Bits from my personal collection – Electronic Arts – The Small box era

Electronic Arts original US small box releases, 1988-1991.

Founded by Trip Hawkins, a former Apple employee, in 1982.
After 4 years of publishing and releasing in the LP folio-style format, Electronic Arts changed to the more common small box format, used by most other publishers at the time.
This didn’t mean they moved away from their very cool way of honoring the developers as artists and “superstars”, which were a big part of the folio-design on the earlier releases, this idea was very much kept throughout the small box years, showing both pictures and telling about the developers.

A great time
I played most of the small box games in the late eighties and early nineties, some were played on our IBM/PC we had at home, some were played on friends C64’s and Amiga’s, but no matter the platform these games were absolutely great and for me really defines an era in my gaming life. I might go out on a limb here but I personally don’t think EA published one bad game in a small box – a really big feat when we take a look at how different most of these games are from each other, ranging from action, sports, RPG, Simulations, fighting and strategy – and when we look at how fierce the competition was at the time.

Legends never dies
Madden NFL which is widely popular today saw it’s beginning in this era, with the very first Madden game, John Madden Football released in 1988 (partly developed by Bethesda Softworks). Since its first release Electronic Arts has sold more than 100 million copies of Madden NFL.img_6587.jpgEarl Weaver Baseball, which spawned a few sequels, was a smash hit in 1987 and alongside John Madden Football really helped pave the way for the EA Sports brand which were launched in 1991-92. We all know EA Sports today for titles like NBA Live, NHL, Madden NFL, FIFA, and Nascar.

Wasteland the grand farther of futuristic post-apocalyptic RPGs, developed by Interplay and published by Electronic Arts, became the basis of the original Fallout game, which is still spawning sequels to this day.img_65601.jpg

Wasteland saw a sequel in 2014 with inXile Entertainments successful Wasteland 2 Kickstarter campaign. InXile was formed in 2002 by Interplay founder Brian Fargo and has most of the original Wasteland crew on board.

Modem Wars, the first multi-computer online game, Modem Wars was played over a modem connection between two machines (via telephone or null modem serial connection). Features such as fog of war, varied unit types, terrain, and formations, all now standards in the genre, were implemented despite the daunting technical limitations of late 1980s computers. img_65741.jpg

Dynamix. Before Dynamix started to publish their own titles, and before they were bought by Sierra On-Line, they developed a great array of titles in the mid to late eighties some of these titles were published by Electronic Arts – titles like Skyfox, Caveman Ugh-Lympics, Abrams Battle Tank and, in my opinion, one of best games for the C64, Project Firestart, developed at Dynamix and designed by Jeff Tunnel and Damon Slye. Project Firestart was released by Electronic Arts in 1989img_65611.jpg

Starflight has been widely praised by both contemporary and modern critics and is one of the earliest instances of a sandbox game. It led to the development of a sequel, Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula, and influenced the design of numerous other games for decades after its first release.img_65691-e1524064009381.jpg

Here we have my Electronic Arts small box collection for the various platforms I used to play these fine gems on back in the days.

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