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  #1  
Old 09-05-2018, 08:53 PM
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Default Uncovered: the miscellaneous cover art thread

This thread is for everyone to share and comment on video games covers / cover art. I made this thread in response to the conclusion of
WildcatJF's Top 50 VG Box Art popularity contest thread and because we don't seem to have an existing thread for this topic. I plan to share my nominations that did not make the Top 50 list (or its honorable mentions) and many other interesting covers that I found while researching my nominations.

But before we start I think we should all agree to the following rules for posting in the thread:
  1. Respect others' opinions - even if they're different from yours.
  2. Put anything NSFW behind a link - not a spoiler or spoilerpop.
  3. Don't just post only image(s) or link(s) - say at least a little something about what you're posting and/or why you're posting it.
  4. Also include some basic information about the game since everyone might not be as familiar with it as you are.

Beyond those rules something that I think should not be done in this thread is to exhaustively post and compare every version of a cover. That's a perfectly fine thing to do but I think that should be a separate thread. (I don't plan to create that thread so someone else would have to create it - if there is a desire for it.)

Also my preference in this thread is for people to only include one or just a few covers/images per post (which is what I plan on doing) but that's just a recommendation.

Last edited by Torzelbaum; 09-05-2018 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 09-05-2018, 10:30 PM
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Default #25 on my list of box arts

My love of sci-fi and action movies and cartoons has given me a strong appreciation for awesome spaceship or airplane designs - which also extends to games that include those and their covers. So I am really not surprised to find covers like the following on my list(s).


This cover shows a nice dynamic action scene portraying a battle between a spaceship and a dragon/godzilla-like giant space monster. The monster and ship pop with color against the more subdued but still detailed (but not overly-detailed) background which shows the alien world that is their battleground. And while the logo, title and standard border elements are present on the box I don't feel that they are overly intrusive upon the underlying art.

(Thunder Spirits is a 1990 shmup for the Super NES that was developed by Technosoft and published by Sega. It is a port of the arcade game Thunder Force AC which was made by retooling/modifying the Sega Genesis game Thunder Force III.)
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:05 AM
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That's good art brought low by the SNES template.

I love my little gray guy like a son but the USA box template did no game any favors. The ones that work best are the big simple logos or titles.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:25 AM
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Since I don't know when I'll have more time to get to the rest, I'm just gonna go for it and post my long-shot #1 vote: Starflight for Megadrive



Basically I was just trying to get some John Berkey art on the list, because John Berkey is the best at cool old spaceships. I picked this one because it particularly struck me as being laid out just like and old-school pulp sci-fi novel cover, with the title arcing over the art.

As for the game? Not a clue, never played it (though from screenshots it looks like a close cousin of StarCon2). Was voting purely for the cover.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:34 AM
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Did somebody say RAD SPACE SHIPS!? LET'S LOOK AT SOME RAD SPACE SHIP!

Thunder Force Series

Torzel is absolutely right that Thunder Spirits is a cool as dang box art with dang-ass godzillas and jets and space and fire and stuff. But it is only one in a long line of Tecno Soft's cool saga of cool ships.

Thunder Force (FX-7 and other Japanese home computers)



OK there's not much to say about this, because it's a bunch of screencaps laid over a triangle grid field. This game is also vanishingly obscure. But it's here for the sake of completeness.

Thunder Force II (Mega Drive)



Getting there. Getting there. This is still a little primitive, though. But the TECNOLOGY is evolving. Can you feel it?

Thunder Force II (Genesis)



AW YEA RAD AF ACHIEVED! Still no Godzillas, but the dive-bombing action of the Excelizer is accurate to the target-elimination overhead stages representing about half of Thunder Force II runtime. I'll take a moment to say that I quite like the early "grid" style of packaging from the first couple years of the Sega Genesis. Unlike the SNES framework, it doesn't limit the space for the artwork, but still allows for that sweet, sweet visual cohesion.

Thunder Force III (Mega Drive)



ESCAPE FROM FLAME EAGLE!!! HERE IS THE GOOD SHIT. The US version uses the same artwork, so I'm not showing it. You can't control me!

Thunder Spirits (Super Famicom



This is just here to demonstrate how the SFC template - or lack of template - allows the gorgeous SPACE SHIP VS SPACE GODZILLA artwork flow into your eyes. Drink it. Learn it. 1CC it.

Thunder Force IV (Mega Drive)



I WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME RIGHT NOW.

(sigh) Lightening Force (Genesis)



Yes, yes, for some reason, Tecno Soft or Sega or someone stuck a rogue "e" into "Lightning," turning an already confusing title into nonsense. This is just the American release of TF IV. Oh well at least the art is still RAD AF.

