It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Bob Wakelin, one of the most prolific video game cover artists of his generation.
The name might not be familiar - especially if you're reading this in North America - but Wakelin's creations will be instantly recognisable. A one-time Marvel UK contributor, he is perhaps best known for his work with the now-defunct UK publisher Ocean, and throughout his career produced covers for Nintendo titles such as Contra (NES), Rainbow Islands (NES), The New Zealand Story (NES), Mr. Nutz (SNES) and many more besides.
However, it would be his work on computer formats such as the Spectrum, C64, Atari ST and Amiga which would give him enduring fame, at least in Europe; he illustrated the covers for titles such as Midnight Resistance, Batman, Wizball, Head Over Heels and Hunchback, to name but a few.
Wakelin's art was one of the key reasons Ocean became as big as it did during the '80s and '90s; he once admitted that the publisher looked to him as a means of making average games sell:
A couple of times the guys at Ocean said to me 'Look Bob, this game really isn't very good so we need an extra special cover.'
I suppose I should feel guilty for it.
The gaming community has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the great man:
Our thoughts are with Wakelin's family at this very sad time. Bob, you made countless childhoods that little bit more exciting with your work; you will be sadly, sadly missed.