American Box Art Sucks

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Of course, most of these replies ignore the possibility that the ugly box art really *does* appeal to more of the target audience, who after all, are generally young men with little aesthetic appreciation for "quiet desolation".

I have no problem believing that graphic artists and companies elsewhere in world would either knowing or unknowingly sacrifice sales to artistic ego. God knows that Europeans had years to emulate McDonald's, but instead waited until the Americans came over and proved that Europeans (and the rest of the world) have the same taste preferences (or lack thereof) as the Americans. It was simply that the natives couldn't bring themselves to descend to that level.

In most of the world, there is a shame in making money by catering to the "lowbrow" market. In America, the only shame is not to make money.

[Note for the pedantic: the above is a massive generalization not to be taken too seriously.]

Varrdy:

newfoundsky:
Obviously, you've never been to America. Or if you have, you thought you were in Montgomery the whole time. And if you live here, move. Not out of the country, mind you, but somewhere were you aren't surrounded by the ignorant stereotype of American. Like, say, Utah. I love Utah.

Actually I've been to America twice and am a few hours away from booking my flight for this year's jaunt to the States. Ohio this time, for the record.

Actually you are right in calling me out but that's the general opinion I get sometimes. Americans try to remake our stuff and generally cock it up (Red Dwarf springs to mind), which is a shame because when they actually come up with their own stuff, it can be pretty funny. Two and a Half Men, for example. Plus a lot of Amercian stand-up comedians could make me laugh at my own mother's funeral (not that she's dead, I was just being hypothetical!).

I think they just like to think they can do things better. I had to post a copy of a book to a friend in Florida once. It was a European novel that couldn't get published in the USA because the authour refused to re-write the book to make the hero American.

Wardy

I completely agree with America being stuck on the concept of constant re-making of everything. It's upsetting to see my younger sister loving that crap re-make Let Me In, yet won't watch the original version cause she doesn't want to read through the subtitles, which is understandable, she's ten. I don't see why they wouldn't publish the novel, the Men Who Hate Women series was released here, albeit with a different title but the story remained the same. Everything took place in Sweden and the main character was Swedish. Whatever company the author was trying to get published through is a bunch of idiots.

But it's mostly just the mainstream Hollywood, they learned through the re-makes of The Ring and The Grudge that audiences would keep paying for it, so they started to re-make everything. As an aspiring film maker I find this trend depressing. Everything even old American films are getting re-made. I don't see why Hollywood won't get some creative juices flowing, but everything's about the dollar so they make the movies that garner the most money. The thing that's got me the most though is the use of 3-D, the technology has been around for ages and was only used for kids films and cheap slasher flicks, and now everyone's acting like it's some great stuff. It takes away the art of the film, and is only there to add a few extra dollars to the ticket.

I'm ranting now so I'll shut up.

This is actually the first extra punctuation I've ever found interesting enough to read all the way through as it was informative first and funny second. Well done.

TomWest:
Of course, most of these replies ignore the possibility that the ugly box art really *does* appeal to more of the target audience, who after all, are generally young men with little aesthetic appreciation for "quiet desolation".

I have no problem believing that graphic artists and companies elsewhere in world would either knowing or unknowingly sacrifice sales to artistic ego. God knows that Europeans had years to emulate McDonald's, but instead waited until the Americans came over and proved that Europeans (and the rest of the world) have the same taste preferences (or lack thereof) as the Americans. It was simply that the natives couldn't bring themselves to descend to that level.

In most of the world, there is a shame in making money by catering to the "lowbrow" market. In America, the only shame is not to make money.

[Note for the pedantic: the above is a massive generalization not to be taken too seriously.]

Said perfectly. Obviously generalized but couldn't have said it better.

The only thing I'll add is that American advertising is encouraged to cater to the "lowbrow" market. I remember being told repeatedly through out my short lived career in it to aim at a third grade reading/comprehension level.

Why do you think the latest trend in commercials is to be ridiculously silly (I.e. Skittles commercials) and have nothing to do with the product? Those are often but not always intelligently designed commercials but at the same time have no chance of confusing the viewer. "We made you laugh, buy this product." So unless you have no sense of humor, point is made.

