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Check Out These Interpretations of Classic Mega Drive Artwork

Brighton artist Billy Mather is going back to his childhood for a new series.

by Mike Diver; Illustrations by Billy Mather
29 February 2016, 7:17am

Billy Mather's take on 'Altered Beast' (game originally released for the Mega Drive in 1988)

Video gaming is a pretty visual medium, for the most part. So, sometimes, it's enough to just sit and look, rather than bash buttons and rage-toss pads into stud walls while calling your best friend something completely savage. And here's a chance to do just that.

Billy Mather is a Brighton-based artist who has previously contributed to VICE, drawing Gordon Freeman and G-Man for a 2014 piece on Half-Life 3 – or, rather, the lack of it. His work can be seen around the south-coast city, as he creates posters for gigs at several Brighton venues and for local events. His illustrations have travelled beyond Sussex, and even the UK, being shown in places including Brooklyn and Berlin.

He's recently started a series in which he filters classic Mega Drive box art through his own distinct style, resulting in illustrations that are both deliciously nostalgic but very in keeping with his more contemporary designs. Here are four of them, which Billy has kindly allowed VICE to publish. We asked him if we could because we think they're cool. Hopefully you do, too.

Says Billy, of these four pieces and his on-going series:

"Sega was a big part of my childhood. Most weekends from the age of seven to 12 were spent either playing a Mega Drive game with friends, or pleading with my mother for the measly £1.50 to rent a game from Video World. They even let you pay on return!

"The difficulty curve during that era was pretty steep – either that, or we were crap gamers – so we really immersed ourselves and dedicated a lot of time to completing them. And all those hours of playing on the Mega Drive ensured that these games became hardwired into my brain.

"I've been in the grip of nostalgia for most of my adult life, and I noticed that a video game influence had begun to creep into my art work, in subtle things like colour schemes or characters being shown only in profile, like a 2D platformer. I wanted to create a series that dealt with that fandom and nostalgia directly, so I started my Sega series, creating my own re-imaginings of these iconic cover designs.

"This will be an on-going series but I started with just a few of my favourite games which coincidentally (or perhaps not?) are also my favourite cover designs."

'Streets of Rage' (1991)

'Alex Kidd In the Enchanted Castle' (1989)

'Golden Axe' (1989)

Related, on Motherboard: The Unsung Heroes Behind Early Video Game Music

If you dig these illustrations, you can find out more about Billy's work – and even order prints – via his website, here. Follow Billy on Twitter at @BillyMatherArt, and VICE Gaming at @VICEGaming.