American Box Art Sucks

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SilentHunter7:

JoelChenFA:

SilentHunter7:
It's a trade off. You Aussies get good box art. We Yankees get games before they become irrelevant.

Good games don't become irrelevant. American ADD at work as usual?

American ADD? We own psychological disorders now? I didn't know that was possible.

Americans own everything. EVERYTHING!

Has anyone seen the Amnesia boxart?

Look it up on amazon or something...

Another good example of this is Radiata Stories, my favorite JRPG of all time. Here's the awesome Japanese box art:image

And here's the bland North American box art: http://www.answers.com/topic/radiata-stories

It's not horrible, just... lame. And not at all indicative of the game, like the Japanese one.

Jack Macaque:
I was gonna post about the RE games but I see someone thinks like me! Yay!

Look at American movies though(I`m Canadian, so yes, YOU people are american), Transformers is just 3 hours+/- of explosions and "hot chicks", it seems that nothing is good unless you cram it with too much crap, seemingly like how a lot of Americans cram too much crap down their throats, you guys love to over-bloat things to the point where splitting an atom in half would get the same point across.

Theres a Robot Chicken clip about Micheal Bay's "new movie" and it's a splosiongasm for 30 seconds, and it makes a point, people wanna watch something for as little time as possible and run away.

So if you look at a game case and pretty much figure the entire game out, like in RE4, then you waste less time with it.

Does this make sense? Not at all, but people go for it, they want everything explained to them in the first second of looking at something so they don't have to do any real thinking once the game starts, if they look at the art for the Japan RE4 then they think oh Ok maybe I'm a lumberjack in a forest of black trees, then they play the game and a few hours later back to Gamestop it goes for being misleading.

I'm not kidding, people really are this stupid, I'm not sure why or how, but it happens.

PS
Don't 'hate' on me for saying American this blah blah eff you blah blah, I'm just saying something that easy for people to get. I know Canada is cold blah blah igloos blah blah.

Love you guys, cheap gas and booze when I drive down there, few nice girls too.

Regardless of *anything* that I type or post, because of my worldly location and birthplace, I will always be considered American and have to take on the stereotypes that encompass that title. It's awful, shitty and often times I claim I'm Canadian when I go overseas, but c'est la vie... you can't always pick up and go live to where your heart feels at home in the world. There are plenty of Americans who feel like a rose amongst a field of dandelions because majority and money make our economy go round (or down? our economy is shit) and would love for things to be different.

Our culture does not relish art; Our culture thrives around what makes money. We seriously cannot always control what we are shown. I barely watch TV anymore because the shows are either uninteresting, or make my IQ feel like it's falling in the single digits the longer I watch. Same goes with movies and any form of art. There are gems occasionally, but the most that the American public can do is support those forms over others. For Americans who want to feel like they're a part of the world, you have to pay extra.

The US of A is still extremely young. Our country doesn't have the elegance or class that the rest of the world has had thousands of years to develop. We've been breeding innovation out of the population over the past few generations, and the movie Idiocracy is the perfect example to where our country is headed.

Any American who is intelligent will realize that there are a number of things that are particularly upsetting about how things go down here, and how the rest of the world laughs at us. The most we can do is try to be that one person who goes completely against the grain. That's difficult to keep up in a country that cherishes popularity and lime light.

BUT... I have to adhere to my stereotype since I was born in PA, so DERP DERP blah blah blah Canada is cold :)

Btw, something that my brothers started years and years ago... don't like your cover art? Download the one you like, print it out, put in the game's clear sleeve.

What about renaming French fries into the freedom fries?

Uncle_Brainhorn:

Darkwolf22:
Because most Americans are egotists, with the attention span of a goldfish high on LSD. If you want to get there attention, you've got to show tit's, vag, or large men with larger guns. otherwise, the dipshits wont pay it a second glance.

Amusing you call someone a "dipshit" while you yourself don't know the difference between "there" and "their."

Ahh i wasn't paying attention. I was a little high. but you do have to admit. I had somewhat of a point, a not entirely cohesive point. but a point none the less

Well Yatzhee, if you're honestly asking, I'd say that most of the time it's just sort of random. Sometimes, the UK box art is a lot worse than the American. Sometimes US and UK have the same at and Japan's version is the worst of all (by far). Some examples... US/UK vs. Japan in the first two Mario & Luigi games. Can't believe how boring they are in comparison.

Also. Left for dead 2. Seriously, I didn't know a fucking hand could underact so horribly. It officially bans anyone from saying America is the only place where box art is ruined; it happens all over the world.

