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Wise Men Say the Darndest Things: Judging Games by Their Covers

Today, I'm going to judge books by their cover. Or rather, video games. And I'm not going to judge the games, just the covers, and the more popular trends you may see. (Warning: image heavy!)

(Normally I like to wait for those nightly (and awesome) c-blog recap posts before posting an entry so it's no more than one a day in my head but 1) It's late and I can't exactly auto-update 2) I need sleep 3) This one is fluffy by my standards, so between this and my underwater mall entry, that makes one full entry, I guess. Enjoy!)

As many of you don't know, I like bad album art. And now that you know that, I'd be glad to point you to some. Like this one!

Of course, music isn't the only place you find bad (or otherwise strange) artwork, and our own hobby of video games has some seriously awesome trends. This is likely because I don't think anyone has any idea what to do with box art. With a medium that requires a ton of artwork, should you put some of that artwork on the box? Perhaps some of the concept art? Something completely unrelated? I've decided to explore some of my personal favorites, starting with the trend that got me into looking at artwork closely.

The anime hand pose

(Trauma Center's sequel has something similar.)

That hand...it is reaching for me. Screaming at me, even. "Hey, buy this game!" it says. It will pull me in with the sheer force of its anime hand. When I first saw these two games side-by-side (if I recall, they released at similar times), I couldn't shake it. I felt intimidated by these hand poses. So scary, so...alluring. Have these box artists figured out a secret to getting me to buy these games? Is that all it takes? A hand reaching out at me?

Nope, I never played either of them (although I hear that Castlevania game is good). Let's move on.

The "wait, what the hell is going on here?" approach

Yeah, I'm sure some of you saw this coming. The most confusing artwork in video game history, possibly. There is no old man when the game is turned on, you're just playing some space shooter (it's not bad, either!). I can't help but wonder if whoever threw this together just waited too long and he hit his deadline. Did Altavista have an image search back then?

Runner-up (and a game I adore):

No comment.

The import

Games that you have no idea what they are because they're from another region. Honestly, this wasn't even going to be a section, but I found this while researching for this article, and I just had to include it. Even the site I found this on was written in Spanish (don't worry, I re-hosted all of my images). Seriously, what the hell?

The "I wish I could play what's on the cover instead"

This actually isn't exactly what I was looking for during research, but Lee Trevino's Fighting golf contained very little fighting. It did have a lot of golf, though. Basically, any time you look at a box, expect one thing, and bring it home and get something totally different. This happened all the time in the 80s and 90s (and still today, to an extent). Since I can't think of an example, I'm sure someone will have something in the comments.

And really, if you're buying a game called "Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf," you've done it to yourself. I do wonder what happened to the illustrious U.S. National Video Game Team, though.

The Gamestop

Yup, that's actually being sold at Gamestop in that photo. While it isn't the fault of the developer, I have always loathed having a box for my games that is covered in difficult to remove stickers, or doesn't have the actual artwork at all. It's a collector's nightmare. And yes, I did work at a Game Crazy briefly. The first time I placed a sticker on a box, I felt a small part of me die. Not to mention, the blatantly obvious markup (which honestly leads me to believe this photo isn't totally on the straight and narrow, but I digress).

(Originally I wasn't going to use this image because it was watermarked, but then I realized just how fitting that really is.)

The "Americans like boobs, right? Let's add some boobs when we localize."

The ire of American nerds everywhere. A game comes out in another region (generally Japan) with decent artwork, potentially with artistic value. When it hits stateside, a decision-maker decides to re-do the box art in a way that is conceivably more appealing to an American audience. When this happens, the internet suddenly becomes united in its hatred for this new artwork.

Why do they do this? Because Americans like boobs.

The Mega Man

As if this one could end any other way.
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About Alakaiserone of us since 1:32 PM on 03.15.2010

The name's Tom. I used to work as an industry guy, and am currently on the hunt for my next paying gig. In the meantime, I'm working on a bunch of different projects that don't help me pay my bills. I write a lot. I'm a musician, although certainly not of the professional variety. I like trying new things and meeting new people. I'm still somewhat new around Destructoid, so sorry in advance if I don't know something I probably should.

About my blog:

I update daily (not really, but I like to pretend). Generally, my updates get pretty long-winded, but hopefully not to the point where they're unreadable. I'll wax poetic about whatever's on my mind, like current events in my life, things that are happening in the video games I like, or whatever happens to pop in my head that day. With a few exceptions, I write my entries the same day I publish them, so they're pretty fresh content-wise. It also might help explain the occasional typos. I do my best to avoid any errors, though.

About my work:

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems as a tester on a year's worth of DLC, The Beatles: Rock Band, Lego Rock Band, and Rock Band Network. Feel free to ask me questions about it, but remember: I'm still under NDA. Also, if you know of a job opening, please tell me about it. I'm flexible.

About my contact info:

Want to collaborate with me on something, big or small, related to the site or not? I'd love to. I like working on any project that I'm even remotely capable of working on, and would love to help you in whatever way I can. Feel free to PM me here, or otherwise send me an email at alakaiser(at)gmail(period)com. Even if you don't want to work with me on something, I'd love to just chat. I'm a pretty friendly guy!

What happened to that thing you did? You know, that one thing?:

I wrote an article that ended up getting promoted to the front page of the site, which is pretty damn cool. It removes it from my cblog archive, though, so I'm throwing a link in this here sidebar for the sake of an archive (and in case I lose the link myself).

The Great Escape: One Foot in Reality