First, I’d like to start off with a “mission statement” of sorts so everyone can get the idea behind this new column of mine.
Back in the day, it was very common for videogames to have horrendous cover art. Now that it’s 2006, though, one would think that when a company spends millions of corporate dollars/yen creating a videogame, that it would put a little extra effort on what could attract a potential buyer:
Yes, my friends, the cover art! How many times have you looked through a store’s used game section and just passed on a game based on its horrid cover?
So here is what I plan to do in my feeble attempt to stick it to the man (not in that way): I’ve searched near and far on the Internet (if that makes any sense), finding some of the worst covers for newer videogames, and I plan on tearing them a brand new anus just to prove my point. I know there are plenty of older Atari and NES titles to ridicule, but I’m talking about the newer stuff.
Keep reading—you’ll get the point.
Kingdom of Paradise (PSP)
I stumbled upon this monstrosity while I was browsing the PSP section at the local Wal-Mart. This guy has to be one of the most generic “heroes” I have ever seen! The generic-looking environment behind him sucks just as much as his mutton chops. He’s sporting the stereotypical spiky-haired ninja image, complete with generic sword and limp-wristed “ninja hand symbol.”
Seriously, even John Cena could beat up this guy.
What could improve this cover?: Anything. Seriously. There could be 100 dead hookers on the cover smothered in pork-‘n’-beans and honey mustard, and it would look better. Hell, I honestly think that if the cover was all white with simple Arial font saying “Kingdom of Paradise,” the game would have stood a better chance.
Half-Life 2 (MXB)
Before you start throwing Headcrabs my way, hear me out. I love Half Life 2. But seriously… the cover sucks. For such an amazing first-person shooter with so much action, this is quite the boring cover. Granted, I know that Dr. Freeman could crowbar Headcrabs until the sun comes up, but look at him on the cover. It just screams “hey, I’m pretty friggin boring! Buy me or I’ll stare you down!”
I love the background and the logo but, again, why show such an action-packed game off with Freeman just staring at you? Are those emerald peepers supposed to just tell us that he can blow stuff up? Is he concentrating so hard to send us text messages with his mind to tell us how awesome the game is?
What could improve this cover?: With a game like Half Life 2, you need to go one of two ways: have an action-packed cover with hundreds of dead Headcrabs and a blood-soaked Freeman, or just go generic like the original did. The plain orange cover with a cool cyberish pattern layered in there with the logo. Something to make the buyer curious or to make them know “damn, that’s a lot of dead Headcrabs, and I’ll be the one doing the smiting!”
This being an article about bad cover art, most of you probably expected something from 3DO. From the company that brought us too many Army Men and Might and Magic games comes Shifters. As the cover implies, you control a buff Nordic looking guy who turns into a half-naked buff Nordic guy and then into other things… like eagles. Great.
Let me start by pointing out the poorly centered text at the bottom. To the lower-right of that is the 3DO logo, which alone will turn away any self respecting gamer. With that out of the way, let’s check out the sweet “morphing” effect they have going on. Pretty badass, huh? Right. Granted, it isn’t as bad as some of the previous 3DO covers, but it still dips its finger into a warm cup of suckage.
What could improve this cover?: For starters, if I were 3DO, I would NEVER put my logo on the front of anything. Don’t even mention you have anything to do with it. Then, just don’t release the game. If phase two was unavoidable, I might have gone with an artist illustration of some sort of battle scene and have it panned out a little bit. This gives the impression that 3DO actually gave a shite about the game enough to pay someone $14 to draw the cover, so they MUST have put the same care into the game, right? You decide….