CrawlingPastaHellion:
What about renaming French fries into the freedom fries?

That never, ever, ever, ever caught on, nor will it ever. Just a few politicians/celebrities/media people or whatever proposed the idea. It doesn't work.

I don't know. Maybe you think our box art sucks but most of the time I prefer ours because it pretty much tells you what you're going to get. Most of it follows the design of:
1) Here is your main protagonist(s)
2) the background shows what you'll mostly be doing

Minimalist is nice but for me it only works when I definitely know who the developers are and what kind of games they produce. I account it far less to lack of intelligence or lack of taste (Seriously? You judge that from game boxes?) and more to "We're not going to lie, here's what the product is."
It might not be pretty but it's informative enough. I learned the hard way in my childhood that some of the prettiest box art covers the worst games I've ever played. I'd much rather they be up front to me than make me guess what's inside. In fact, some of the ones people bitch about the most are the most clear examples to me.

Resident Evil 4: you're going to be playing a shoot em up with infected people starring Leon. Exactly what you get.

Ico: you're playing as some kid with horns that often leads around/protects some girl. That's true.

Final Fantasy X: Don't pay attention to the dancer/summoner on the PAL box, you're really going to be stuck with some whiny man-woman thing. Very true.

So I guess my point is, you can keep your pretty box art and get the stick out of your ass. Box art makes no one superior. Our version is just the up front advertisement lacking all the surreal eye candy. We get minimalist and artsy when our developers create a name for themselves. Plus, I've seen plenty of box art from japan and PAL versions that look atrocious so no one can really say they don't produce some ugly boxes.

Also, when my country has so many parents that buy games on the box art alone I'd like them to be at least somewhat informed on what they're getting. This may also be the big reason why ours are uglier but upfront on their subject.

With all due respect, people giving a damn about the box art is what's wrong with this industry, and why we cant have nice things. Do you care about the box art on your windows OS? Why should you? I'm more interested in the quality of the product inside the box then what's on the outside. Sure, in a perfect world what's outside the box and what's inside would both be of equally good quality, but as you all know, we aren't in a perfect world. Lets stick to badgering the game devs to put quality work inside the box before we worry about what's on the box cover, okay?

Not all designers in America, (USA), are bad. But the publishers and commissioners of the art are the worst. They try to control EVERYTHING without knowing anything because they think it will help their bottom line. They aren't out to make art, they're out to make money, and they think the American audience is too stupid to understand other countries or what they consider to be art/good.

Really, ask any graphic designer over here, you'll find out the craptastic people we have to work with over here.

Has anyone seen the North Amercan boxart for Amnesia the dark descent?
It's terrible.

http://www.frictionalgames.com/forum/thread-6434.html

As hinted in your article, the main reason for this trend has a lot to do with the culture of America.

Due to the revitalization of the faith in the "American Dream" during the 40's and 50's, the middle class man with the suburban home and the white picket fence became the new ideal for people to aspire to.

As such, America has had an absolute hardon the middle class, so it is safe to assume things will be tailored to fit their taste.

This is where the problem begins, because of the nature of the middle class they don't have the time or money to consume & contemplate art. (total generalization but that's the best way I can quantify it) However, the middle class does have time for entertainment, a short burst of fun that breaks up the rigmorol inherent within a middle class lifestyle. Thus, media tends to be tailored towards looking more like entertainment, even if the work in question is more in line with art.

I agree with your examples, but they're also pretty old. Things are getting better, though they're still more generic than I'd like. Stylistic is always good. The really bad examples you gave... I'm not sure what was up with box art in those days. It's not like Americans don't understand art... but it's like they forgot boxart has art in the word.

One thing though, what's with everything being minimalistic somehow always being considered good? Seriously, if a box cover has little on it, it's always considered better than something with more. Oh! They're so artsy! They can put less effort into things; it must have meaning! For example, Portal 1's boxart had barely anything on it. People liked it. I like it. Portal 2 has quite a bit on it. People don't like it as much (I like it still, but yeah).

Yes, because when I play video games all I think about is the box art.

"What's this game? RE4? ME2? what shitty cover art I'll never play this game"

Because it's the only way the French will learn.

>.>

I've never really looked at a game and thought "I want that!" Based on box art alone.

Then again, I grew up on crappy American box art. Maybe that says something.

MegaMan and E.T. alone can be evidence that American box art should be illegal. Mass Effect 2 was HORRENDOUS. Photoshopped pictures of the main characters ORLY?

