via the bitter sweet mercy of Photsohop.

Black Belt

Hard to believe that this travesty represents a port of a Hokuto no Ken game (Fist of the North Star), so you’d think that SEGA would have no shortage of decent art drawn by competent illustrators, YOU’D THINK!

Before I leave you believing that I just joined in on the school bullying of the SEGA Master System, let me just pull my jock like hands away from its wedgie and remind you that they were not the only 8 Bit culprits of blasé box art.

The captain of the school sports team, Nintendo, caught Megaman mid-seizure for this little freak show.


Yes mum, that’s the game I want. Buy me that one.

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One Response

  1. 7 Game Boxes That Make You Hate The Wii | Mature Gaming said

    [...] want to see more bad game covers have a look at our recent article on Sega Master System box art (link) or just buy a Wii and a bunch of games before a few years pass and they become hip and [...]

    October 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm

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