Cart Art: It’s a Kind of Imagic

Based on the overwhelming success (and by overwhelming I mean the fantasy number of page views in my mind) of October’s month long theme of Halloween Cart Arts, we will keep the themes on coming. For the month of November, we will look at the covers for one publisher, for one system. This time, we will look at the covers from Imagic during the run of the Atari 2600. That’s enough exposition, let us get down to business. . . .and business is goofy.

Fathom
fathom

Alright, so what do we have here? We have. . . . . .THE MOST EVIL MERMAID EVER! Is it not enough that mermaids use their temptress songs to lure sailors to their death, but do need to have the glowing red eye treatment? Thank goodness she is behind bars. Unless we are behind bars and she is looking in on us, like we are stuck in some sort of underwater zoo. Dang you my evil merfolk captors! However, I do enjoy the placement of the neon sign bar. Classy. I have never played this game, but at any point does a bird morph into a dolphin? Does the evil mermaid cause this transformation? This cover only raises questions. . . salty, water logged questions.

Quick Step
quick step

According to the top, this is “New” Quick Step. Was there an old Quick Step? As you can see, this cover continues the use of neon light style objects that we saw in Fathom. Even the animals are neon. Wait a minute. Is this the game where they force animals to play on the game grid if they get digitized into the computer system, ala Tron? Is Sark monitoring the game grid smugly, pitting Byte the Squirrel against Meg the Rabbit? Is is that easy to tell I am way too into Tron right now? That’s silly, no one can be “too” intro Tron. Well, Tron Guy, he is way too into Tron.

Moonsweeper
moonsweeper

Imagic is famous for their use of real world photos on their covers (the best of all time will be the last on this list). With the cover of Moonsweeper, we have some poor guy having to sit in a space suit while someone takes photos of him reaching over some rocks. Now, the devil is in the little details of this image. First, don’t you think they could have come up with better fake spacesuit gloves? They look like just a pair of latex surgical gloves. They are so terrible that if you look on the spaceman’s left arm (to our right), you can see a gap between the suit and the gloves, you can see his skin. That’s not a good protective seal! Ok, well that different color might just be a shadow but I like to think it is just a poor job by the designers of the shot. Look at the rocks our cosmonaut is climbing over, towards the left. Is that a ram’s head formation in the rocks? Heck, if the mountains in the background are laser blue, why are the rocks up front realistic? I can only hope the Space Invader rip-off ship in the background opens fire and ends this wacky cover.

Solar Storm
solar storm

Another “NEW!” game. When they were creating the prop helmet for the cover, didn’t anyone stop and say “You know what guys, I think we have glued enough random crap onto the top of this thing.” The the boss comes in, “No! More crap! I want this helmet to look like surface of the Death Star during the trench run. Paint some old gumdrops white and staple them on! More, more, more!” As if the helmet was not enough, the guy is wearing a pair of wide shoulder pads. Right below the right shoulder pad (our left) it looks like they tacked on the back wing of a hot wheel car. Remember Cart Art fans, sometime enough is indeed enough.

Demon Attack
demon attack

If you knew anything about Imagic covers, you knew this was coming up. This is one of the crown jewels of the video game cover world. This cover is either the most super radical awsome cover of all time or one of the dumbest pieces of poo ever. Let us call a spade a spade. This cover was made when someone, some mad genius took a few dinosaurs toys they had lying around, glue gunned some airplane wings and missiles on them, spay painted them a metallic silver and took photos of them flying through space. I mean, wow! Silver dinosaurs fighting with missiles in space. How could you not buy this game if you saw the cover in the store. What little kid would pass that up? It has space, dinosaurs, missiles, everything a young video game playing child would love. Yet this cover, taken at face value is incredible ridiculous. I will say it again, silver painted dinosaurs with fighter jet wings in space! I could say it a billion times and it still doesn’t get old. I will leave it up to you to decide the level of awesome this cover has. That’s your own missile launching Tyrannosaurs Rex to bare.

Thus ends another edition of Cart Art. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave send me an email at OffisaPups@retroist.com or leave a note in the comments section. If there is a theme or cover you would like to see in a future Cart Art, please comment or email away. Now if you excuse me, I need to go super glue some old candy corn onto a silvered stegosaurus so it can defend me from the vile merfolk and their evil neon electric bunny rabbits.

OffisaPups

OffisaPups is a lover of fine retro gaming (video as well as board), classic comic strips and has a noggin filled with decades of television ads and song lyrics. Due to fears of a zombie apocalypse, do not approach OffisaPups while groaning, staggering with out-stretched arms, or requesting brains. Needless to say, OffisaPups has a very understanding and patient wife and a daughter who has no hope of a normal, non-dork upbringing.

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7 thoughts on “Cart Art: It’s a Kind of Imagic

  1. vinvectrex says:

    Phenomenal! I’m impressed that you picked a few of the more obscure Imagic titles for this selection. Aside from the infamous Demon Attack, I mean. I think Demon Attack truly represents the golden age of video gaming. When some guy could glue wings on dinosaurs and sell it to a company as cover art. I’m just not picturing that ever happening again…truly an age has passed. Anyway, I’d rather meet some flying dinosaur in a dark alley than that evil mermaid. Although I suppose if she was in the alley, I might be able to make a run for it while she flops after me.

  2. I own and have played Demon Attack numerous times, but I do think I ever really look at this art this carefully. Chrome looking T-Rex with wings!? How is that not something more people talk about?

  3. @Vinvextrex Yeah, but what if she sent her Dolphin/Seagull hybrid after you? I’ll stick with the space faring T-Rex.

    Am I wrong OffisaPups or is there another Demon Attack cover?

    @Retroist I’ll see you query and raise you, why is this Demon Attack art not on a T-shirt?

  4. mwentworth says:

    Ahhhh…Fathom! I must make time to sit down and finish that game. I still have the cardboard map I made as a kid. And by kid I mean about 19. Looks like I made it to about 2/3 through level 5 of 7. I must have thrown the box away, I don’t remember the scary mermaid. Sooo….what is my motivation for freeing her again??? Morgan

  5. @mwentworth Possibly saving all our lives if you beat the game? Maybe the scary mermaid is like Samara from the Ring? ;)

    @OffisaPups I think the other cover is better suited for some metal album cover!

  6. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Between the Tron-inspired covers of Moonsweeper and Quick Step (which I never played – how is that possible?), and neon mermaids from hell, Imagic cart art instantly wins me over, every time.

    Demon Attack is on my short list of greatest 2600 games.

    But to this day, Demon Attack’s central flying silver dino puzzles and disturbs me because it seems he is being propelled forward by a big rocket that is *not on his back*!

    Back then, it was fodder for many many jokes from my friends whilst I was trying to convince them of the wonderfulness contained within.

    Nowadays, it reminds me to get a prostate exam.

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