That's all for the 16-bit games in the TF series. BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE!!

Gate of Thunder (PC Engine)



Gate of Thunder is not in the Thunder series, nor is it affiliated with TecnoSoft, but it's definitely Hudson's "hey guys look we can make a TF game too." And they DID. And it's GREAT. And the art is pretty good too, even if the square shape of the CD format causes the logo to kinda run it over.

Gate of Thunder (TurboGrafx 16)



Wait WHAT? A TurboGrafx cover that's not just flat-out awful? Yes! Somehow true! This is how you know the FULLY EVOLVED THUNDER SERIES is immune to crud.

...well, OK, I'm lying a bit, because we have to move onto the next console generation. And that means...no more hand-painted artwork...*crying*

Thunder Force V (Sega Saturn)



Sigh.

Thunder Force V (Playstation)



SIIIGH.

Thunder Force VI (Playstation 2)



I miss you, Tecno Soft.
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  #6  
Old 09-06-2018, 12:38 PM
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I was going to submit a list for the Top 50 Boxarts thread, but I never got around to finishing it.

I do, at the very least, know what my number one would have been.



It's not a particularly accomplished illustration, mind you, but I'm a sucker for Atari-era campy-weirdness. (I also appreciate the moxie required to label something like this a "Game of the Century", but that's a secondary factor.)

No, I have never played the game.

As far as the rest of my list, I forget what half of my picks look like (i.e. some of these prolly wouldn't have made the final cut, and the order of everything is wrong), but here it is anyway:

  1. Revenge of the Beefsteak Tomatoes (Atari 2600, 1983)
  2. Basic Programming (Atari 2600)
  3. Othello (Atari 2600)
  4. Donkey Kong (Atari 2600)
  5. Contra 3 (SNES, NA)
  6. Super Metroid (JPN)
  7. Castlevania (NES)
  8. beatmania IIDX15 DJ Troopers (PS2, JPN)
  9. Pac-Man (Atari 400/800)
  10. Top Gear 3000 (JPN)
  11. The Hybrid Front (Gen, JPN)
  12. Rogue (Atari ST)
  13. Winning Post 3 (PS1, JPN)
  14. Another World
  15. Majora's Mask (N64, JPN)
  16. Steel Empire (JPN, Genesis)
  17. Elemental Master (Genesis, US)
  18. Wasteland (C64)
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2018, 12:45 PM
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The ideal boxart for a Shmup involves either A) A Cool Space Flying Towards A Bad Space Ship/Monster Of B) A Cool Spaceship Flying Away From A Bad Space Ship/Monster.

The only time this format has been successfully subverted are with Life Force (Giant Flaming Mecha Snake Eats a Planet), Phalanx (Banjo Man is startled by spaceship) and Abadox: The Deadly Inner War (which used a 70s Science fiction Novel cover-art)
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:12 PM
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I very much enjoy the JP boxart for Air Fortress. The 3d model's ornate fantasy armor design is truly unique, and reminiscent of Moebius (who was extremely influential in Japan in the 70s and 80s). It adds a lot of atmosphere to an otherwise visually blah game, and really stimulates my imagination
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:31 PM
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Also, eye nipples!
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Old 09-06-2018, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT-55J View Post
I was going to submit a list for the Top 50 Boxarts thread, but I never got around to finishing it.

I do, at the very least, know what my number one would have been.

Ho man. I wish I knew about this one five months ago.
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
Also, eye nipples!
Is there any other kind of nipples?
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Old 09-06-2018, 05:56 PM
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*wink*
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:06 PM
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Let me just say that the box art for Phalanx is underappreciated.



What's confusing about this? It's based on all the alien abduction claims that come from the south. There's a surprised hillbilly, there's a ship speeding by in the background... seems pretty cut and dry to me.

That's in contrast to the, erm, suggestive Japanese box art...



Uh, is that Phalanx or Phallix?
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArugulaZ View Post
Let me just say that the box art for Phalanx is underappreciated.



What's confusing about this? It's based on all the alien abduction claims that come from the south. There's a surprised hillbilly, there's a ship speeding by in the background... seems pretty cut and dry to me.
You'd have loved our Box Art Contest then! It placed #2!
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:53 PM
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Guess I'll work through my list bit by bit.

Quote:
#2

Activision's River Raid thrust you into battle. The trademark rainbow action lines accentuated by perspective turning the river into an arrow, the artwork urging the player ever forward.
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArugulaZ View Post
Let me just say that the box art for Phalanx is underappreciated.
Nay, probably over-appreciated!
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:16 PM
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Lets split the difference and say it’s appreciated.
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  #18  
Old 09-06-2018, 10:55 PM
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Default #24 on my list of box arts (and some other comments)

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the concept of "breaking the fourth wall" that can occur in many different types of media. This is often done verbally which is all well and good but I vastly prefer when it is done physically.

