It's a lost joy; nowadays games either feature dull, identikit, photorealistic covers, or don't even have a cover because you've downloaded them from an online "shop".
Admittedly, it's fair to say that there were a lot of terrible games covers back in the day, but the truth is I'd still take one bad 1980s cover over 90% of modern ones.
Roger Tissyman - ha ha, funny name - worked on somewhere between 20 and 30 game covers back in the 1980s, yet his name is barely known. This is despite the fact he was responsible for one of the most iconic game covers of all time; Jet Set Willy.
Sadly, Roger is no longer with us, having passed away in 1991, but his artwork lives on. Here is a brief celebration of the idiosyncratic work he did as house artist for Software Projects.
I also love the mundane detail of the newspaper toilet paper, and general lack of good taste; Tissyman always kept Miner Willy's face hidden, and here chooses to have the character's head shoved down a toilet bowl, presumably "doing a Ralph".
I'd always believed that the penguin and the heavy work boots were a reference to the game... but no; in researching Tissyman, they're something of a hallmark of the artist, appearing again and again on his covers.
Mice often appeared on Tissyman's covers. He never signed his work, but there were always these little overt clues as to who was responsible.
According to his daughter Susan: "Nearly all his artwork would have been copyrighted, I suppose, so he couldn’t sign it. But if you look closely you might find his trade mark of a mouse. For example in ‘Lode Runner’ the mouse is in the satchel round the penguins neck, in ‘Hunchback At The Olympics’ he’s in a cup being thrown from the crowd."
Nevertheless, there's a distinct R.Crumb influence at work on the lawsuit-baiting Tribble Trubble cover.
"Roger, thanks for illustrating our advert for our new women's underwear range. We'd like to suggest a few changes, however."
"Sure. No problem."
"We'd like you to do it again, but without the penguin."
"...Can I leave the work boots in?"
"No, Roger. Just want a picture of a bra and some knickers, like we asked."
"What if the penguin was wearing a bra?"
Indeed, according to reviews at the time, there is no reference to a "McKensie" anywhere in the game - and I've just sat through an entire YouTube walkthrough to confirm this fact.
You have to wonder whether Software Projects just had the Tissyman artwork lying around and decided to make use of it, regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. Still, nice cover.