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A celebration of C64 loading screens

Stephen Robertson (aka SIR)
Prolific C64 artist with ninja pixel skills. Did most of his loading screen work for Firebird and Hewson. Made the loading screen for one of our most obsessively played Commie games - I, Ball. Here Stephen picks four of his favourites from his own vast portfolio of work.

Cybernoid was an excellent shooter and quite famous at the time, so I was honoured when asked to draw a new loading screen for a C64 release. It was the trickiest of all the box art copies I attempted, but it turned out to be one my closest renditions. I remember looking at the box art upside down to get the spaceship just right, as it was easier to judge the shape that way.

This was for a superb digital drum kit sequencer and I really wanted to do it justice; but it was very hard to come up with a decent concept. I remember working right up to the deadline, then stalling for more time so I could finish it.
Thankfully it turned out well, and it’s only picture I drew that was printed in the box screenshots, which is slightly ironic. Loading screens were often copies of box art, but only rarely were they part of the box art itself.

I have very fond memories of this screen, because it’s the first one I was commissioned to do. I’d sent in a demo disk to Activision, and their head Rod Cousins passed it onto Oxford Digital Enterprises, who asked me to draw a loading screen for their new Titanic game. They offered me £100 - double my weekly wage at the time – and asked if that was reasonable. ‘Very, very reasonable’, I calmly replied – but inwardly I was ecstatic at getting my first ever job in computer games.

I loved the opportunity to draw an original loading screen, with the creative freedom it gave me. Originals would be based on my impressions of the game, and great ones like the budget scrolling shooter Warhawk would inspire me tremendously. I recall being very pleased with how this one turned out, and it got a bit of attention when uploaded onto Compunet – the C64’s 'internet' of the day.

August 12, 2009


Implausible in the 80s. Now it's fact


Mmmmmm. Retro


Four classic stages painstakingly re-created

Matt Cundy
I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.