Art of the Genre

I was at my yearly game retreat last March and one of my friends had a copy of the third printing, of the initial release, of Gamma World by TSR in 1981. Since the game had been designed in 1978 by James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet, it had a certain old school feel, but it wasn’t until I actually picked up a physical copy and held it in my hand that I realized all the artwork for it was done by Dave Trampier.

That simple fact alone makes this version of the game highly important to the hobby in general, and so today I’m looking at Trampier’s work on Gamma World and thinking about the post-apocalyptic worlds of the 1970s like Death Race 2000 or Damnation Alley.

Seeing what Trampier had to go on, I’m fairly convinced his take is very accurate for the time period, and frankly the only thing he is missing are some half-naked women in there.

The cover art, which frankly is one of his most juvenile pieces, still captures the imagination and paints a very vivid picture of the world in which the game takes place. Now remember, the basics of Gamma World 1st Edition was more as a pure strain human reclamation project, ala Metamorphosis Alpha, and not the mutant playground we saw in later additions.

This concept is reflected in the artwork where humans in tech-friendly gear search a world lost to the ravages of global nuclear war. Trampier’s interiors do have strange beasts, to be sure, as well as plant life, but watch the human aspect and you easily understand the overall flow of the game.

I will, however, say that when Tramp does take on creatures, his vision is outstanding, and I’m still taken with his mutant bunnies [the Hoop, or ‘flopsies’ as they’d later be called].

All-in-all, this is a fantastic game for 1978, and I think it still holds up well today if you are looking at it with a Grognard’s eye.

Artistic Rating: 3 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — October 14, 2014


Todd Lockwood:

Nice! A case of the DTs to start the day. The good kind of DTs, that is . . .

October 14 2014 at 01:10 PM


Todd: You are correct about that!

October 14 2014 at 03:10 PM


Later Editions, not additions.

October 14 2014 at 04:10 PM


I was saying later additions to the overall canon :)

October 14 2014 at 08:10 PM

Leave a comment

Support Great Art Nostalgia with the new Eye of the Beholder KS!

What I'm Thinking...