American Box Art Sucks

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Wile back in the day before the internet box art was important.Today wile a cool box art might get you to pick it up,look at the back and possibly buy it on impulse it wouldn't stop the game from being terrible.Box art IMO is irrelevant at this point.Lets take Gears of War 3 for instance.The fans and people who are following this game would still buy it if it just came in a brown bag.
Cool box art for our U.S games would be great but I think over all the developers don't care.

hey, i don't wanna brag but if i was the one the companies wanted to make their box art for them, it'd look a lot better.

it's just a couple a fuck heads yahtzee, they wanna sell sell sell and to do that they think they need to slap the big old tities on the front because america seems to be full of perverts to them.

honestly, i love the european box art, and i love british commercials to. super bowl commercials here are standard commercials there, it's depressing to know that my people are RETAAAARDEEEEEED.

but no, seriously, i'd love to be a box art designer, i'd make it look good.

This Deserves to be a Zero Punctuation episode Yahtzee, SERIOUSLY< YOU ARE SO FUCKING RIGHT ^_^
Thanks so much for mentioning Delphine studios, i love flashback and Another work, WONDERFU WONDERFUL GAMES!

As an American I can't say I've ever had any say in what our box art looks like, so I find the assertion that Americans love shitty box art is kinda stupid. Corporate focus groups, marketing, art directors, etc. are more likely to blame. So, wrong to say Americans love shitty box art, but your examples do show that apparently we get the shitty box art. Altho I recall getting the Euro version of Flashback box art, maybe cause I got it on the Mac, I'm so special.

Thankfully I buy games for the games and not the box so I don't have to kill myself over this revelation. Phew.

Well what about Call of Duty: Black Ops or Dead Space 2 if we wanna get on this whole idea that minimalism means artsy. Black Ops has our hero sitting down in the shadows, two M-16s on his back, and two handguns in his hands (one with Sally carved into the side) the cover doesn't show some big badass guy, no tits, no girls, yes it has guns but he's not in Mr. Badass pose or anything. The box art seems to address the horrors of war, showing a beaten soldier sitting down, possibly implying he's given up. But that's just me pulling stuff out of my ass according to some people here, although in reality that's what I get when I look at the box art.

Then there's DS2, it's just the glowing lights of a guys mask. The only thing this box art seems to imply is that it's a dark game, and the guy's wearing a helmet that seems impossible to actually be able to see out of. But it shows little, so it must be artsy right?

Yahtzee Croshaw:
I've got a question for my American readers. It's a simple one. Why do you hate things that look good?

Considering nobody bought these games when they looked like shit I think you're asking the wrong question. It's not like we all went "Hot damn, look at that, it's like Lisa Frank meets Cyber Punk!" And proceeded to beat down the doors of our nearest games repository with the bloody stumps of trampled employees who couldn't unlock the doors fast enough. So to answer your question, we don't like shit either. Now could you be bothered to get your head out your ass? And shampoo this time.

Making generalized statements is bad. I might assume limeys put psychotropic drugs in their tap water or have the IQ's of toast if I went off of their Children's programming. Fortunately asides from some other speculatory and anecdotal evidence I've known a few English people and I know that isn't the case. And while we're on the subject of box art I'd like to take a moment to compare the American and Japanese releases of another game and you can tell me if compared to Japan the US simply has no sense of taste.

American:

Japanese

I am from America,live in it and simply put,the artistic vision is lost behind all the rap b.s. and media pop culture that Disney,E-News,and the like keep shoving down our throats though lately,it has seemed rather modern British in comedy.Not the Monty Python Witty kind,more the desperate kind.
Really,it just makes sense when you have idiots buying phones more expensive then my computer.

Psycho Cat Industries:
I am from America,live in it and simply put,the artistic vision is lost behind all the rap b.s. and media pop culture that Disney,E-News,and the like keep shoving down our throats though lately,it has seemed rather modern British in comedy.Not the Monty Python Witty kind,more the desperate kind.
Really,it just makes sense when you have idiots buying phones more expensive then my computer.

I have some advice for you. Turn the television off.

Ghengis John:

Psycho Cat Industries:
I am from America,live in it and simply put,the artistic vision is lost behind all the rap b.s. and media pop culture that Disney,E-News,and the like keep shoving down our throats though lately,it has seemed rather modern British in comedy.Not the Monty Python Witty kind,more the desperate kind.
Really,it just makes sense when you have idiots buying phones more expensive then my computer.

I have some advice for you. Turn the television off.