This cover accomplishes that by having a ship bursting through the monitor of the arcade cabinet and charging right at the view with guns blazing. The ship also has that sweet-ass chromed out look that I associate with 50's sci-fi. I think the tilted perspective also adds to the overall visual effect of the cover.

The facts, jack:
Revenge of Defender (AKA StarRay) is a 1988/1989 shmup for multiple home computer systems that was developed by Hidden Treasures and published by Logotron and Epyx. "The game was an update on the concept of 1981 arcade game Defender, with faster gameplay and more detailed graphics and sound."
Knowing that this game is related to Defender increases my appreciation of the cover more since the artwork mirrors the controls from the Defender arcade game and the title of this game uses a font and design that are similar to the ones used for the original Defender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
The ideal boxart for a Shmup involves either A) A Cool Space Flying Towards A Bad Space Ship/Monster Of B) A Cool Spaceship Flying Away From A Bad Space Ship/Monster.

The only time this format has been successfully subverted are with Life Force (Giant Flaming Mecha Snake Eats a Planet), Phalanx (Banjo Man is startled by spaceship) and Abadox: The Deadly Inner War (which used a 70s Science fiction Novel cover-art)
But what about a cool space ship that is flying directly towards the viewer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
That's good art brought low by the SNES template.

I love my little gray guy like a son but the USA box template did no game any favors. The ones that work best are the big simple logos or titles.
I don't entirely agree with you on those points but I can see where you're coming from - covering up like 20% or more of the surface area with that template does limit what can be done with the design but I do feel that it's possible to work around that. But that does make me wonder why so many console companies seem to insist on having standard templates and colors for packaging. Is it so games for that console can be easily distinguished from games for other consoles? I can see that being a concern nowadays since all console games are almost exclusively packaged in the same standard sized keep cases but maybe not during the days when most consoles used cartridges of different sizes and shapes. I wonder if any Tyrants who work in the game industry can offer any insight into the reasoning behind this or know someone who can. I would like to know more about this.

Last edited by Torzelbaum; 09-06-2018 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:26 AM
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I appreciate that the starship on this Defender cover appears to be a chromed-out SR-71 Blackbird with, er, laser javelins, sticking out of its engines.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:00 PM
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Default #23 on my list of box arts

So the next cover I chose w...

Hey! I'm trying to post here, jerks! ... Oh wait, this is my next cover. Sorry for yelling at you guys.

So here we have another example of "smashing through the fourth wall" that I enjoy as this intense fight shatters a facade of marble tiles which have a checker chessboard pattern that echoes the design of the in-game playing field. Also I love that the beastman (or maybe an orc) is using a length of chain to go HAM on the purple-skinned humanoid (which I'm also not sure what the heck it's supposed to be). That fancy trident ain't doing jack for you!

The remaining facade also serves as the canvas for displaying the game title and the other template elements while keeping them from obscuring the primary action on the cover.

Facts:
Archon: The Light and the Dark* is a 1983 video game that is like chess but taking opposing pieces is accomplished by an "arcade-style fight" between the two pieces. It was originally developed by Free Fall Associates for the Atari 8-bit family of home computers and published by Electronic Arts**. It was ported to many different systems/platforms including the NES - where the porting was handled by Bullet-Proof Software and Activision served as the publisher.

*The sub-title is not shown on the NES cover but it does appear on the title screen in game.

**Apparently it was "one of the first five games published by Electronic Arts."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
I appreciate that the starship on this Defender cover appears to be a chromed-out SR-71 Blackbird
That does make me wonder how many artists have "borrowed" the Blackbird's design over the years.
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Old 09-07-2018, 10:45 PM
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#3


One of my many near misses. I found MI2's cover a lot more arresting, putting the villian front and center. Here, the now Zombie Pirate LeChuck is clearly winning, revenge well in hand!
And yet, so many questions!
  • Why is he a Zombie now?
  • How did he gain the upper hand?
  • Why is that monkey so angry about the #2?
  • Who does Guybrush think he's fooling with that chin scrub?

Last edited by Daikaiju; 10-01-2018 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:10 PM
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Default #21 on my list of box arts



Here we have a nice action scene of a space man (or robot) shooting an attacking space T Rex (which might also be a robot) through the neck while space pterodactyls circle against the backdrop of the sky of this alien planet as it transitions into the surface of the planet. I consider it a good, striking cover which does capture the spirit of the game even though it is not 100% faithful to the actual gameplay.