The interesting thing about the Japanese cover art is how much it makes the games look like American graphic novels from the 70s: If a book's about the cosmos, then there's an utterly dwarfing wraparound of the cosmos. If a non sequitur's called for, then it has the space of the entire front cover in which to resonate.

If you were standing in front of a locked display shelf in an American indie comic store, you'd see what I mean. The least tasteful covers you'd find would be by Frank Thorne, and I'd anoint myself with oil if he were tasked with localized games.

The artists aren't the problem. It's the eds and publishers.

BTW: The original Ico cover looks good not because it resembles the game's "actual world" but because it's a pastiche of a De Chirico painting titled "Melancholy and Mystery of a Street": http://palad1n.com/images/melancholy.jpg

LOL, I remember thinking how crappy box art was as a kid. Good to know that some things never change.

Is it just me, or does anyone else actually find the American box art far superior to the rest of world boxes. American ICO and Heavy Rain look awesome IMO, but I wouldn't even consider buying a game that looked like the sissy/arty European or Japanese versions. Although that's probably a good thing as those particular games happen to suck ass.

Alright now that everyone has seen angry Kirby, look at the American box art of Kirby Super Star and its remake on the DS or Kirby's Dreamland 3, he smiling. I apologize I don't know how to embed images, look it up if you want.
Maybe I'm too American, but I don't see a problem with most of the box art. I liked USA's Chrono Trigger box art to Japan's which has the entire cast on it in a white background. I see a pattern where if it touches American soil its automatically bad box art. Europe seems to be up its own butt again, look, your box art isn't going to show up in the Louvre so chill out. I'm sure there is bad box art everywhere, just like there is bad everything everywhere. There is good box art you just have to look for it.

Nocturnal Gentleman:
I don't know. Maybe you think our box art sucks but most of the time I prefer ours because it pretty much tells you what you're going to get. Most of it follows the design of:
1) Here is your main protagonist(s)
2) the background shows what you'll mostly be doing

Minimalist is nice but for me it only works when I definitely know who the developers are and what kind of games they produce. I account it far less to lack of intelligence or lack of taste (Seriously? You judge that from game boxes?) and more to "We're not going to lie, here's what the product is."
It might not be pretty but it's informative enough. I learned the hard way in my childhood that some of the prettiest box art covers the worst games I've ever played. I'd much rather they be up front to me than make me guess what's inside. In fact, some of the ones people bitch about the most are the most clear examples to me.

Resident Evil 4: you're going to be playing a shoot em up with infected people starring Leon. Exactly what you get.

Ico: you're playing as some kid with horns that often leads around/protects some girl. That's true.

Final Fantasy X: Don't pay attention to the dancer/summoner on the PAL box, you're really going to be stuck with some whiny man-woman thing. Very true.

So I guess my point is, you can keep your pretty box art and get the stick out of your ass. Box art makes no one superior. Our version is just the up front advertisement lacking all the surreal eye candy. We get minimalist and artsy when our developers create a name for themselves. Plus, I've seen plenty of box art from japan and PAL versions that look atrocious so no one can really say they don't produce some ugly boxes.

Also, when my country has so many parents that buy games on the box art alone I'd like them to be at least somewhat informed on what they're getting. This may also be the big reason why ours are uglier but upfront on their subject.

I salute you

Redsennacy2189:

Jack Macaque:
I was gonna post about the RE games but I see someone thinks like me! Yay!

Look at American movies though(I`m Canadian, so yes, YOU people are american), Transformers is just 3 hours+/- of explosions and "hot chicks", it seems that nothing is good unless you cram it with too much crap, seemingly like how a lot of Americans cram too much crap down their throats, you guys love to over-bloat things to the point where splitting an atom in half would get the same point across.

Theres a Robot Chicken clip about Micheal Bay's "new movie" and it's a splosiongasm for 30 seconds, and it makes a point, people wanna watch something for as little time as possible and run away.

So if you look at a game case and pretty much figure the entire game out, like in RE4, then you waste less time with it.

Does this make sense? Not at all, but people go for it, they want everything explained to them in the first second of looking at something so they don't have to do any real thinking once the game starts, if they look at the art for the Japan RE4 then they think oh Ok maybe I'm a lumberjack in a forest of black trees, then they play the game and a few hours later back to Gamestop it goes for being misleading.

I'm not kidding, people really are this stupid, I'm not sure why or how, but it happens.

PS
Don't 'hate' on me for saying American this blah blah eff you blah blah, I'm just saying something that easy for people to get. I know Canada is cold blah blah igloos blah blah.

Love you guys, cheap gas and booze when I drive down there, few nice girls too.

