The deviants over at the Something Awful forums are showing that with a little dash of retro graphic design and some clever visual puns, game covers can be downright classy.
Taking their inspiration from artist Olly Moss' re-imaginings of game covers in the mold of 1960s Penguin Classics book designs, the goons over in the internet cesspool that is the GBS forum of Something Awful have Photoshopped up dozens of stylish game covers, for every game from Mirror's Edge to Deus Ex. "Video game box art sucks," user Wonderpants writes in the original post. "The images on the covers aren't chosen for aesthetics; they're there to make the game look badass (or, for Barbie Horse Adventures, uh... cuteass.) So let's make some video game covers that actually look good!"
Some of them look good. A lot of them look fantastic. Though Moss' work sticks strictly to the model of the old Penguin designs, the Something Awful designs seem to draw on everything from classic movie posters and Criterion Collection DVD box arts.
Just a few highlights: MS Pain's minimalistic Doom cover, Cmd Will Riker's stylish Earthbound art, One Year Later's simple but bold GTA4 design, and Pipes! take on Superman 64, which distills everything horrible about that game into a single evocative image. My personal favorite, though, has to be Sub-Actuality's Dwarf Fortress cover, with its rampaging bloodthirsty elephant ready to chomp down on some unsuspecting dwarf miners.
You can look through all of them here. Of course if you're not a SA member, you're also going to have to browse through a ton of ads and pictures of people's grandmas. But it's worth it.