Quote:
Dynowarez: Destruction of Spondylus is a 1990 platformer for the NES that was developed by Advance Communication Company and published by Bandai.

In game the dinosaurs are either robots or cyborgs. The text on the back cover of the box describes them as "giant computerized dinosaurs known as Robosaurs".

The cover is not accurate in a sense because there are two gameplay modes - the stages alternate between:
  • Side-scrolling action stages with some platforming where you control a Robosaur named Cyborasaurus and battle other Robosaurs.
  • Side-scrolling action stages with a lot of platforming where you control Cyborasaurus' inventor and pilot, Professor Proteus, and fight through enemy bases to reach and destroy the computer core.
So in-game there is never really a case where a person fights a dinosaur.

Also, Spondylus is the name of the fictional solar system where all of this takes place. Each pair of stages represents a different planet in the system.

Last edited by Torzelbaum; 09-09-2018 at 12:24 PM. Reason: That wasn't a tie...
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:02 PM
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Default #20 on my list of box arts

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
20. Shadowgate (NES)

(Another of young JBear's favourites. Just a neat-looking gargoyle leering off the cover at me.)
While compiling my list I had originally considered the NES version of Shadowgate but decided not to include it. But out of curiousity I decided to see if there was a Famicom version and what it's cover looked like.

Here's what I found:


The cover shows the main antagonist, the Warlock Lord, looking inhumanely vicious while he ominously looms over the titular Castle Shadowgate amid dramatic strikes of lightning. The cover also depicts the different monsters that guard the castle and must be defeated. And amidst all of this is the stalwart hero holding the Staff of Ages, the item needed to finish the game, and the torch that is crucial for survival.

(If anyone could translate the Japanese text on the cover it would be greatly appreciated.)

Facts:
Quote:
Shadowgate is a 1987 point-and-click adventure video game for the Apple Macintosh that was developed by ICOM Simulations. In 1989 it was ported to the Famicom / NES - published by Kemco-Seika.

Also, it is apparently "one of the few NES games to be available in a Swedish language version."
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Old 09-09-2018, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torzelbaum View Post
(If anyone could translate the Japanese text on the cover it would be greatly appreciated.)
The title is still transliterated SHADOWGATE, and the bottom just says Family Computer.
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Old 09-09-2018, 04:05 PM
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Speaking of Famicom Shadowgate, the game is rather infamous in Japan for having the hero narrate everything in the Japanese localization, including his own horrible deaths.

I really want a fan translation of the goofy Japanese script.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:46 AM
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Repeating what I said in the Top 50 Thread...

Basic Programming (Atari 2600/other formats, 1979, Atari)

Johnny: For a game that teaches you how to program, the cover makes it look like a hard sci-fi space epic where you colonize planets or something. Instead... well, this is from the instructional manual.



Clearly, no one is even trying to pretend computers are cool if you are taking instruction from Prof. Dork as he sends a correspondence to a computer. But the cover makes it look like it's going to be a transcendent experience with wrist computers, cool uniforms and a giant console that presumably controls Galactor-1, the moon-sized generation ship who NEEDS YOUR HELP to navigate the universe and to speak to the nanobot colonies to make your air and food. But hey, if you want to write love letters to your Sinclair ZX81, go nuts.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:53 AM
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I love it.
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:05 PM
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Man, it's just astonishing how unrepentantly 1970s those early Atari 2600 game boxes are.



When the 1980s rolled around, the artwork changed accordingly, becoming more sleek and dynamic. And no more bowl haircuts and porn-staches!

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Old 09-10-2018, 12:08 PM
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I want “With VOICE for Arcade Thrills” engraved on my tombstone.

I said it on an Internet forum, that makes it legally binding.

Make it happen, guys!
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetManMas View Post
Speaking of Famicom Shadowgate, the game is rather infamous in Japan for having the hero narrate everything in the Japanese localization, including his own horrible deaths.

I really want a fan translation of the goofy Japanese script.
Incidentally, from what I've read, the goofy localization comes from how the game is written in second-person in English (I.E., "you pick up the key and die horribly"). It's not really possible to write that way in Japanese while sounding neutral - every version of the word "you" is loaded with some sort of connotation that would make the text sound condescending, too friendly, or what have you. So they were sorta hamstrung into the choice they made.

The Shadowgate Famicom cover reminds me of how many Western RPGs were treated when ported to the FC:



It's funny to consider the evolutionary through-line that led to this. It's American D&D filtered through computer games and shounen manga that led to Dragon Quest, and then the Dragon Quest styling is papered over this British D&D-influenced computer game. I love it.

Anyway what I actually came here to share was



CLASH PENNANT RACE 2

I have nothing to add to this that isn't evident in the image.
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