American Box Art Sucks

LadyRhian

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May 13, 2010
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Because America is all about identifying with the main character- becoming the main character, so that's what we want to see on our box art. Admittedly, not always, but mostly. And we can't identify with a character (or characters) if we don't know what they look like.
 

C2Ultima

Future sovereign of Oz
Nov 6, 2010
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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.
 

Shoggoth2588

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Aug 31, 2009
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Because I don't make Box Art. Granted, I would likely not even qualify for the job. I would really like to get into it though...
 

Tharticus

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Dec 10, 2008
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Do we even mention why America loves their box art look like toughen moody bad guys?
 

Dublin Solo

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Feb 18, 2010
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LadyRhian said:
Because America is all about identifying with the main character- becoming the main character, so that's what we want to see on our box art. Admittedly, not always, but mostly. And we can't identify with a character (or characters) if we don't know what they look like.
But that doesn't explain why they manage to render the main character in such an ugly and unattractive way.
 

omicron1

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Mar 26, 2008
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As far as I can tell, it's because American game advertising studios want to be advertising Hollywood summer blockbusters. They are of the opinion that games come in three types: Action movie, space opera movie, and match-3... and nobody cares about match-3 games anyway, right?

I think a similar sort of thing happens in movies, if you look into it - although somewhat in reverse. Big action movies get action-focused movie posters and lots of advertising. Slower, cerebral movies - especially those without any gunfights to "justify" the thing - tend to have less advertisement and more esoteric posters - almost as if the director himself decided to have a crack at making the poster.

It's all about appealing to a target audience, and both American videogames and American movies think their target audience is, without fail, the meathead Superbowl-addict chips-and-beer demographic.
 

The Harkinator

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Jun 2, 2010
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The American art looks like it's trying to do too much and rather than focusing on one interesting element just packs in everything they can find. These elements cancel each other out. Sometimes there needs to be an understanding of the concept, Less is more.

And some of them look like awful Hollywood movie posters from several decades back.
 

hawk533

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Dec 17, 2009
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Yahtzee, this just seems kind of irrelevant in this day and age. With online distribution on the rise there's not much of future for box art. It's all screenshots nowadays.

Besides, most of these examples are from the 80's. We Americans prefer not to talk about the art that came out of our country in those days.
 

AnarchistAbe

The Original RageQuit Rebel
Sep 10, 2009
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Agreed! Much preferred foreign Heavy Rain boax art. Also, Mass Effect 2...the standard edition box art was terrible. However, I really liked the collector's edition box art for Mass Effect 2.

I think it all boils down to America's "ADD, kick-ass-and-take-names" attitude. We need explosions and sexy women to intrigue us. The "subtle, artsy" approach isn't "the best" way to go for American audiences. Which is sad, really :'(
 

yourbeliefs

Bored at Work
Jan 30, 2009
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To be fair, (insert generic insult against snooty French people here.)

Seriously, I think game art is really irrelevant at this point. I know back in the day when those without game magazine access had only to go by the cover and back blurbs it was more important, but we can read about games years before they are even released. Many games nowadays seem to assume that you read up on the game beforehand because the box art is hardly a good description of what you do in a particular game.

I like how everyone mentions Mega Man 1 as a horrible cover, but lest us forget that Mega Man 2 was pretty awful as well. Sure it gave a slightly better description of what you were doing, but here Mega Man looks like he's trying to squeeze out a massive fart.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/be/Megaman2_box.jpg
 

SamElliot'sMustache

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Oct 5, 2009
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Do you all just genuinely have the aesthetic sense of a kipper, or is this part of that big "defiance of authority" thing you guys have going that makes you equate "stubborn pig ignorance" with "down homey wisdom"?
The second one. And, as an American, it perplexes me on so many levels.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Well, opinions on things like artwork vary. Yes it is possible to point to some examples like "Megaman" as things that were unconditionally terrible, but if I paid more attention to the box art of releases on a globale scale I doubt it would be difficult to come up with situations where other countries received similarly laughable artwork.

Truthfully I do not think a minimalist design is always better, and the "collage" style exists because for the US audience I think it's important to sell people on the protaganists of the game. Believe it or not you can tell a lot about characters from the way they are drawn when it comes to fiction. As laughable as it is, "why is that girl running around in her underwear on the cover of Heavy Rain" is pretty much truth in advertising going by the game's content and your own review. In cases like "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" this was done because which characters are in the game is very important to American comic fans, and of course putting a character like Spider-Man in the center is largely because he's one of the best known Marvel characters due to his huge fan base (which is why he got the movies, rather than the movies being what sold the character to the US oddly enough) and as such one of the first characters a typical comic geek is going to want to know if the game has.

It's sort of like humor, it's totally subjective. Some people find you funny... others not so much.

As far as the last comment about the French goes, I think you might be losing track of your own British roots. :)
 

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Aug 8, 2007
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So you blame American consumers for art choices made by a few foreign game companies when they import things here? Thats like blaming Australians for "choosing" to have Paul hogan be their national spokesman for 20 years, or the British for "picking" the ugliest royal family in history.
 

CarlsonAndPeeters

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Mar 18, 2009
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It's funny, because as soon as Yahtzee started describing crappy boxart, I thought of Heavy Rain. And then there it was, in the article.
 

Daemascus

WAAAAAAAAAGHHH!!!!
Mar 6, 2010
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Cause thats what the over seas companies think we like. Its not our fault their idea of how to market to americans is wrong. Besides, its the game inside that counts.
 

SilentHunter7

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Nov 21, 2007
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It's a trade off. You Aussies get good box art. We Yankees get games before they become irrelevant.