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Home » Featured, Views

What’s wrong with Box Art?

Submitted by on Friday, 18 February 201110 Comments

Recently, Sony has been rereleasing some of their Classic PS2 games on the PS3 under the ‘Classics HD’ title. While the games themselves are a fantastic trip down memory lane, the issue of box art has been raised, mainly they don’t look too good. Here’s my take.

When you think of box art for video games, the first thing that comes to mind is the god-awful box art for the American version of Ico. Compared to the stylish, artful and minimalistic European cover; America’s box art looks cheesy and unappealing. I realise it was probably to make it more appealing to the American audience, but it doesn’t work at all. Just take a look at this comparison:

If you can't tell which is which, you need to get tested.

Ico wasn’t the only case. More recently, the fantastic Heavy Rain had an unfortunate American cover. While the European cover once more looks stylish and minimalistic, the American counterpart looks tacky, busy and unattractive:

You crazy Americans...

The ‘Classics HD’ game art has a similar problem. Because there are multiple games in a single case, Sony feel an obligation to show all the art on the single cover, which looks busy and cheap and as a result, very unappealing. And unappealing isn’t good when you’re trying to sell stuff. The purpose of the cover is to draw your interest and look good. If you’re looking for any of the remastered games, chances are you’ve played them before and want a copy for your PS3.

While it is unclear if Sony has an actual obligation to display all the cover art for the games, it is clear that the ‘Classics HD’ range could benefit from some cleaner box art. With my limited image-editing skills and the Tomb Raider logo, I mocked up a minimalistic cover for the Tomb Raider Trilogy. It’s missing some things like the ‘Classics HD’ text, the age rating and the “Remastered in High Definition”, but it should give you a good idea as to what I think the range of covers should look like:

Click to magnifize.

The logo on top of a simple background is all I need. The back is where the information about the game should be, so I would have no qualms with the covers being there. But the front is what’s meant to entice me to buy the game, and the busy covers really make it seem like the cheap ‘2 for 1’ offers in bargain bins. Give me something classy, stylish and minimalistic any day.

I think the European Sly Trilogy cover got it closest. It didn’t display all three covers on the front, but rather had a ‘Sly Trilogy’ logo, with the three main characters underneath. It conveys exactly what it needs to, while not looking tacky and cheap.

For me, game covers are important. If I’m on the fence about a game, sometimes the cover can swing it for me. It’s important to me for a game to have a great cover, so that the experience is great from the start; from purchase, to unwrapping the cellophane, to opening the case and putting the disc in your console. The cover is part of that experience, and right now, the ‘Classics HD’ range just doesn’t cut it for me.

What are some of your best and worst game covers? Post them in the comments below!