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Badass game covers(and just...bad ones)

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Box covers. While they don’t actual determine the quality of a game, they are what will catch the appeal of people passing by. They can invoke the tone and feel of a game, and frankly, just look really nice. A good cover art can show ones pride in their work and really invoke a sense of passion put into a game. 

With that little intro, I’d like to know what game covers really stand out to you as some of the best, or the opposite. They don’t have to be new, this is in general. Even old vintage game covers can still invoke the same as new ones. For me personally, and this probably won’t be a unique answer:


I was genuinely amazed at how just the cover alone told me so much about the game. I really got a vibe of “this is something new and fresh.” I didn’t have to turn the box to see what was in store. Link gazing into the horizon over all that land, giving you the sense of scope, the lack of his iconic green tunic and master sword, implying a deference from the typical Zelda style,etc. There was so much from the cover alone that set it apart from the expected, and I love it. And it’s just beautiful to look at; the color choices, the lighting in the distance, the art style, there’s little about this cover I have a problem with.

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I don't really like to compliment this game, but I have to give credit when credit is due from a foreshadowing standpoint.


The Limited Edition Box Art for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is fucking brilliant. Yes, this is the Japanese version but the American version has the same box art for its limited edition. It's just that the JP version is the only high-res pic I can find of the art.

From the context of a person who goes into the game blindly, the cover is cool looking but doesn't provide context on the game and the story as a whole at first glance. However, when you beat the game, the pieces click together in your mind and you're like:

"Holy shit, I get it now!"


For those who play the game, you know that the protagonist is Shuichi Saihara. Thing is, the person on the cover is K1-B0. Now, why is ol' Keebo on the cover front and center despite not being as major as the player character? It's simple.

This whole cover is actually what people in-universe are seeing for V3.

Since Danganronpa V3 is the 53rd season of the Danganronpa reality show based off the original video games, Team Danganronpa, the company in charge of having teens kill each other for people's amusement need a gimmick to entice people after going so long. The gimmick for this season being that of audience participation. That's where K1-B0 comes in. He's a robot that takes orders from the viewers via a poll. (Basically Twitch plays Danganronpa) As such, being the audience surrogate, he's the in-universe protagonist while we controlled a standard participant the whole time.

So, of course the in-universe advertising for this killing game would have K1-B0 on the front being enveloped by Monokuma, he's the symbol of hope we control to battle the despair around him that the audience is accustomed to with Danganronpa. 


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For a thread like this, a special mention needs to be made about Ico.


The cover on the right is the one Japan and Europe got, based explicitely on the art style of famous italian painter Giorgio de Chirico. It's elegant, simple and showcase the scope of what the game tried to accomplish (emphasis on trying, Ueda got better as the years went along).
Compare this to the boxart on the left, wich is the one America got: it's not completely ugly but it doesn't give the game any justice at all: neither Ico nor Yorda look like that in the game, Ico is shown in a very awkward facial pose (i guess it ties to the American Kirby is Hardcore trope) and seems to promote more the violent aspect of the game rather than the exploration.
Now, the reason 'muricans got that cover was because Ico was among the first batch of major titles for the PS2 and America got it first before everyone else, but by the time of release the cover on the right was not ready yet, so Sony had to come up with something quickly. This gets explained better in the commentaries included in the HD re-release of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus for PS3.
In a way, it's a throwback to horrible misleading covers of the NES/Genesis-Mega Drive/SNES era, like the overly popular Bad Box Art Mega Man, but also stuff like the first two Breath of Fire games for the SNES:


Yeah, someone at Capcom forgot that Ryu starts as a kid and becomes a teenager in all games, not a Conan the Barbarian ripoff.
-and yes, Squaresoft distributed the first game in America, don't mind that-

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Some of the best I can think of:


Steel Empire for Genesis' Japanese Cover art




Thief: the Dark Project


Resident Evil 4's European Cover


Symphony of the NIght Japanese Playstation Cover


Chrono Trigger


Sonic Jam Japanese Cover (I still think there should have been official art for Mania styled like this)


Sonic Spinball Japanese


Final Fantasy 6 Japanese








The Secret of Monkey Island


Panzer Dragoon Japanese Cover


Hotline Miami




The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall


Super Metroid


Dark Souls Japanese Cover




Earthworm Jim


Some of the worst:


Pretty much every Classic Mega Man Box art




Although I do kind of like a few of them like Mega Man 7's American cover art. It looks kinda cool.

Pro Wrestling on Sega Master System


All Master System cover art tended to look like this, in the States at least. No wonder it didn't do well here.

Resident Evil



You could probably fill this entire list with Capcom covers really.

Night Trap


The Mystery of the Druids


Early NES covers


It may not be awful but I think its woefully generic.

The forever legendary Phalanx


Never forget.

Ico American cover art


A lot of American box art from the mid-90s through the early 2000s tended to look bad due to the CG renders they'd lazily slap on the cover of most games. Of course this just makes the games look awfully dated even outside of the games. For instance...

Tomb Raider





I'm a big fan of the old Tomb Raider games but their box art and some aspects of the games themselves are just horribly dated, though I still wish the newer games would try to follow their design philosophy instead of just turning Tomb Raider into an Uncharted clone. Speaking of which...

