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Favorite All-Time Videogame Box Art Rated

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the squiggles-and-dots dept.

Classic Games (Games) 61

Thanks to GameSpy for its feature discussing and rating the best videogame box art of all-time. The author cheekily argues: "Video games have indeed been graced with some wonderful covers over the years, art that you'd be proud to put in a frame and hang on your wall for all to enjoy... Except when girls come over, when it must be hidden in the closet", before highlighting game covers including Pinball Construction Set ("Rather than showcase a typical pinball scene like most pinball games have done, this cover is mostly symbolic"), the non-U.S. cover for ICO ("Impressionistic and surreal, as if it's capturing a moment in fantasy or memory rather than reality"), and DOOM ("Bottom line, this is a classic.") What's your favorite game cover art of all time?

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61 comments

what art ? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9830100)

most games I had were just floppy disks with a name written on them..

Re:what art ? (2, Interesting)

anim8 (109631) | more than 9 years ago | (#9833121)

most games I had were just floppy disks with a name written on them.

Same here. And when I actually bought games the box, manual and marketing filler would get tossed after a week.

So what "best of/worst of" topics are left for these game sites? "Best Bar Code Number"?

Re:what art ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838729)

So what "best of/worst of" topics are left for these game sites? "Best Bar Code Number"?

Are you kidding? It's Prince of Persia 2 for Macintosh. Hands down. Second might be Road Rash for Genesis, that had a sweet upc. Lord knows it wasn't Loom!

Duke Nukem Forever (1)

Carlos Silva (773727) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830124)

Best. Cover. Ever.

Altered Beast (2, Interesting)

B00yah (213676) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830145)

Altered Beast for the Sega Genesis had a bad ass cover imho... seen http://www.roarvgm.com/COVERS/GENESIS/altered%20be ast-USA.jpg [roarvgm.com] there.

Re:Altered Beast (0)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830203)

Your link is broken because the people running the site doesn't understand what the whole "Internet" thing is about.

Re:Altered Beast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9843041)

They understand the internet better than you do. They realize that having people link to their images takes their site's bandwidth. And the link isn't really broken. You just have to go to roarvgm.com first, then directly to the image.

Re:Altered Beast (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#9862181)

If they don't want people using their image, they shouldn't put it on the web.

People who think like you have a complete lack of understanding of what hypertext is all about.

Minimalist (2, Interesting)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830323)

I just loved the minimalist cover of Ultima VII: The Black Gate [mobygames.com] .

Of course, the cover of Spellcasting 301: Spring Break [mobygames.com] is not to be missed either.

Re:Minimalist (1)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832569)

I just loved the minimalist cover of Ultima VII: The Black Gate [mobygames.com] .

I don't know, I think MobyGames.com taking credit for Ultima VII is a bit tacky.

Re:Minimalist (1)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 9 years ago | (#9834914)

Dammit! I tested the link, but it seems MobyGames discovered the hotlinking and made a change. Try this one [mobygames.com] for a small sample.

defender of the crown (1, Informative)

CeramicNuts (265664) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830356)

...featuring a passed out princess with big, round tits.

Re:defender of the crown (2, Informative)

Durindana (442090) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831283)

LOL you mean this art [acmecomputergames.com]

Oh, and don't forget... (2, Interesting)

cmdrwhitewolf (580710) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831986)

That knockout of a redheaded Swordswoman on the cover of 'The Curse of the Azure Bonds' (http://atariforce.free.fr/st/images/scans/azure.j pg), with that 'oh, my' specially designed armor! ;)

Re:Oh, and don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9835934)

More like "Curse of the Azure Bondage", am I rite?

Is this a joke? (4, Insightful)

senocular (519317) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830429)

I could have pulled better cover art out of my ass. A lot of the "art" is only impressionable due to reminiscence.

Re:Is this a joke? (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 9 years ago | (#9843277)

And what's with the Batman game making the list? It's just the fucking logo from the movie printed on a box! Huh?