I am just stating.In all honesty,if that thing is on at all then it is Military History channel.You can learn a lot of what is going on just from listening.

Makes an intresting point. I have a feeling that most american cover artists are trying to take after Drew Struzan. He's been doing movie posters and cover art for years. Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Goonies, all his. He's very good at painting a story using a colloage of characters and images...unfortuantly i can't say the same for the artists responsible for American box art.

C2Ultima:
Yahtzee, I don't know why our box art designers are morons. Believe me, I'd love to have the same box art as some other versions of movies and game, but it's not really up to us.

Don't be so hard on them, they did make an awesome box cover for Tales of Vesperia compared to the one we got in Europe. Actually it was great comparted to almost anything.
American.

European:

Heavy Rain was pretty awful though...

The American box-art would actually look good if it werent being Compared to the other countries and continents, or at least thats my own opinion. My guesse is that American's just want things that are/look like comics, so they can relate with the action scenes. Yet half of these games dont have any action scenes (Or at least the games I can remember) So I have to agree with you there.

Yopaz:

C2Ultima:
Yahtzee, I don't know why our box art designers are morons. Believe me, I'd love to have the same box art as some other versions of movies and game, but it's not really up to us.

Don't be so hard on them, they did make an awesome box cover for Tales of Vesperia compared to the one we got in Europe. Actually it was great comparted to almost anything.
American.

European:

Heavy Rain was pretty awful though...

Yeah I agree with you on that one.
The american one looks alot better.
Although American tend to mess around with good artwork every game has a good and bad cover
regardless of the region.

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.

They just put spoilers on the cover so you would buy it..lol

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.

Then why can't they atleat make them look good.? i think its kinda the whole point of what yahtzee was talking about. They might show more of what the game is about, but they look cheap and tacky. like they were put togather by some one that hardly knows how to use photoshop and isnt putting any real attention to it.
They could still find away to make the covers look good and show what its about.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: American Box Art Sucks

Why does America hate French videogame developers?

Read Full Article

Not just the French.

I mean the Japanese Final Fantasy box art is simplistic and awesome:
-Title
-Logo
-White Background.

But the Americans HAD to slap a character on there....

Damn it even made its way to Europe with FFXIII

Amnesia: The Dark Descent


... Heh. I think this is user made though as a parody. But it hits the nail head on.

Good looking boxart is more likely to catch my interest, it's not what makes or breaks the deal. ICO was one of the games that caught my eye for it's mystic cover. If I want to know what the game is about, I look at the description at the back of the case, or go online.

Oh yes. Good topic Yahtzee. I've never thought of it as an American phenomenon, as I've not compared the box arts as you did here. Didn't really know the localization differences were this large.

I think the cause of this is that American art and popular culture is inherently shallow and superficial. Combine that with a Public Relations industry (since 1920s) that has always been focused on personal identification. Based on Edward Bernays' and his uncle Sigmund Freud's work together. Due to social reasons, the women couldn't smoke in public prior to 1928. A woman was even arrested in 1922 for smoking in public. Women were smoking at home in private, but never out. And that irked the tobacco giants. Thus, one of the tobacco giants hired Edward Bernays to open up the "second front" of the potential smoking customer base. He consulted Dr. A.A. Brill, a psychoanalyst, to find the psychological basis for women smoking. Dr. Brill determined that cigarettes which were usually equated with men, represented torches of freedom for women. His uncle Freud made had the idea that the cigarette even represented the "penis." Well, that's Freud for you. Anyways, this was all about making the cigarette a symbol of female empowerment. This was very timely when the sufragette movement was on the rise, and women's voting rights were being passed to law. At the 4th of July in 1928, a group of scantily clad models, wearing sufragette headdresses walked down Broadway. Provided by a major photo op, at a given signal, they would light their "freedom torches" which were hidden in cases strapped to their thighs.

What did this have to do with box covers you ask? Well, a potential female customer at this time wanted to BE that woman who looked so self-confident and empowered. She thought that smoking would give her those same qualities.

In the same way, the American box covers give potential buyers the appearance of powerful, butch and/or attractive characters who they can "role play" in the game. You never see a Carl Pilkington on the cover. It's almost always someone with supermodel looks.

Command & Conquer is perhaps the most consistent in displaying shallow box covers, following this tradition.

Aside from being superficial, this sort of collage and face-based box art is also something that would give you an "F" in Layout if you were attending an art school.

http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/950166468-00.jpg
http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1209846792-00.jpg
http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1209846792-00.jpg
http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1071639147-00.jpg
http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1071627111-00.jpg
http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1200312976-00.jpg

HaraDaya:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent


... Heh. I think this is user made though as a parody. But it hits the nail head on.

