AMTIX! issue 2, 1985 Marsport

Roger Kean asks Oliver how he conceived the striking cover for AMTIX! issue 2, 1985 – Marsport

AMTIX! issue 2, 1985 Marsport

Gargoyle Games did well with most magazines with their large-sprite animations and action-adventure overtones. They did well by Oliver Frey as well, with Tir Na Nog and Dun Darach (which caused a stir at newsagents for its graphic depiction of dominatrix bondage!) featuring on covers as well as Marsport.

‘Although the principal action takes place inside the Mars Dome, I felt it would be too restrictive for the cover and so moved hero John Kepler Marsh out onto the planet’s surface,’ Oli says in recollection of the job. ‘This also allowed me to depict the station as a fantastic rock excrescence with the dome perched on top.’

Looking more like a Nordic leather biker than space-faring soldier, Marsh’s potency is indicated by the phallic column of rock, which counters his action pose and makes for a balanced and powerful composition. ‘I only had the example of screenshots to go by in judging what is uniform should look like, and so it’s all imagined,’ Oli says. ‘In fact, the entire painting is an imaginary collage because he is outdoors and yet carries his helmet under his arm in spite of the lack of atmosphere on Mars, and that is because this kind of action composition needs an expressive face to provide impact. Because computer interaction is a function of the game, I added the warped keyboard to frame the alien Sept.’

These elements, the keyboard base supporting Marsh, the Sept and leading into the rock tower, all tilted at an angle, form a classic cinematic, pyramid composition which comfortably incorporates the magazine logo ‘It’s very much a picture of textures,’ Oli adds. And he’s right – the gorgeously slick black leather (or is it a man-made fibre?) contrasts with the scratchy details of the rock column, itself set against the smooth expanse of space. As a hint of danger, the only green in the picture is found in the alien’s eyes – green for danger. Watch out!

This article was published in FUSION magazine

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