No Atari boxes. (5, Interesting)

sammaffei (565627) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830526)

Atari had great artwork on their boxes. Actually, they set the standard for others that followed.

Check out Defender [atariage.com] , Berzerk [atariage.com] and Missle Command [atariage.com]

Even Mattel Intellivision (boo, hiss) had some cool artwork.

Article seemed kinda biased to late 80s / early 90s if you ask me.

Re:No Atari boxes. (4, Interesting)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831154)

The Atari artwork for the early 2600/5200 cartridges and 8 bit computer software was some of the best artwork to grace videogames, bar none. The paintings were almost a trademark of the early Atari software. These were most definitely works of art, and anyone from the era would be proud to have thse hanging in their living room.

Bias is reasonable (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832410)

The author can justify the biased towards late 80s / early 90s covers. They were a little more artistic(most were drawn by hand not by computer). A lot of cover art in the early days was fairly over the top. The graphics wern't exactly works of art, so they had to sell the game on a (very) touched up image. Also 80's extravagance came into it a lot. The game was a 320X240, blocky looking mess. Suspension of disbelief was in order just to appriciate that the characters on screen really were heros, monsters, ninjas, Arnie, lamposts etc... . Having a more exuberence cover might help aid the

Nowadays games can have relativly boring covers (Halo,GTA Vice City) by comparison to older titles. They can sell the game on its demos and even the screenshots on the back(although these aren'y usually as representative as they could be). A lot of the stuff is pretty minimalistic as they've all moved to glossy plastic, rather than laminated cardboard. Remember when they came in those big cardboard boxes.

I don't really miss 'Pop art' covers. Might be nice to have one or too, but ultimatly, they were a bit too corney.

Re:Bias is reasonable (1)

sammaffei (565627) | more than 9 years ago | (#9833177)

You right to some extent. But, "pop art" or not, some of the box art was very cool. And, wasn't that the point of the article anyway?

Here's another favorite: Haunted House [atariage.com]

Re:No Atari boxes. (1)

emilng (641557) | more than 9 years ago | (#9834181)

The article seemed to be biased toward art with the hero/heros acting heroic with an optional female damsel in distress. The great covers are the one's that transcend the stereotypes and put the covers more into the art realm. I would agree with the choices of Pinball Construction Set, Zelda, and ICO covers on this merit.

Re:No Atari boxes. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9836146)

OMG the women on those Atari boxes have NORMAL sized breasts!

My favorite game art (2, Funny)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830528)

My favorite game art is from Slashdot The Game (C)(TM) [slashdot.org] . It comes with many different gameplay modes. For those who like camping in hidden places, theres snipe mode, where you constantly hit refresh, and then paste in a carefully prepared post as soon as a new story shows up. For those who are into party games, there's the mode where you say something slightly incendiary, or misguided, and try to see how many people you can get involved in the conversation. And, of course, there's always my favorite, try to post something witty or insightful to see how high a score you can get... :)

Re:My favorite game art (2, Insightful)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 9 years ago | (#9840243)

Are you shitting me? The very section you post in used to hold the title for "Worst Color Scheme" in the major website category. It only recently lost the title when they came out with something even uglier! [slashdot.org]

Infocom (2, Interesting)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830569)

Repeating a recent theme of mine, I'll nominate Infocom's "Suspended" - an early release shipped in a box that had a contoured white plastic face, right in line with the theme of suspended animation. It was way cool looking.

http://infocom.elsewhere.org/gallery/suspended_mas k/suspended-mask.html [elsewhere.org]

Shocked I am... (1)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830656)

that the original Mega-Man cover didn't make the list. I remember being at my Dad's house and staring at my step-brother's cartridge, trying to figure out how such a fun game could have such a terrible, graphic art on the outside of the game. Oh wait. There it is. There's a link to the worst game covers top 10 list and it tops it. That's a good call.

