Folks, I’d like to introduce you to a true mystery that is driving insane. These photos were kindly posted by a game art collector who purchased them from artist Greg Winters.
The first is the (wonderful!) cover to Mindscape’s SNES Secret Missions port. The second was said to be for an insert… but it was not something found in the final product. So what the heck is it and what was it for?!
Is it even from Wing Commander? At first glance it is certainly at least referencing a bunch of WC visuals that would be appropriate for Secret Missions SNES. For instance, these readouts are straight from the Hornet cockpit:
And the armor gauge is straight from the Raptor art!
That’s absolutely a Wing Commander pilot comm on the left.
And while it’s not a proper WC layout it IS designed around a central Patriarchal radar display, something specific to WC.
So maybe it’s an insert created for the game but dropped? A different direction for the manual or a feelie (fold your own cockpit?) that was replaced by the mini poster. That makes sense… except!
It also seems to have some anachronistic details! Secret Missions came out in September 1993… but that cusp sure looks like the front of the Hellcat V cockpit from WC3 (December 1994)!
And then look closely on the right side… that looks like the ‘combined forces’ logo, again introduced in WC3!
I’m reaching out to folks connected with the game but haven’t learned anything more. Even the shape is bizarre. It looks like you could fold it like a tent card… but it doesn’t come together into anything.
Similarly it leaves blank spaces for something… but it sure seems like a small area if it were intended, for instance, to be the border of an advert or manual page layout.
Maybe you fold it forward so the art is 'inside'? That might work. But why?!