Space Ace SNES
Image: @Original_VG_Art

Over the last few years, we've heard a lot of horror stories from developers and publishers about original artwork being trashed after a project is finished. But, recently, while chatting to Ibrahim Faraj of the website Original Video Game Art, they told us about a similar incident where fortunately someone had the foresight and initiative to intervene.

According to Faraj, during the clearance of Empire Interactive's studio in 2009, Don Bluth's original artwork for Space Ace on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was placed into a skip and about to be destroyed, along with various pieces of paperwork, laser discs, and PS1 style E3 displays, when an unknown collector stepped in and managed to save the lot from landfill.

From there, the artwork was then apparently sold to a collector in 2016, before Faraj managed to acquire the piece in 2020, with the intention of making a record of it online.

Since being in possession of the art, Faraj has managed to establish a direct connection with Don Bluth Studios, the animation studio responsible for creating Space Ace, and it was then that he was able to confirm that the legendary animator Don Bluth himself had designed and drawn the artwork before it was passed on to a studio artist to be painted.

As Faraj tells us:

"The discovery of the Original Box Art Painting of Space Ace for the Super Nintendo is a fascinating tale of how a valuable piece of gaming history was almost lost forever. It is a testament to the importance of valuing and preserving pop culture artefacts, even those that may seem trivial or insignificant. I hope the story of its discovery serves as a reminder that there are countless other treasures out there waiting to be found and that it is up to us to recognise their value and ensure that they are not lost to time."

Faraj has since framed the artwork to protect it from any damage and has uploaded an entry onto the Original Video Game Art website so that others can learn more about it and enjoy looking at this rare piece of video game history. It's remarkable that the piece was able to be saved, and hopefully it will encourage game companies to think twice before scrapping their art.