On the other hand, I'm happy that Double Dragon graphic was mentioned. I remember seeing both the "second cheek" version and then the "one cheek" version on the back cover of comic books. I probably wouldn't remember that image as well as I do if they hadn't erased half of her butt.

Alex.

Re:Shocked I am... (3, Insightful)

Scorchio (177053) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831157)

There was a pretty good rule of thumb in the early 80s, and to some extents it still holds today: how exciting, fantastic and wonderful the game cover is, is inversely proportional to how good the game actually is. I was lured several times by drawings of vast space battles, with sleek fighter craft attacking horribly beweaponed starcruisers, through a haze of laser fire and explosions... only to find the game has a triangle firing squares at a couple of advancing, um, rectangles with legs.

Of course, in those days, you had to use your imagination, which I think lent to more immersive gameplay. Sometimes, though, the gulf between the expectations raised by the game cover, and the actual game was just that bit too wide...

Re:Shocked I am... (1)

thrash242 (697169) | more than 9 years ago | (#9842053)

The Megaman 2 artwork was pretty bad too.

An Infocom classic (4, Interesting)

stardeep (66237) | more than 9 years ago | (#9830691)

I have always been fond of the atmospheric cover art for Wasteland and the naive-yet-groovy picture on the Tass Times in Tone Town box as well as the "artist's rendition" of an LCP on the little cassette case for Little Computer People.

(I'm too lazy to google for links. Be my guest and explore the Internet yourself!)

I will give you a link to my absolute favourite [if-legends.org] , tough. I love the way it all looks completely different from what I'd pictured in my head, especially the house. I guess Infocom's motto still holds true...

Re:An Infocom classic (1)

DeComposer (551766) | more than 9 years ago | (#9836483)

Too right. The Wasteland cover [mobygames.com] was utterly badass. I really wish EA would let someone pick up the license for this. Fallout--even though one of my favorites of all time--had a very different feel.

Simple and smooth (2, Interesting)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831269)

Call me lame but I as much as I like pretty videogame box art, I always thought having a smoother more crisp box art was always better (at least for the front). Case in point : the box art for Final Fantasy 2/4 and 3/6. Take a look.

http://www.vgmuseum.com/scans/snes/ff2.jpg/ [vgmuseum.com]
http://www.vgmuseum.com/scans/snes/ff3.jpg/ [vgmuseum.com]

Call me a marketing moron but I think this sort of smooth, simple box art is the best way to gather attention against rows and rows (or stacks and stacks) of other video game box art.

Re:Simple and smooth (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831993)

In Europe Square obviously agree, as all the Final Fantasy games (apart from compilations) have plain white covers with just the logo on them, which does look distinctive and classy. I think Japan might use the same style as well, but it obviously isn't brash enough for US consumers (or what marketing people thing US consumers want).

I do agree simplicity is nice - one of my favourite covers is the European version of Sonic The Hedgehog, which is just sonic on a cream background which has some feint[1] drawings of Robotnik / Eggman and some animals. Sonic And Knuckles was nice as well (the logo on black, apart from a small diagram of the lock on thingy), pity you can never find a boxed copy because it came in a cardboard box[2]. On the other hand the Japanese covers for the Sonic games always seem way too busy and frantic, although this can work, I don't think the Sonic ones did.

[1] Or is it faint?
[2] Cardboard boxes are the evil, snapcases are far nicer, another reason why the Megadrive was better than the SNES. ;-)

Re:Simple and smooth (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 9 years ago | (#9836551)

"I do agree simplicity is nice"

Depends on how it is done : I really liked the old NES gamecovers over the Sega Master system ones : Somehow the simple 'white with a grey grid' did not look right ;)

Re:Simple and smooth (1)

thrash242 (697169) | more than 9 years ago | (#9842061)

It's faint. Faint means light, as you used it, and to pass out. Feint means a maneuver designed to trick an opponent in combat.

