Like many Mega Man fans out there, we at Retrvolve have always been fascinated by the American box art for Mega Man and Mega Man 2. (In the 23rd episode of the Half-Glass Gaming podcast, we spend a bit of time pondering the mysteries of such art.)
An an interview conducted by NintendoAge at the 2012 Portland Retro Gaming Expo (and archived by Rockman Corner), Marc Ericksen, the artist behind the Mega Man 2 cover, explains how it came to be:
What happened was I had to go down to Capcom and do a game they just got in from Japan. They had a beta version; they were in a hurry to get this thing out. So I went down there. The gentlemen was the art director was there with the beta guy and they were waiting for me and I came with my pad and they started running the game. What we saw was this little pixelated figure of the famous Mega Man running around on the screen shooting. Bang, bang, bang, he’s shooting obviously like this with his arm. So I said to the art director, “what is he shooting? What is he shooting with?” The art director said, “he must have a pistol because I don’t see that he’s got a rifle so he must have a pistol.”
“So… a pistol? You want me to do a pistol?” And he said, “yeah, let’s put a pistol in there.” So I did what I was told and I put the pistol in there. Add to the fact that they only had, like, a day and a half for me to do the painting and what you wound up with was not the greatest result but certainly a result that was not my fault.
We’re inclined to believe Ericksen that the badness of the cover art wasn’t really his fault. After all, he’s the same guy behind the Choplifeter cover art, which is pretty cool.
He’s also got his own website (RetroGamesArt.com) filled with his incredible art, so check that out and maybe snag yourself a T-shirt or print with some video game history on it.