Good looking boxart is more likely to catch my interest, it's not what makes or breaks the deal. ICO was one of the games that caught my eye for it's mystic cover. If I want to know what the game is about, I look at the description at the back of the case, or go online.

Wow the American one looks awesome....lol
What a terrible box art. The American one sucks. It looks like a generic horror game cover and story. Guy by himself, monster are always behind you with retarded faces going here i am a boogie boogie bo(lol Yathzee).
The other adds suspense and sucks you in without letting you know whats going on.

America failed with that one.

Why else? It's unamerican to copy another country. Make an inferior product that is solely produced in the states, and everyone yells hurrah!

Nice article and I fully agree with you.

I also think that american box art is the way it is, 'cause it's much easier to draw the main characters in some posse that actually reading/playing/watching the book/game/movie and figuring out the meaning of it.

It's also like that, 'cause America likes to steal stuff and paint it with their colours. And these must be spectacular and beautiful to attract all the sheep. :D

FK THE FRENCH ... wait what else were we talking about?

He does realize that the public doesn't make the box art, right?

zombie711:
Before I forget
image
American which is Awsome

image
Pal version which is boring, bland and lacks any real art

First real exception. The PAL version is so 'wimmenz vilence kewl kewl kewl1!!1!1!!!11one!' it's funny.

It may have to do with the attitude we approach box art with as opposed to the attitude other countries do. American Game companies (or the advertising firms they might hire to design the box art) don't care as much about the box art. So what you end up with is a cookie cutter "by-the-American-advertising-book" art that holds no artistic merit and doesn't give a clear impression of the game. I also don't just believe its just about identifying the main character because some of the American art is pretty bland in contrast to their international counterparts .Its pretty obvious that they're just not putting as much effort into it.

orfidius:
It may have to do with the attitude we approach box art with as opposed to the attitude other countries do. American Game companies (or the advertising firms they might hire to design the box art) don't care as much about the box art. So what you end up with is a cookie cutter "by-the-American-advertising-book" art that holds no artistic merit and doesn't give a clear impression of the game. I also don't just believe its just about identifying the main character because some of the American art is pretty bland in contrast to their international counterparts .Its pretty obvious that they're just not putting as much effort into it.

... That's obvious. The question is, if they don't wanna put in effort, why even bother?

My guess would be fear regarding foreign cultures. They want to be careful when bringing in foreign advertisement because they're not sure if what they bring in is going to attract audiences or alienate them because the art is just too different. So general policy is to 'Americanize' it, then slap it on the shelf.

Yahtzee wrote something about how stupid he thinks America is and can never do anything correctly ever? SAY IT ISN'T SO

For an example of good American box art (not game related) check out The Criterion Collection (www.criterion.com). A distinct lack of floaty facial close-up collages there.

I live in Oklahoma and box art is probably the most disappointing thing to me ever. This in turn makes me want to ignore the rest of the world since they get such better box art. I bet the government really controls the marketing division of America to get us not to pay attention while they blow up the rest of the world because we don't want to be depressed at how shitty our box art is. I mean, its really bad and seeing it better someone else is almost enough to make me buy it digitally. Almost.

I've actually been on this topic for awhile now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHM1nTocNwM

Cover Art Fail! It's good to look back at box art.

image

look how cluttered killzone 3's box art is. Just terrible....

I've been thinking about how bad movie art(and game box art, etc.)is ever since I saw Crank 2 next to The Chase in the Netflix lineup. They're exactly(and I REALLY mean exactly)the same. If you've got Netflix take alook. Look at those and then check out the art for some Akira Kurosawa movies and just see which stands out and which blends in with the background noise.

Why do you assume that all Americans actually like the marketing that we receive? I myself can't even watch American television because it's obnoxious, pretentious, condescending and insults peoples intelligence. It's like watching a strobe light. I watch British television using a proxy.

No, I'm not kidding. I actually use expat shield to watch British television through iplayer. It's bliss. There is nothing quite like watching TV and not getting a seizure. Sure there are British programs that are shite, but at least it's watchable shite. I have a 40inch 1080p LCD HDTV, and I literally don't even have a cable line going into it. I use it as a computer monitor.

Yes, there are stupid fat people in America. We get it. But for the sake of us few who have an I.Q. above 100, try to think about what it's like to live here among the morons. We do exist here, and no, we don't enjoy the marketing we are served. It's revolting.

I guess they probabley hate the Statue of Liberty.

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