This same thing plays into Box Art design. Chances you know something about the game already while your at the store so the cover arts job is to just get your attention.

    "LOOK! This has a white male protagonist! There's some kind of octopus monster in here! TECHNOLOGY! Also, bewbs."

Also, don't forget that only recently are people starting to realize games aren't just for white 12 year old boys.

ghostchild55:

Varrdy:

newfoundsky:
Obviously, you've never been to America. Or if you have, you thought you were in Montgomery the whole time. And if you live here, move. Not out of the country, mind you, but somewhere were you aren't surrounded by the ignorant stereotype of American. Like, say, Utah. I love Utah.

Actually I've been to America twice and am a few hours away from booking my flight for this year's jaunt to the States. Ohio this time, for the record.

Actually you are right in calling me out but that's the general opinion I get sometimes. Americans try to remake our stuff and generally cock it up (Red Dwarf springs to mind), which is a shame because when they actually come up with their own stuff, it can be pretty funny. Two and a Half Men, for example. Plus a lot of Amercian stand-up comedians could make me laugh at my own mother's funeral (not that she's dead, I was just being hypothetical!).

I think they just like to think they can do things better. I had to post a copy of a book to a friend in Florida once. It was a European novel that couldn't get published in the USA because the authour refused to re-write the book to make the hero American.

Wardy

I completely agree with America being stuck on the concept of constant re-making of everything. It's upsetting to see my younger sister loving that crap re-make Let Me In, yet won't watch the original version cause she doesn't want to read through the subtitles, which is understandable, she's ten. I don't see why they wouldn't publish the novel, the Men Who Hate Women series was released here, albeit with a different title but the story remained the same. Everything took place in Sweden and the main character was Swedish. Whatever company the author was trying to get published through is a bunch of idiots.

But it's mostly just the mainstream Hollywood, they learned through the re-makes of The Ring and The Grudge that audiences would keep paying for it, so they started to re-make everything. As an aspiring film maker I find this trend depressing. Everything even old American films are getting re-made. I don't see why Hollywood won't get some creative juices flowing, but everything's about the dollar so they make the movies that garner the most money. The thing that's got me the most though is the use of 3-D, the technology has been around for ages and was only used for kids films and cheap slasher flicks, and now everyone's acting like it's some great stuff. It takes away the art of the film, and is only there to add a few extra dollars to the ticket.

I'm ranting now so I'll shut up.

There's the addition that most every show I watch from over-seas (Specifically BBC) tends to have lower production values or at least the appearance of such. Look at both versions of The Office. Both hilarious but most American viewers would be turned off by it's appearance. So thinking they can do the same thing with better production values the American version often loses a lot of the originals charm.

Stuff just gets lost in translation.

Temple of Dregs:

TomWest:
Of course, most of these replies ignore the possibility that the ugly box art really *does* appeal to more of the target audience, who after all, are generally young men with little aesthetic appreciation for "quiet desolation".

I have no problem believing that graphic artists and companies elsewhere in world would either knowing or unknowingly sacrifice sales to artistic ego. God knows that Europeans had years to emulate McDonald's, but instead waited until the Americans came over and proved that Europeans (and the rest of the world) have the same taste preferences (or lack thereof) as the Americans. It was simply that the natives couldn't bring themselves to descend to that level.

In most of the world, there is a shame in making money by catering to the "lowbrow" market. In America, the only shame is not to make money.

[Note for the pedantic: the above is a massive generalization not to be taken too seriously.]

Said perfectly. Obviously generalized but couldn't have said it better.

The only thing I'll add is that American advertising is encouraged to cater to the "lowbrow" market. I remember being told repeatedly through out my short lived career in it to aim at a third grade reading/comprehension level.

Why do you think the latest trend in commercials is to be ridiculously silly (I.e. Skittles commercials) and have nothing to do with the product? Those are often but not always intelligently designed commercials but at the same time have no chance of confusing the viewer. "We made you laugh, buy this product." So unless you have no sense of humor, point is made.

