It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Bob Wakelin, one of the most prolific video game cover artists of his generation.
The name might not be familiar - especially if you're reading this in North America - but Wakelin's creations will be instantly recognisable. A one-time Marvel UK contributor, he is perhaps best known for his work with the now-defunct UK publisher Ocean, and throughout his career produced covers for Nintendo titles such as Contra (NES), Rainbow Islands (NES), The New Zealand Story (NES), Mr. Nutz (SNES) and many more besides.
However, it would be his work on computer formats such as the Spectrum, C64, Atari ST and Amiga which would give him enduring fame, at least in Europe; he illustrated the covers for titles such as Midnight Resistance, Batman, Wizball, Head Over Heels and Hunchback, to name but a few.
Wakelin's art was one of the key reasons Ocean became as big as it did during the '80s and '90s; he once admitted that the publisher looked to him as a means of making average games sell:
A couple of times the guys at Ocean said to me 'Look Bob, this game really isn't very good so we need an extra special cover.'
I suppose I should feel guilty for it.
The gaming community has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the great man:
Our thoughts are with Wakelin's family at this very sad time. Bob, you made countless childhoods that little bit more exciting with your work; you will be sadly, sadly missed.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Sun 21st January, 2018.
Sad news to wake up to. RIP good sir, your ZX Spectrum Ocean covers where the highlight of my shelves when I was a kid.
A personal favourite:
Omake: Did not know Mag Max was from him as well.
Sad to say I've never heard of them, my condolences to the family though.
Creator of some of the best cover art ever.
Very sad news.
I'd never heard of him before but I'm very familiar with his artwork. He was clearly a very talented artist. My condolences to his family and friends.
sad new to hear,
Ocean had some really amazing game covers... I never realised that just one gentleman was responsible for so many of them. I simply adored the artwork for Rainbow Islands... I still remember seeing the C64 box for the first time. It really stood out on the shop shelves.
Those take me back. A sad loss.
I always remember the Gryzor Art, as it reminded me of Predator. I didn't realise the same guy was responsible for so many different game covers. A real talent
Aww he was an amazing artist. I had 3 or 4 posters of his artwork on my bedroom wall when I was a kid.
I always loved the artwork on earlier games, as a kid just looking at that imagery would envoke all these amazing adventures and now as an adult it’s so nostalgic to look at them.
I’d love to see more covers like this again, this guy was talented and had made some cool gaming covers that made a lot of kids look at them in wonder and awe.
I wish we got more painted covers that looked this awesome these days. There's just so much character and charm to them, and they're actually imaginative and fun rather than just being generic and bland shot of dude on front with gun in boring pose and little else.
Oh, the number of times I got a ropey Ocean game for the Amstrad based on the box art... RIP, Bob.
RIP Bob. You deceived us many times with your brilliant cover designs.
Contra remains one of my favorite covers of that era. Rest In Peace, Mr. Wakelin.
RIP. Fond memories of the old Ocean box arts...
Rest in peace, fellow imagineer.
Never heard of him, nor have I heard any of his work (as far as I remember), but still always sad to hear these kind of things. Rest in peace dude!
I may not have heard of him but that still is a shame. You don't really get artistic video game covers like these anymore.
Just created a account so I could leave a message. Grew up with this guys artwork gracing the covers of New Zealand story and Rainbow islands to name but two, sad loss such a talent that made these games come to life in such an impressive way. True talent R.I.P
Interesting that you only see articles about these artists after they’ve died. I didn’t know Greg Martin’s name until news of his passing swelled up enough articles in much the same manner. Who else is left? Let’s hope we hear from them before they pass.
So many personal favourites - Head Over Heels, Wizball, Where Time Stood Still, Gryzor, Green Beret, Renegade...
Wow! I can't believe how many of those images I'm familiar with. I've played only a few of the games, that I can remember, but boy I know the covers for sure. Rest In Peace.
...back when covers truly had art on the cover. Rest in peace.
I never had Contra or GryZor U.K had Probotector but I do have Contra 4 worth every penny it was.
A talented artist and a very humble guy, he will be sorely missed. So good that I own the Wizball artwork...
Being from the States, I've only seen a handful of his work. But I say he's right up there in notoriety with the Atari 2600 game cover artists. They certainly don't make covers like these anymore, R.I.P. Bob.
His game covers were so iconic. Many game covers on Sega Genesis & SNES were definitely influenced by his work.
Thanks for the many remembered covers of my childhood. R.I.P.
Sadly I didn’t know his name but was familiar with his work, as with so many artists I’ve grown to like. He definitely contributed something to this world.
You won't be forgotten, amazing artwork for amazing games.
Very sad to hear. RIP, Bob.
His cover art was so much better than 90% of the games he made them for.
Unbelievably amazing covers. I remember most of these from my childhood. A friend had the Batman game for example. Simply beautiful artwork.
Tap here to load 32 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...