Fun with Box Art!

February 24th, 2011 -

Sometimes the final box art for a game comes out like something that of a fine work of art. Other times you scratch your head and say “who approves this shit?” In this post I’m going to walk you through a few fine examples of bad marketing ideas ruining what would normally be a perfectly fine box art. Before we get to the fun part lets take a look at a couple examples of box art that I would approve.


Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

This is definitely a more simple box art, its not something you would necessarily hang on a wall (unless you love the game that much). What makes this box so good, is its ability to tell you a lot about the game without using words or clutter. This Is what the early Tomb Raider boxes should have looked like. At first glance you see 2 things that depict big aspects of the game play and atmosphere of the game. Guns, so clearly this is a shooter of some sorts. Green and foliage, so it must be in a jungle. The games name and skull on the box elude to an adventure, with guns, in the jungle. Which is exactly what Uncharted Drakes Fortune, is.

Burnout: Paradise

Criterion Games went all artsy fartsy with the last game in their award winning racing series. I really enjoy looking at this box, its very simple yet complicated. You have a silhouette of a car, and inside said silhouette, there is a full color shot of the city from the game. As the horizon of the cityscape leaves the silhouette it turns black and white. The car is sitting at a stoplight, doing a burnout which signifies the main game play element of this title. With just an EA logo, ESRB logo and main title, this box is very clean and clear. I would hang this on my wall even if the game was terrible, which it was far from.

And now onto the main event. The Fail…

Mad Dog Mcree: Gunslingers Pack

Mad Dog Mcree Gunslingers Pack? Sounds like DLC for Red Dead Redemption, right? Actually, this little gem is a port of an arcade game from the early 90’s. This was a time when Mortal Kombat revolutionized graphics with pictures of real people moving like stop motion art. Seeing how this was an on rails shooter, this was basically a video with a cross hair flinging around on the screen. Not much was needed to be rendering in normal video game polygon art because the game doesn’t allow you to look anywhere the game doesn’t want you too. Its very primitive in terms of design but, back in 1990 it was the bee’s knee’s. So its a little strange to see them advertising “Live Action Shooter” in 2011 as if its some kind of technological achievement for the Wii. Herp Derp Fail.

Okami

Okami’s Wii box art mix up is something that almost all gamers are aware of, but I’ll assume you haven’t looked up from Azeroth since the “Burning Crusade” and break it down for you. Okami was originally a PlayStation 2 title that wow’d artsy fartsy fans around the world. It was an instant “cult” classic, but unfortunately it never hit critical mass with the mainstream media (they probably should have put an assault rifle on the cover). When Capcom decided to bring this to the Wii everyone thought it would be an instant success given the games paint brush game play. However, what they didn’t suspect was that the guy handling the final box art would be this daft. Capcom actually shipped this game with the IGN.com water mark on the cover, leading to universal face palms around the world. How does this even happen? If you’re working for or with Capcom, don’t you have the box art that was sent to IGN? Who then put the water mark on it and posted it on the Internet? The world may never know…

PlayStation 3 Batman: Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year Edition: Greatest Hits

Really? Maybe I’m just crazy but, when I look at a box for the first time I should be able to; read all the text, understand what the game is about, and know if I want to pick it up and read the back, in less then 5 seconds. If I have to read the front as much as I would normally have to read the back? Then I am more likely to pass up said game. You shouldn’t have to sell every “selling” aspect of your game on the front of the box to lure them in. Especially if your game was nominated for game of the year. With all the evangelist out there protecting games from having “in game” advertisements, where are the protesters of advertisements on the box art. First you have Sony, its a PlayStation 3 game, it has PSN access and its a “Greatest Hit”, which makes it red. Then you have advertisements for in game content “Play as the joker”, “Play in 3D”, “Play the challenge maps”. Finally you have the credits for;  DC, WB, Rocksteady, Eidos, Square Enix. This box is just a freaking mess and utterly ugly, which makes this a strange motivation for me to buy games day one.

Super Mario Galaxy

This was one of those “I cant believe it happened to such a high caliber game.” Yet at the same time, it kinda makes sense. Disney has been struck by this for years, resulting from wrongful firings to people just looking to get attention. Whether this was done intentionally or not it, was still a derogatory slur at Nintendo’s flag ship character which was quickly corrected with the next batch of games. The picture above tells the story better, but allow me to explain. Some of the letters in the title have little shine stars gleaming on them. If you eliminate all the letters that don’t have any shine on them you get, U R M R G A Y or You’re Mr. Gay. Could this have been coincidence? Highly unlikely but still possible. More than likely this was someone in the art department trying for a Disney style claim to fame, which probably ended up in his or her’s termination from the company. But you never know…

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