Back to portal

The Covers 3 of 7:
The Middle Years 1986 -88

All images are clickable thumbnails

199 Range

The classic Mastertronic look was becoming rather familiar and perhaps a little old-fashioned by 1986. The look was changed but rather than a smooth shift from one style to another, it seemed to go in stages. 

The first major break with the original look came early on, with Nonterraqueous. The Spectrum version had the same inlay as the C64 (shown here) and was released in April 1985. The picture within a black border has been replaced by a dramatic, full cover image trying to burst out of its boundaries. There is no name strip across the top.


But it was to be a year before any other inlays showed a similar change in design.  For example, Space Hunter,released in October 1985, shows the "classic" 199 look, with the corner flash showing machine type, a black background, the Mastertronic name strip at the top, the "M" logo with superimposed "199 range" at the foot and a hard-edged, but rather flat and uninspiring, piece of artwork. 

Skyranger (April 1986) shows the transition to the new format. The name strip has gone, the picture is full size and the "M" logo is tilted without a 199 reference. The tilted M continued to be used for a long time by Mastertronic Inc

P.O.D (October 1986) shows the full new look, with the name strip moved to the base, the "M" logo is gone and the corner flash replaced by a strip along the top.

The new look lasted for about two years, when the takeover by Virgin Games prompted a rethink about how we presented budget games.


  MAD games were also redesigned in step with the changes in the 199 range. In April 1986 we released Knight Tyme and Countdown to Meldown. The latter shows the use of full colour (replacing the dotted background used in the first MAD releases) and the replacement of the original MAD Games logo by the "silver shield". Later releases, such as 180 (The Atari version shown here was released in August 1987) show the full machine type strip over the top and a stretching of the silver shield, as well as the cartoon look that had become dominant in the 199 covers.