This same thing plays into Box Art design. Chances you know something about the game already while your at the store so the cover arts job is to just get your attention.

    "LOOK! This has a white male protagonist! There's some kind of octopus monster in here! TECHNOLOGY! Also, bewbs."

Also, don't forget that only recently are people starting to realize games aren't just for white 12 year old boys.

ghostchild55:

Varrdy:

Actually I've been to America twice and am a few hours away from booking my flight for this year's jaunt to the States. Ohio this time, for the record.

Actually you are right in calling me out but that's the general opinion I get sometimes. Americans try to remake our stuff and generally cock it up (Red Dwarf springs to mind), which is a shame because when they actually come up with their own stuff, it can be pretty funny. Two and a Half Men, for example. Plus a lot of Amercian stand-up comedians could make me laugh at my own mother's funeral (not that she's dead, I was just being hypothetical!).

I think they just like to think they can do things better. I had to post a copy of a book to a friend in Florida once. It was a European novel that couldn't get published in the USA because the authour refused to re-write the book to make the hero American.

Wardy

I completely agree with America being stuck on the concept of constant re-making of everything. It's upsetting to see my younger sister loving that crap re-make Let Me In, yet won't watch the original version cause she doesn't want to read through the subtitles, which is understandable, she's ten. I don't see why they wouldn't publish the novel, the Men Who Hate Women series was released here, albeit with a different title but the story remained the same. Everything took place in Sweden and the main character was Swedish. Whatever company the author was trying to get published through is a bunch of idiots.

But it's mostly just the mainstream Hollywood, they learned through the re-makes of The Ring and The Grudge that audiences would keep paying for it, so they started to re-make everything. As an aspiring film maker I find this trend depressing. Everything even old American films are getting re-made. I don't see why Hollywood won't get some creative juices flowing, but everything's about the dollar so they make the movies that garner the most money. The thing that's got me the most though is the use of 3-D, the technology has been around for ages and was only used for kids films and cheap slasher flicks, and now everyone's acting like it's some great stuff. It takes away the art of the film, and is only there to add a few extra dollars to the ticket.

I'm ranting now so I'll shut up.

There's the addition that most every show I watch from over-seas (Specifically BBC) tends to have lower production values or at least the appearance of such. Look at both versions of The Office. Both hilarious but most American viewers would be turned off by it's appearance. So thinking they can do the same thing with better production values the American version often loses a lot of the originals charm.

Stuff just gets lost in translation.

Agreed. That's one problem with America, since the big boys know they have more money and higher production values they think they can make something better by tacking some fancier effects and such on it. Like Let Me In, nearly a shot for shot re-make of the original, just placed here and with a big budget. It doesn't have any purpose, it's existence is pointless, but they made it thinking they could do it better because they had more money to throw into it.

I also agree that for some reason they attempt to cater to the 'lowbrow' audience as you said. Everything seems to be aimed at the demographic with the shortest attention span and probably the least intelligence.

Well i guess our friends overseas just have a problem with the littly syllable -art in boxart. The resident evil thing is a very good example. "Dont care about the mood, its a game bout zombies an chainsauce [sic] n stuff, not bout scarynessiness" mon dieu

I think the box art is among the last reasons we would buy a game so there is less effort put into it. There is no shortage of impulse shoppers but most are going to need more than one reason to buy a game and the box art is hardly going to be among them. Distributors know they can do better targeting us in other ways.

Besides, we clearly do not hate things that look good. Quite the opposite in fact. We love things that look good. Take a closer look at our cars and our women if you don't think so.

Box art... meh.

I think I might have figured it out. The American release gets uglier covers with the game in its least edited form and other countries get good looking covers and heavily edited games.

Otto42:
Europe also has everybody pretty much *hating* each other's guts. There's virtually no crossover. Or are you seriously suggesting that Germans all watch the same shows that the British people do?