These are my definitions and you can probably find better ones just about anywhere.

Re:Simple and smooth (2)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832845)

Seen the Japanese and European box art for Final Fantasy games? Just a plain white label with the logo in the centre. That's all. Utterly minimalist, and very classy looking compared with the US versions.

The UK release of Ocarina of Time had a beautiful box as well, along similar lines: a plain matt black label with the Zelda logo in gold.

-Stephen

Another Gamespade top X (2, Insightful)

Taulin (569009) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831280)

Once again Gamespy makes a Top X list, and sucks at it. Nowhere did they mention Top Secret - Hitler's Revival [elitecoder.com] , known as Bionic Commando in the states.

Gran Turismo (1)

Yodzilla (703953) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831522)

I've always loved the cover of the first Gran Turismo. I still remember buying it at FuncoLand and being absolutely amazed, especially with how good the high res replays looked. The cover is minimilistic and mysterious. You have never seen a racing game like this... And...the only good picture I can find is on EB's website and it won't let me link to the game. *sigh* ps - What kind of car do you think is under the cover?

Re:Gran Turismo (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832840)

"What kind of car do you think is under the cover?"

1993-1997 Chevrolet Camaro. I owned a 95 Z28, and found it interesting that they chose that car to be on the cover. Sure, 0-60 is fast, and it's alright in the turns, but it's no "real" racecar... stock anyways.

Re:Gran Turismo (1)

Yodzilla (703953) | more than 9 years ago | (#9833549)

Having said that, I can see why they'd choose that car for the cover. The Camaro has a normal "sports car" profile that anyone who thinks of a fast car can identify with. If it were a Porsche or a Impreza rally car, the mystery car could be taken for a common Voltzwagen or some other boring sedan.

Another question...do you know if that's the same cover they used in Japan? It seems the Camaro would resonate more with American audiences...

Arcade game flyers/maruqees are where it's at (3, Interesting)

British (51765) | more than 9 years ago | (#9831847)

This article I do not agree with. To me, the most beautiful video game 'art' was in the flyers for early 1980s arcade games and their marquees. Sure, there were "cliches" such as glowing text, grids with a perspective deformation, and red-orange-yellow combos, but I love it.

Check out http://www.arcadeflyers.com/ for a gallery of some of the most(IMO) beautiful artwork to have graced the decade. Sure, some are cheesy, but that's where it's at for me.

Re:Arcade game flyers/maruqees are where it's at (1)

dthree (458263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9836851)

I was thinking the same thing while checking out the top 10 article. I especially liked atari's flyer art. Missle Command, [arcadeflyers.com] for example. Also, check out the Peter Max-like centipede [arcadeflyers.com] flyer.

Best box art... (1)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832010)

From a more modern point of view..

Viewtiful Joe. Love the box art. More than likely because I love the art style. Same with Disgaea.

Final Fantasy, at least in Japan. I love the logos. The name of the game in that crystallized text, with a picture representation of a game element in the background. (X had Yuna's sending dance, VII had a comet, VI had a Magitec armor. etc)

That's pretty much the best in my book. Everything else kind of blends together.

Non-USA ICO Cover Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9832024)

I wouldn't dare link directly to it for fear of even a moderate slashdot effect, but if you look hard enough in the ICO fan sites you can get a printable quality cover of the non-US cover art.

Re:Non-USA ICO Cover Art (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832252)

Yeas, but do you have the right grade of card to make a guaranteed-to-look-tatty-in-a-couple-of-years cardboard case like the early PAL copies (it comes in a normal case now though).

That US cover definitely sucks though. For some reason the US seems to have a special trick of giving games with good covers bad ones instead.

Cock'in! (1)

isaac (2852) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832607)

I can't believe nobody's mentioned Cock'in, the classic rooster simulator for the Commodore 64 home computer system!

Check out this box art [c64.org] ! Yes, this is a real game [lemon64.com] .

