Jan 15, 2013

Retro Red Menace! Tengen's Tetrisaster!

Browse mode had me surfing the web the a couple of weeks ago, taking a break from my remaster of Tengen's Tetris, which I did the box cover art for in July, 1988.

This one's a bitch, because I have to essentially redo the art from top to bottom and side to side. My only reference were some bad parting shots I took with my SLR before putting the art in a case and driving it down to 935B Sierra Vista St. in Campbell, CA., the location of Louis Saekow Design. Unlike the majority of my pieces, I didn't have the time for a nice transparency session.

Tengen Tetris package cover design by Saekow Design
          WHY TENGEN'S RUSH?

Why there was a rush on the part of Tengen was unknown to me, but became one of the great fiascos of the early gaming era. This is a story which quickly receded into my rearview as I was immediately on to other projects. The net net was that I never got any printed samples, and in fact forgot all about Tetris, until just recently, when I began to go through my studio logs.

While I was oblivious, the Tengen Tetris story unfolded in all its glory. Retrogamers know how hard it is to find an inexpensive Tetris game in the secondary market today.


My surfing that day landed me at a an excellent Blog by Greg Gay called 4colorrebellion.com. Greg is an astounding fount of insider knowledge relating to early (as well as latter day) gaming. His prose is wonderfully readable, and his description of Tengen's debacle is extremely detailed. It was in fact, my first clear picture of exactly how it happened that Tengen had to recall all of their  games, and was forced to destroy all inventory.The result is a virgin copy of the game, never opened, is going for over a $,$$$grand.

Tengen Tetris original Instruction Booklet, 1988.


The art was delivered with plenty of bleed, meaning it had a lot of real estate that was cropped out on the cover. Those of you who had the original game saw the art in its fullest when you checked out the Instruction Booklet.
I've elected to go with the Full bleed original version, making the image nearly a square, as you can see in this unfinished form.


I'm working hard ( between free lance jobs that pay the bills ) to get this Red Beast finished. I've had a fair amount of interest expressed by retrogamers who would like a print of this particular game cover, and I intend to begin sending them out by mid year!

1 comment:

Rowan Lipkovits said...

This is great news!

Mark, do you know of any good knack to subscribe to updates to your blog here? Blogger and Google Reader are both different heads of the Google Hydra, but GR can't figure out where your RSS feed would be hiding.

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