The thing is, while the US is indeed a wide varied set of cultures, just as Europe is, very few people are trying to sell something to the whole of Europe at once. They localize, and tailor content to each audience. That's not the case here, because apparently we just can't be bothered or something, so everything ends up having to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

But there's very little tailoring to be done. I don't want to seem callous here, but a lot of European nations have more in common with each other than they do with America, especially in terms of media and art. But Everything ends up localized mostly because of language barriers, and because... well, different countries. We don't have the same networks broadcasting to all of Europe, do we? America can be lumped into one great big homogenized mess because it's just one enormous country full of loads of people speaking English with roughly the same reference pools and media, but over in Europe we don't just have borders, but language differences. Our cultures have grown up separately and while they do influence each other a lot (resulting in artistic output that we can all enjoy), there are still a lot of differences that mean you can't just sell the same shit to all of Europe. But if these problems didn't exist, or if everyone just spoke the same language, then it would be far easier to find something all of Europe likes than it would be to find something all America likes. Hell, just look at Wallander. We see a lot of American and British art being exchanged but only because of the language. Compared to media from other parts of Europe, American media is extremely different, for the most part, in tone and style when compared to British media.

I don't hate things that look good. Whoever's responsible for our cover art does, though... Apparently.

I've actually wondered about this looking at the covers for Tekken. Especially the last one. It has the Mishima family on it with King and Nina right behind them. Nina I kinda understand because she's Jin's bodyguard now, but why King?

EDIT: Don't even get me started on God of War 3's cover.

Um. Well, *shrugs* I'm sorry?

Because Americans sell movies, not games.
Most American advertisers are not aware of how games function, the simply see it as a movie you push buttons to. So the logical advertising method would be to make the box look like a movie poster.

Well mostly we don't get a say in what the cover looks like. Just like how you didn't make your local box art nice and pretty, we didn't make ours ugly. Thats how it's handed too us. And it's not like I'll ignore heavy rain because the box art is shoddy.

secretsofgames:
I think the box art is among the last reasons we would buy a game so there is less effort put into it. There is no shortage of impulse shoppers but most are going to need more than one reason to buy a game and the box art is hardly going to be among them. Distributors know they can do better targeting us in other ways.

Besides, we clearly do not hate things that look good. Quite the opposite in fact. We love things that look good. Take a closer look at our cars and our women if you don't think so.

Box art... meh.

The purpose of Box Art like a lot of advertising isn't to get you to buy it but to let you know it exists. Think about McDOnalds comemrcials. They spend HUGE amounts of money advertising. Does McDonalds think you're goign to forget they exist if you don't see an ad for them everywhere you go? Do they think it's going to make you buy their food as soon as you see it? Probably not.

The goal is to put it in your head so the next time your hungry you'll think of McDs first.

Sort of the same with Box Art. You probably have a laundry list of games you might want when you walk into a game store. By putting something attention grabbing on the box you're more likely to pick it up which increases your chance of buying it over other games you didn't look at first.

How often have you gone somewhere with a view items you planned to get, forgot the list and left with maybe a few of the things and something you didn't plan on buying? Even if you haven't the vast majority of people do it all the time. Hell, I'd say a decent chunk of people don't even have a list to begin with.

THEY'RE IN OUR HEADS, MAN!

Probably because i dont design them. Of course I'm not sure if you would like the box art better, it would most likely just involve a picture of tits 90% of the time, even for games that dont even have women in them. They'd sell well though I think.

Its all about the money now adays... If the game gets 2 billion and has a good cover they would take the bad cover with a star on it for 3 billion.

Basically, Europe and the rest of the world like atmosphere, or the mysteriousness of it, while Americans like a feeling of epic-ness and knowing who the characters are. To be honest, I prefer your guys' artwork. The American ones are too busy.

I think those who do marketing are under the impression that Americans only play games for the action, or are nerds who drink red bull and swear all night while playing Call of Duty in their Mom's basement. And for some reason they think we have a thing for disembodied heads.

I think marketing is just being insecure with having to "compete" with Hollywood. They have to insinuate that the game is an action movie with "intense" relationships. Although i really like how they try to portray Kirby as being intense. It's like they're trying say Kirby games are actually difficult and have some sort of drama.

