Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two Kinds of Art

1UP.com has an interesting essay up about the evolution of videogame box art that manages to stay clear of the nostalgia-drenched tone that normally permeates such features. Judging a Game By Its Cover traces some interesting trends over the years, including the de-Japanification of box art that used to be routine when a Japanese game was released in the US. In the case of Ico, the US changes completely erased the lonely atmosphere of the Japanese and European versions. This example doesn't seem as much de-Japanification as dumbing-down to me.

Props are given to the US version of the Legend of Zelda art, while the universally derided Mega Man box is held up to ridicule yet again. This obviously got me thinking of my favorite art. When I was little I was quite captivated by box art from Imagic. Faxanadu for the NES was classy. You may have noticed that I am a fan of Golgo 13; this includes the box art for the first game (check out the sequel for a study in contrasts). Recently, I've enjoyed the art for Katamari Damacy and Pikmin 2 (although I think I like an alternate version more). Feel free to get nostalgic and list some favorites in the comments section.

1 comment:

MattG said...

It will come as no surprise that i am a big fan of box art.. I still have all my NES boxes and the instruction manuals to my atari games. The art for me, more so back in the day, is always strongly connected to the game. I never had my cartridges skewn about, but in their boxes and playing a game was like playing an LP, I'd pull it out have the box their next to me.

To me the best box art by far (and again this will be no surprise) was that of the activision games. Their singular artistic renditions were and are extremely satisfying to me.. I love the rainbow swoop. I also love the cartoon renditions as opposed to the silly "realistic"renderings. Like missle command or airsea battle. the disconnect between the cover and game was so extreme that it was just lost. But with activision it was kinda there. cartoony graphics, cartoony art. The box art got weaker over time, especially by the end of the 2600s life when it tried to modernize. But theirs a golden heyday with pitfall seaquest etc etc.

That article reminded me of going to Toys'R us to stare at the boxes behind the locked glass. carefully picking out which ones you would ask to look at. you had to be selective.

finally, what the fuck is with those Donkey Kong and Pacman jogging boxes, crazy shit indeed.

good work asp