Horrible Box Art: Glad it isn’t Just Us

by Steve Bowler on August 23, 2008 · 3 comments

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Eventually every game team arrives at the day when it’s time to put your baby in a box.  Give that game a face and release it into the wild for the world to put their eyes on.  I’ve never been a fan of the term phrase “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  I mean, if that were true, then why do books have such beautiful dust jackets?  If we weren’t supposed to judge books by their cover, then the phrase “First impressions are everything” would be false by default.  We obviously do judge everything by its cover, and marketers know this, so when your game gets a hideous one, well, the results can be heartbreaking.

I’ve been on some games that got some pretty awful covers that had almost nothing to do with the game that was inside.  While I can’t go into which ones they were and still maintain my anonymity, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I felt I could have done a better job.  I have no doubt that a lot of game teams would rather have the chance to design the box art and make a better reflection of what’s inside for the consumer at large.

So it should come as no surprise that it happens in the film industry, too.  It turns out that Dane Cook isn’t too pleased with the movie poster for his new film, my best friend’s girl.  Besides the hilarious ranting (seriously, it helps that Dane’s a funny guy), he makes a really good point as to why it’s so bad:

Granted, one poster stinking up the joint isn’t the end of the world. Yet it sends the wrong message about our movie and I just wanted you to know, that I feel the pain. I really love the film and I know from past missteps marketing wise that the wrong poster sends the wrong audience into the theater.

I love that he gets what’s so important about the box art (or in his case movie poster):  it’s your first point of contact for your audience, and if it’s done wrong, you wind up with the wrong audience for that piece of media.  Granted, most games get it at least acceptably right, but it can feel tragic when it’s your game that got it wrong.

Anyone have any favorites that they can think of they want to share?  I, for one, think the US MegaMan was the worst offender, but anything recent come to mind?


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