Classic SEGA titles reimagined by the hottest artists in entertainment and video games

Jet Set Radio, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star and Shinobi among first prints of SEGA-inspired artwork

Amsterdam gallery Cook & Becker asked some of the hottest artists working in entertainment and video games today to draw and create a print of their favourite classic SEGA games.

The idea was to create a series of beautiful prints that would capture the heart of these classic brands, their aesthetic and what they meant for people playing them and growing up with them.

"We decided to work with the original rights holders and artists working in games and entertainment today - people who grew up with these classics - to make new prints that would capture the feeling of those games," said Maarten Brands from Cook & Becker. "It's a sort of tribute art, but officially licensed and made in conjunction and with direction of the rights holders and people on the original teams if they were still there."

The artists created the prints under art direction of Cook & Becker and SEGA, working from the original assets. Made under official license, they prints are fine art Certified Art Giclees, available in a limited-edition of 200 each.

 Image: Phantasy Star by Kilian Eng

Digital artist Kilian Eng is well-known for his retro scifi and surreal landscapes. His prints and posters are in high-demand with collectors and he has worked on images and covers for many Marvel, Disney and HBO brands. 

"When I learned about this project I thought it would be fantastic to get the opportunity to work on Phantasy Star," he explained. "I remember several older SEGA games fondly, but Phantasy Star was my first pick. It was really fun digging into the Phantasy Star universe again after so many years since I last played it. It’s a really good game with a lot of nostalgic value for me."

Image: Golden Axe by Gerald Parel

Artist Gerald Parel works freelance and is part of concept art and design studio Sixmorevodka. He is best known for his Marvel comic book cover art.

"When I was a teenager, I was very much into Conan and all things barbarian,” recalled Parel. “So when around that time I played Golden Axe, even only for a few hours, it left a precious mark in my memory. It was THE barbarian game in my book.”

“Then decades later, I noticed Mastodon's riff man was playing on a Gibson called 'Golden Axe' and it brought back so many good memories! The choice to pick Golden Axe was then obvious when I started working with Cook & Becker."

Image: Shinobi by Emmanuel Malin

French artist Emmanuel Malin is a designer in the creative industry, but also creates art. His almost analogue-looking digital paintings often have a lot of Asian influences and, as he revealed Shinobi played a part in that.

"I remember when the first Shinobi was out on Master System,” said Malin. “I was so frustrated because I didn’t have the console, and as a kid, I was totally fascinated by Ninjas. The mix of martial arts, swords, shurikens, and the great outfits were a winner for me !"

"After a long wait, I finally got my hands on The Revenge of Shinobi on the Megadrive, which remains one of my greatest videogame memories.”

“I am still playing it on 3DS when the need for old-school platformer kicks in. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to paint a tribute to the game, with an emphasis on demons and dark magic."

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Image: Jet Set Radio by Roman van der Haven

Roman van der Haven is a visual storyteller and 3D character artist, active in both the art market and in the creative industry, with past clients such as Nintendo and Guerrilla Games. He has created ads, toys and prints.

"Jet Set Radio is maybe my most favourite game,” he said. “To be able to make a new piece under SEGA's flag was one of my dreams come true."

"Jet Set Radio is such a rich world, full of character. We decided to go with the current design, a clear and iconic image of Beat running for the cops. I had to be respectful to the source material but also to add my own, unique style to it."

"Working with SEGA's creatives on the composition and style was an interesting and fun experience."

Image: Streets of Rage by Julien Renoult

Julien Renoult is a leading concept/character artist, currently working on a project at MMO game maker Trion Worlds.

Recently he was the lead concept artist on Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive. He worked on Nikes The Last Game ad for the Brazilian World Cup as well as the 2012 BBC's London Olympics promo animation.