I’ve been a gamer since the age of 8 when my dad brought home a second- (possibly even third-) hand Intellivision system knock-off with a battery compartment that was truly minging. It was packed to the rafters with Pong and other games that looked intriguingly similar to Pong but had exotic names – like Tennis, Table Tennis, and Badminton…and Tennis II. In this article Graphic Designer, Graham P. Ryan talks about 80s & 90s Computer Game Logos.
By the age of 9, I was being subjected to branding on an awesome scale. I didn’t know it then, of course, but it laid down the first slabs of crazy paving that formed my journey to design.
Christmas 1983 and a 9-year-old me saw the Commodore C64 introduced to the Ryan household and my time as a gamer began – occasionally I scaled the dizzy heights of mediocrity, but mostly I was just plain old crap. Those were the 8-bit days of yore. When you had to imagine the main characters and scenes resembling the packaging artwork. And I mean really imagine, proper squinting and everything.
In the following years, the likes of U.S. Gold, Ocean, Activision, Thalamus, Sensible Software, Llamasoft, Hewson, Gremlin Graphics, Accolade and System 3 ruled my world, all overseen by the knowing eye of Zzap! 64 – an incredible magazine full of insight and brilliant writing, and Olly Frey’s stunning artwork adorning every issue.
I was a Commodore fanboy for sure. After the Chunky Fudge I bought an Amiga, and then a CD32 (an early example of why I should never walk into a tech shop on payday).
The CD32 then became a feature in my little brother’s room after I’d discovered the delights of Tennants Extra and a couple of years later a little grey box came into my world, but it wasn’t so much the Playstation that would leave a defining mark on me…
Instead, that was left to one of the European launch titles.
wipEout by The Designers Republic.
I look back on it now, and the design work is still stunning.
The User Interface wasn’t so many streets ahead of the competition as concrete concourses that zoomed off into the distance held aloft only by the dreams of a million geeks.
Almost 25 years on nothing, in my mind, comes close. Taking something as limited as the original Playstation was and doing something so intrinsically futuristic, Japanese-styled, the then Sheffield-based design team headed by Ian Anderson & Nick Phillips touched a sci-fi nerve in me that only Farscape, Firefly and The Expanse have since liberally jangled.
I was utter garbage at the game. My little brother completed it in a week, whereas I was still on level three after a year. I didn’t play it to win, though. I played it to be immersed in the design world The Designers Republic had bestowed upon it.
My career path eventually brought me to design.
It took a while… much like my Wipeout lap times.
I hope you have found this article about 80s & 90s Computer Game Logos interesting and be sure to leave your comments below I would love to hear from you.
Also check out: Classic Arcade Video Game Logos From 80s and 90s
Graham P. Ryan is a Graphic & Digital Designer who specialises in illustration and magazine work. When not working he can be found watching rubbish films or being exasperated at the mess the kids have left the house in. You can find Graham on LinkedIn, and Behance
Also published on Medium.