Poisoned Al:
American cars are a prime example of this. "Hey, this car isn't very good. I know! Lets slap in a huge engine so it'll be going even faster when it careens off the road due the chassis being made out of old ladders, and the transmission lifted from Fred Flintstone's car!"

This statement is so wrong I'd call it hilarious if I didn't know there were a bunch of similarly misinformed people nodding their heads in agreement when they read this. Just FYI, you don't know much about cars and it shows.

It's sad that we live in an era where people get their news from John Stewart, their history from Howard Zinn, and their autojournalism from Jeremy Clarkson. Just sad.

By the way, what is it with foreigners constantly harping on this or that aspect of America? Is their own existence so sad, dreary, unengaging that they have to do this to make themselves feel important, or are their native cultures so bereft of dynamism and life that for them to seem relevant it's necessary to tear down one that is? It's kinda pathetic. I feel sorry for them.

Ughh, I feel like emigrating for box art (and PAL Metroid Prime Trilogy).
ICO's American cover made me genuinely angry. The Japanese one is phenomenal and actually based on art! If Americans really thought that it was boring, I'm sure that what they actually got was SO much more exciting. Same goes with Twilight Princess. The Wolf/Link thing looks cliche to me but t he Japanese cover is pretty nice. Metroid: Other M had a pretty unique multi-layered Japanese cover that shows that the game would be about characterization in a nice way (although it didn't actually do that in a nice way), but WE MUST COLLAGE SAMUS SAMUS (and Adam)in the US. Same goes for Metroid Prime 3. Is that, 3 Samuses?

It's relative to the country...Japan love vast worlds, often in anime or their culture, the stories are simple but the worlds are vast and imaginative...Europe like pushing boundaries and making metaphors of everything (it's fun you should try it) and America just like characters they can project onto. Look at the boxart now and try to see this theme...not always true I admit but it's a good rule of thumb...

This article pisses me off... I WANT BETTER BOX ART! damn you all box art designers.
On a more serious note, I do appreciate it when I do see box art that doesn't look like someone just messed around in photoshop. The best example I have right now in my game collection is the cover for crackdown 2

http://www.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1279851222-00.jpg

The cover conveys the concept of this game very well, loud, messy, chaotic violence. And it does this without photoshopping the characters over some bland background and having them stare you in the face like some irritating fairy saying "hey! over here! look!"

It's not entirely our fault, every person in marketing (whether they reside in the US or otherwise) has gotten it into their heads that Americans are a bunch of unsophisticated baboons. So they have decided that the best course of action was to remove any depth that could have triggered a neuron or two.

The reason is that American marketers suck dicks. This is coming from an American, though I have lived abroad so I having something to compare our own special idiocy with. That being said all countries seem to have their own special brands of idiocy and things they get stupid about.

Its because the American box-art/movie-poster/advertising-industry has a business model of "Lie to the customer." http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CoversAlwaysLie Why is there a hillbilly on the cover? WHY?!?

Until I saw this article, I didn't know that our box art sucked... I DIDN'T KNOW! The message needs to be spread, we need to demand more of our morons!

If we could change it we would. I don't know who is in charge but I flip most my box art inside out and write the names on the side. Better then S***.

BTW am I the only one that thinks Capcom should make a GTA style sandbox game starring the Bonne family?

I mean, robbing banks with giant robots, IT WOULD BE $%^#&ING AWESOME!

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?

A friend of mine who is a graphic designer did some corporate design work for a few companies in America. When he came back, the first thing he told me is that American design philosophy is at least 5 years behind Europe, 7 years behind England. It might be due to the culture as a number of posts I've seen have already said, but the box art is a little irrelevant these days. In the age of incredibly easy multimedia sharing, it's all about the trailers, game play videos and screen shots.

"You're wrong because you're different." A very American way of looking at it, Yahtzee.

And I know for a fact the American cover for God Hand was waaaay better than the Japanese version.

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.

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."

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.

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