Regardless of *anything* that I type or post, because of my worldly location and birthplace, I will always be considered American and have to take on the stereotypes that encompass that title. It's awful, shitty and often times I claim I'm Canadian when I go overseas, but c'est la vie... you can't always pick up and go live to where your heart feels at home in the world. There are plenty of Americans who feel like a rose amongst a field of dandelions because majority and money make our economy go round (or down? our economy is shit) and would love for things to be different.

Our culture does not relish art; Our culture thrives around what makes money. We seriously cannot always control what we are shown. I barely watch TV anymore because the shows are either uninteresting, or make my IQ feel like it's falling in the single digits the longer I watch. Same goes with movies and any form of art. There are gems occasionally, but the most that the American public can do is support those forms over others. For Americans who want to feel like they're a part of the world, you have to pay extra.

The US of A is still extremely young. Our country doesn't have the elegance or class that the rest of the world has had thousands of years to develop. We've been breeding innovation out of the population over the past few generations, and the movie Idiocracy is the perfect example to where our country is headed.

Any American who is intelligent will realize that there are a number of things that are particularly upsetting about how things go down here, and how the rest of the world laughs at us. The most we can do is try to be that one person who goes completely against the grain. That's difficult to keep up in a country that cherishes popularity and lime light.

BUT... I have to adhere to my stereotype since I was born in PA, so DERP DERP blah blah blah Canada is cold :)

I agree with you completely brother, minus the derp derp :P hahaha

I think TV is the biggest problem, I watch The Late Late Show and sometimes the news for traffic, but aside from that I feel like TV is trying to tell me I'm stupid or something, just, makes me feel degraded if I watch it.

I unno, IMO of course.

I think the re-... uh... re box arting of localized games stems from this need of "We must Americanize this so Americans can understand wtf is going on." Course this usually isnt necessary but what can you do? Everything has to be about violence(like that Kirby game where Jap Kirby was all happy and Ameri Kirby had a mean look to his face) or about sex( The Heavy Rain cover. LOOK ITS A GIRL. IN A TANK TOP. LOOKING VAGUELY WET. BOOBIES). Course we've always had this strange oxymoronic situation where we can have all the gore and sexy poses but god forbid that a nipple comes out.

"Oh God, am I still doing this? Are people still watching my videos? Fuck it, I'll just whine about Americans again. Ha, this time, I'll blame them for things that have been imported into their country! No one will notice I can't or won't write new material..."

-George Washington, Valley Forge

MacNille:
You should have brought up resident evil 4 boxart.

here is the pal version: image It's very stylise and a litte scary too.

Now here is the american: image

So generic. Nothing about this cover is good. It's so damn bland.

And since Capcom is a Japanese company and not an american one, it says nothing about Americans and everything about the Japanese perception of America.

walkerofski: You're pretty much channeling Theodor Adorno, which makes you correct.

However:

Why does no one suspect YC's blaming American gamers for the box art they've been stuck with because that, like many of his other pronouncements, is a typical journalistic strategy for generating controversy and, therefore, mile-long threads? Yes, said strategy can be tiresome. But it does accomplish the job.

After all, no one's blaming YC's people for British tabloids, reality TV and the relentless colonization that led to tiny mistakes like apartheid in South Africa, aborigine rape and Rupert Murdoch in Australia and massacred Native Americans and the delightful Tea Party here in the U.S., a country that makes nose-picking bottle-shattering yobbos feel positively tasteful. It's fairly well understood that individual residents of a given country aren't to blame for the idiocy of their inherited culture or the machinations of fine-print-democracy despots.

MacNille:
You should have brought up resident evil 4 boxart.

here is the pal version: image It's very stylise and a litte scary too.

Now here is the american: image

So generic. Nothing about this cover is good. It's so damn bland.

Ok, artistic vision aside, which of these two is the better representation of the game? A single guy with a chainsaw in the woods? Or a mess of not-zombies chasing the dashing hero?

Another example, this time of the infamous Russian box-art.
The Rise of Flight WWI flight simulator was at first intended to be distributed online only. They only published a limited jewel-box edition for the internal market, since Russians still aren't very eager to buy games online. The box-art was very laconic.

Then they issued a special collector's edition for the US market.

And then they made a collector's edition for the Russian market.

I think I'll leave the comparing to you.

Duke Nukem Forever's Boxart for the PAL Region:
image

Duke Nukem FOrever's Boxart for America:
image

Both with wonky senses of perspective, both with a teenage-looking Duke (with man-boobs), and both with what looks like a photoshopped right-arm. The only difference being Duke's smoking in the American one. So while they're both pretty bad, you can at least give Gearbox/2K credit for giving the game equally underwhelming boxart for all regions.

