For boys who like boys who like joysticks!

Archives:

« Blizzard Servers Hacked, Account Details Compromised | Main | Nintendo's 3DS Lineup Bumps Luigi Into 2013 »

Great Cover Art?

Vallejo and Bell Ryl Path of the Emperor.jpg

Remember how, back in the day, cover art didn't look anything like the game at all? Remember how the picture on the cover of the box (hell, remember when video games came in boxes?) would be all cool, with muscled-out dudes doing battle with aliens, or dragons, or something like that? And then you'd pop in the cartridge (remember cartridges? S--t I'm old) and you'd be presented with a Dadaist array of squares and rectangles in primary colours that resembled a cartoon version of what you saw on the cover?

It's not that it was ever a let-down. I mean, we all knew that it wasn't going to look like the box art, yeah? And often times the game, in its 8- or 16-bit glory, looked better than the weirdness on the cover - to wit, Mega Man 2's famously ugly box art, and Mega Man 2's great in-game art direction.

True, cover art is with us still. The thing is, it's beginning to look more and more like the game inside - or, rather, the games behind the cover art are beginning to look like the cover art. It is sometimes beautiful, sometimes kick-ass, and sometimes gives you a taste of what it the game has in store for you. It seems, though, that more recently the box art is meant to quite literally show you what the game looks like - a little too literally perhaps - whereas in the days of unsophisticated graphics, artists were free to run with their imaginations a little bit more.

That thought struck me while I was perusing a nice little retrospective about Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, a team of artists who created some truly iconic fantasy imagery through the years - a canon which has been copied (usually poorly) for decades, and is now beginning to get more and more recognition. Bell and Vallejo are responsible for a great many classic video game box covers, and their outrageous imaginations (to wit: bikini-clad warrior wielding flaming sword and riding a pegacorn whilst battling a dragon in space) are truly admirable.

I'm sure much of this is my selective memory, the past getting better as I get older. But there really has been some great, imaginative box art over the years. Pictures that would stand out on their own, without the game's name splashed all over the image.

Do you have any favourites? Please do sound off in the comments section below.

7 Comments

Daniel K said:

Cartridges... And then you'd have to blow on the cartridge if you got a flashing blue screen instead of the game. I think we're straying into "Well, back in my day" territory here...

Shin Gallon said:

I used to make my own custom covers for games in Photoshop, and print them out. Hell, sometimes I'll still do that if I buy a console game and I don't like the cover (last time I did that was for the Sly Cooper collection, the official art for which was terrible).
I always loved the covers for the Street Fighter games (at least the Japanese versions, the less said about the US covers the better) back on the Saturn and Playstation.
On the NES I always loved the cover art for the Castlevania games, they were always so awesome looking.

Oh man. I remember picking Castlevania II on account of the cover art, back when I was a wee gamer sprog. I never was able to beat the game on my own, but I played it like the dickens.

Alex said:

i agree with you guys.
@shin- yes the japanese SF and Vampire Hunter covers are awesome.
I was always disappointed with the Zelda covers.

Immediately leaping to mind: Katamari Damacy. That's a beautiful image, and iconic as hell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KatamariDamacybox.jpg

Mikey said:

The Dagger Of Amon Ra (PC)
Maniac Mansion (NES)
Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Sega)
Resident Evil 2 (PSX)
Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
MK vs DC Kollectors Edition (PS3)
Alice: Madness Returns (Xbox 360)

Dns said:

Oh, Ax Battler from Golden Axe... be still my young gay heart! *sigh*

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

Twitter Feed

Recent Comments

Dns on Great Cover Art?: Oh, Ax Battler from Golden Axe... be still my young gay heart! *sigh*...

Mikey on Great Cover Art?: The Dagger Of Amon Ra (PC) Maniac Mansion (NES) Chrono Trigger (SNES) Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Sega) Resident Evil 2...

David Greenwood on Great Cover Art?: Immediately leaping to mind: Katamari Damacy. That's a beautiful image, and iconic as hell. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KatamariDamacybox.jpg...

Alex on Great Cover Art?: i agree with you guys. @shin- yes the japanese SF and Vampire Hunter covers are awesome. I was always disappointed...

Kythera of Anevern on Great Cover Art?: Oh man. I remember picking Castlevania II on account of the cover art, back when I was a wee gamer...

GGP Mailing List

Are you gay and working in the games industry? If you are interested in networking with other folks like you within the industry, try joining the Gay Game-Industry Professionals mailing list. Click here for all the details!

Links

The GayGamer Store

  • Help support GayGamer by purchasing your items through our store!

All rights reserved © 2006-2010 FAD Media, Inc.