Art Alive – Review

Remember when you were bored in computer classes in the pre-internet days of the early 90s? You had the choice of playing Solitaire or, if you were artistically minded, trying to create a some art with Microsoft Paint. Sega decided to make an alternative version for the Mega Drive. Did it inspire a generation of pick up their proverbial paintbrush and express themselves, or was Sega’s attempt to bring “Paint” to their console a smudge on the face of electronic easels around the world?

Art Alive is a paint program developed by Western Technologies and Farsight Technologies, and published by Sega, and Tech Toy for the Megadrive. It was released in 1991 in North America, and Europe and Japan in 1992. The Mega Drive version I chose to review was lent to me by a friend.

My wife is a professional illustrator and so I asked if she would give up some time in her busy schedule to review the game for me. This is what she said:

“I didn’t read the instructions, but the game was easy to learn and fairly intuitive. Even though there was a limited palette, the ability to use patterns was neat, even if they were only 16-bit. The SFX became very annoying very quickly, especially when accessing the menu. It was disappointing too that music was only played when certain tools were used. Having music throughout would have made the game more enjoyable. The limited nature of the title would make the modern gamer become bored very quickly. However, I’m sure it would have been more engaging when it was released.”

(Screenshot taken by the author)
Yes, I am a fan of the Retro Game Squad podcast. (Screenshot taken by the author)

Did She Complete The Game:


What The Critics Said:

Entertainment Weekly: “More of a toy than a game, Sega’s draw-and-paint program is pretty colourless compared with what you can accomplish on some mid-range personal computers, but it’s still a welcome alternative to those burnt out on mindless shoot-’em-ups. Overall C+”[1]

My Verdict:It’s basically Microsoft Paint…but for the Mega Drive. It might be worth picking up if you’re a collector, but other than that, I doubt it is even worth acquiring for your children, if you have any.”


What are your memories of Art Alive? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.

[1] Strauss, B., (January 31st, 1992). ‘The Latest Video Games’. Entertainment Weekly. ( Accessed 14th December 2019).