-Isaac

Sam & Max (2)

May Kasahara (606310) | more than 9 years ago | (#9832823)

Parappa 2 was a good choice, as it's a really good showcase for Rodney Greenblat's character designs... but the runner-up was kind of lame. Instead of Um Jammer Lammy, I would've gone with Sam & Max Hit the Road [cdaccess.com] , which features a great illustration by Sam & Max's creator, Steve Purcell.

ALSO 10 worst boxes (1)

Foo2rama (755806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9834186)

They also have the 10 WORST video game box-arts

Gamespy 10 worst boxes [gamespy.com]

Re:ALSO 10 worst boxes (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838809)

Wow before I checked that site out, I said Megaman 1 must have the worst cover art ever. And it turned out to be. Damn I got to buy myself a lottery ticket tonight.

Tommy Lasorda (1)

Thedalek (473015) | more than 9 years ago | (#9839322)

That airbrushed Tommy Lasorda picture looks more like Bill Clinton than any baseball player I've seen.

Then again, I hate sports.

Sigh (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#9834672)

Anyone else feel this article is aimed more at Penny arcade fans then Slashdotters?

The way it was written made me feel the guy was trying to hard to "be hip with the kids", he ended up just bugging me to the point where I decided not to read beyond page one (why do I need 10 pages for an article!?).

Daggerfall (2)

bluemeep (669505) | more than 9 years ago | (#9834804)

The shiny pseudo-holographic box made it look like the lich was reaching right for you. Plus it was made from heavy stock cardboard and about a half-foot thick. You just don't get boxes like that anymore...

Re:Daggerfall (1)

thrash242 (697169) | more than 9 years ago | (#9842080)

I agree 100%. The creature (Lysandus? Underking? Lich?) on front was mildly creepy and the shininess was cool.

Morrowind has a cool box too, IMO. I've never seen the Arena box. While I didn't like the game, Battlespire had very cool box art too.

The Legend of Zelda (1)

default luser (529332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9834841)

My favorite video game box is also one of the earliest I recall purchasing. I had seen the commercials Nintendo bombarded us with (also classics in their own right), but the box was a nice clincher for making me part with my money.

It was a simple, dignified silver coat-of-arms on a gold background, with a tastefully-rendered title. No other box cover has ever communitcated so little, and so much at the same time.

A "Hand Cannon" can be intepreted in many ways (1)

UltimaL337Star (641853) | more than 9 years ago | (#9835072)

http://www.gamespy.com/articles/489/489718p4.html

what, no Virtua Hamster box art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9835870)

www.gamepro.com/gamepro/domestic/games/
features/ images/33334-11.jpg

Burn: Cycle (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9836512)

Hell, I bought the game for $2 JUST FOR THE BOX. It looked black, but it has the heat sensitive color changing gell stuff. A wonderful time indeed.

Missing... (1)

dthree (458263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9836954)

What, no Myth [mobygames.com] covers? [mobygames.com]

Also, not even 1 leisure suit larry cover.

C'mon!

Re:Missing... (1)

dthree (458263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9839745)

Let me try that again:

Myth [mobygames.com]
Myth II [mobygames.com]
Myth II alt [mobygames.com] (real nice)

Game Packaging Treasures (2, Informative)

blacklily8 (780659) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838010)

Don't forget this older /. post [slashdot.org] concerning Loguidice's "Game Packaging Treasures" article in Armchair Arcade. It goes into more detail about PC game boxes; in my opinion, that's where the real innovation was occuring.

Marketing (1)

daemon_mf (786046) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838859)

I always hated that the cover art was always much cooler than the games I played. I think game companies should do what other product do and show you right on the front how much people are enjoying the product.

Hmmm...what to buy?? The one with the guy that looks like he hasn't slept in 3 days or the one with they guy with the half broken controller reaching for the reset button?

Ok, now that I've written it out, maybe the artwork thing is a better idea.
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