The background's nice, though.

Triforceformer:
Duke Nukem Forever's Boxart for the PAL Region:
image

Duke Nukem FOrever's Boxart for America:
image

Both with wonky senses of perspective, both with a teenage-looking Duke (with man-boobs), and both with what looks like a photoshopped right-arm. The only difference being Duke's smoking in the American one. So while they're both pretty bad, you can at least give Gearbox/2K credit for giving the game equally underwhelming boxart for all regions.

The background's nice, though.

Not to mention the American box art is bigger YEAH!!

I think it is because:
(1) US publishers are powerful enough to change box art on their whim
(2) US Publishers are paranoid their market "won't get it" with foreign games

These publishers seem to have the impression America has a fatal inescapable fear of "arty" stuff.

Another factor: American market relies far more on TV and other marketing to sell games, the box art is usually the last stage in the process you DO NOT want to scare them off or loose them due to abstraction.

In the UK I see much less Video Game advertising on TV, billboards and so on. Often other than reviews the Box art IS the main stand-out feature. It HAS to be abstract, unique, eye catching and revealing of depth.

Nocturnal Gentleman:
I don't know. Maybe you think our box art sucks but most of the time I prefer ours because it pretty much tells you what you're going to get. Most of it follows the design of:
1) Here is your main protagonist(s)
2) the background shows what you'll mostly be doing

Minimalist is nice but for me it only works when I definitely know who the developers are and what kind of games they produce. I account it far less to lack of intelligence or lack of taste (Seriously? You judge that from game boxes?) and more to "We're not going to lie, here's what the product is."
It might not be pretty but it's informative enough. I learned the hard way in my childhood that some of the prettiest box art covers the worst games I've ever played. I'd much rather they be up front to me than make me guess what's inside. In fact, some of the ones people bitch about the most are the most clear examples to me.

Resident Evil 4: you're going to be playing a shoot em up with infected people starring Leon. Exactly what you get.

Ico: you're playing as some kid with horns that often leads around/protects some girl. That's true.

Final Fantasy X: Don't pay attention to the dancer/summoner on the PAL box, you're really going to be stuck with some whiny man-woman thing. Very true.

So I guess my point is, you can keep your pretty box art and get the stick out of your ass. Box art makes no one superior. Our version is just the up front advertisement lacking all the surreal eye candy. We get minimalist and artsy when our developers create a name for themselves. Plus, I've seen plenty of box art from japan and PAL versions that look atrocious so no one can really say they don't produce some ugly boxes.

I see exactly what you are getting at, but I am coming from the perspective of always knowing exactly what Game I am going to get after extensive research, reviews, tech-analysis and so on. The box-art is - to me - going to be the LAST deciding factor on "To buy or not to buy".

Box art to me is a matter of prestige. I mean if the box art is just a billboard to basically advertise the game then why keep it? You have every reason to bin it and put the disc(s) in a CD-folder to save space.

I know this sounds arty and superficial but it means a lot to me to have a great game held in a box of inspiring box-art. Nothing like flicking through a box full of classic games to see what you want to replay and seeing really impressive art. I used to have a box of N64 cartridges (before they all got melted in a house fire) those cartridges had great art on them, it wouldn't be the same with just bland "this is what is in the game".

The importance of looking at great box art for a game is you never forget what a game is actually about, but good box art can remind you of what the game FEELS like, what deeper impression it left.
__

Valve's Steam does a very similar thing with it's games on good presentation art, almost every game has a glorious mini-poster for launching the game, it just gives you so much more enthusiasm to play a game than a shitty little desktop-shortcut with that obnoxious "shortcut" symbol covering quarter of the icon. God I sound like a valve-fanboy... but seriously, games are a visual medium and your visual impression begins when selecting and start the game.

Also, when my country has so many parents that buy games on the box art alone I'd like them to be at least somewhat informed on what they're getting. This may also be the big reason why ours are uglier but upfront on their subject.

Well parents buying games like Resident Evil 4... for their kid?

Although I can see the commercial side of making it easier to sell to parents that is a terrible strategy for the overall market health. Targeting games to kids VIA their parents there is no incentive to make genuinely great games, games that kids would actually like, just games that:
(1)their parents THINK they will like
(2)what the parents too would want them to play

The best model is for kids to save up and buy t-rated games with their own money.

My response to the issue. Please excuse grammar. This was kind of rushed.

http://lascaldaferri.blogspot.com/2011/02/rant-rant-rant.html

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