At Heritage Auctions, we love video games, and we love art. That’s why we are super excited for our Jan. 19-21, 2023 Signature sale featuring more than 80 original works of art created during the production of various video and computer games. We’re offering box art, ad art, preliminary art, and more, including a spectacular piece consigned by a certain Saturday Night Live alumnus.
Video game art is a burgeoning but often overlooked field, and it’s rare to find so many works available in one auction. Every piece in this sale is special, but we’ve decided to highlight five of our favorites for your perusal.
The Detroit Pistons dominated the NBA during the late ‘80s, winning the title in 1989 and 1990. Their center, Bill Laimbeer, was the baddest of the “Bad Boys,” playing a rough-and-tumble type of roundball you really don’t see anymore. He even got his own video game, Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball, and we feel privileged to offer the original ad art for the game. The image does an absolutely fantastic job capturing the game’s over-the-top, violent, futuristic vibe–George Carlin would be proud.
Certain NES games live on for decades after they were released, including such landmark titles as Metroid, Super Mario Bros., and The Legend of Zelda. We feel that Bionic Commando belongs in this category. Not only do people have fond memories of playing the game, it holds up remarkably well today. This action/adventure platformer featuring a protagonist who uses his extendible arm to pull up onto high platforms and swing to distant ledges was clearly ahead of its time. That’s why we are super stoked to offer the game’s box art, which is colorful, dynamic, and absolutely action-packed!
We’re big comic book fans here at Heritage Auctions and sell hundreds of them in our auctions each week, so we are certainly no stranger to Jim Lee, one of the true greats. Along with such stylists as Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld, Lee ushered in a new wave of comic book art during the 1990s. And he remains a master of the craft! We’re offering a gorgeous concept piece Lee created for Gotham Knights, an action/RPG video game based on the Batman: Gotham Knights comic book series. Based on clicks so far, this is one of the most popular pieces in this sale, and we can certainly understand why—it’s absolutely stunning!
From time to time, we have famous consignors here at Heritage Auctions, and we are delighted to offer original Prince of Persia box art owned by Kevin Nealon of Saturday Night Live fame. Nealon, who also starred in the TV show Weeds and several Happy Madison films, not only is the consignor for the piece, he was the model for the Grand Vizier Jaffar. Artist Robert Florczak was friends with Nealon and asked the comedian to pose for the work, to which Nealon readily agreed. Now, all these years later, Nealon has decided that the art belongs in the hands of a collector. Along with Jim Lee’s Gotham Nights masterpiece, this is one of the most important lots in this sale.
One of the biggest, most display-worthy pieces in our January sale is by Mick McGinty, one of the more prolific artists we know of when it comes to video games. His work on the Streets of Rage 2 promotional painting we’re offering is particularly impressive. It features Axel, Max, Skate, and Blaze, the playable characters in the game, striking an awesome group pose. Back in the day, I played the heck out of Streets of Rage 2 with my son, and I can’t imagine a cooler item hanging in our game room. I’m already jealous of whomever wins this amazing work of art by one of the best in the business!