Basically every modern game's definition of box "art" A.K.A Generic man or woman posing with weapon





There's so much of it.


Personally this gets my vote for worst kind of box art you can do. At least stuff like Phalanx and Mega Man 1 is so bad its interesting to look, laugh, and talk about. This is virtually nothing. Its just cheap schlock. I'd recommend watching this to get an better idea of what I mean:


I could do more but there's just so much. Maybe I'll edit this if I think of more.

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Can't have a topic about best and worst box art covers without the legend that is Karnaaj's weird blue haired man, presumably auditioning for a cheap anime by showing off his method acting skills to a purple car.


As for the best, I love a lot of the Kirby ones.


This one prepares you for cute and, perhaps more importantly, accurately reflects and advertises the new features added into the game in an appealing way. Also awwwww...


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All these bad covers and folks forgot one of the most oddest bad covers around.


"Oooo another bust a move game that hasn't really changed much... how on earth are we gonna get kids to buy it?" Said the Acclaim Marketing director.

"Put a baby on the cover blowing a spit bubble?" Said some bored intern.

"Neat! Let's give the baby sunglasses to make them look cool then we can show off the game in the refection!" Another more enthusiastic intern added. 

"But where are we going to put the title of the game?" The director then asked.

"On the baby's forehead, I dunno." The Bored intern answered, fiddling with a pencil.

"And we'll make the font look like a wacky tattoo so we can be hip with the crowd!" The enthusiastic intern leaped up, eager to get started.

And thus western fans of Puzzle Bobble were greeted to one of the weirdest PS2 covers ever conceived by human kind.

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18 hours ago, KHCast said:

. I really got a vibe of “this is something new and fresh.”

See weirdly enough I got the opposite vibe, since "hero overlooking a beautiful vista, destruction, or other awe inspiring scene with their back turned to the viewer" is so overdone that the BoW cover just came off as derivative.

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10 minutes ago, CleverSonicUsername said:

See weirdly enough I got the opposite vibe, since "hero overlooking a beautiful vista, destruction, or other awe inspiring scene with their back turned to the viewer" is so overdone that the BoW cover just came off as derivative.

Nintendo/Zelda usually finds ways to freshen up things. Much like how the game doesn’t exactly do anything new regarding the whole open world thing, it still Re-imagines it in its own creative way. Regarding the cover, the art style, and message it sends for me counter it’s still familiar trope. Though there’s also the EU cover art which still manages to similarly capture the themes I was referring to while being a bit more different.


am I the only one that found weirdly Smash Bros Brawls cover art to be the best one? Idk maybe it’s just nostalgia or something, but I look at this 


and just think “epic”

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The japanese Mega Drive has my favorite covers. They are simply amazing and full of details:

Altered Beast:



Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi and Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master/The Super Shinobi:







Alisia Dragoon:



G-LOC Air Battle:




Its Nintendo rival has many cool boxes too, though:

Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis:






Assault Suits Valken/Cybernator:



Super Aleste/Space Megaforce:



Clock Tower:



Secret of Mana:




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Personal favourites:


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (European Cover)


Resident Evil 4 (European Wii Cover Art)


Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed


Probably the worst (in my opinion)


Resident Evil 6


Spyro The Dragon (Japan Cover)


Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City


I don't really think much about cover art, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's European Cover Art is my favourite.

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This has always been one of my personal favorite game covers ever.



I know the early '90s Western Sonic art gets a lot of hate with "ass-face Sonic" and "black-eyes Robotnik" and everything, but seeing Sonic blaze past a pit of lava through a mountain with a cocky grin and an extremely pissed-off Robotnik in the background just looks so cool to me. I was completely enthralled by this cover as a little kid. In fact, it was the box art of this game alone that made it my first Genesis game purchase after getting my system (which had already come with Sonic 2).

As far as bad covers, there are so many I wouldn't even know where to begin. It looks like a lot of them have been covered already though, so I'll just put this out there.



What is it with Bust-A-Move and horrible covers?

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The original EU Boxart for Broken Sword looks like this:



It conveys mystery and intrigue.

The original US Boxart for the same game (with a worse name) looks like this:



It conveys a goofy face.


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Look at this travesty:



Look at that fuck awful color composition.  Look at that terrible boring placement of the main character standing smack dab in the middle taking up the entire picture like a complete buffoon.  Look at how they placed the logo over almost the entirety of the main character's body.  Look at how this picture tells you literally nothing about the game you're going to buy.  This is fucking DOOM, where are the intense reds?  The demons?  The action?



The reversible cover that no one is going to see in a store got you fam'.  Look at how Doomguy actually looks like fucking Doomguy when he's fighting off hordes of demons.  Look at how Doomguy's green stands out amongst the intense reds, yellows, and oranges.  Look at how Doomguy is grabbing that fucking demon by the goddamn throat and is getting ready to rip and tear it a new one.  Look at how the logo isn't covering up the characters.  The action, the adrenaline, the intensity... it's all here.  It's fucking DOOM.

Luckily, with the Switch version, they made the correct decision and made this reversible cover the actual cover for the re-release.



Much better.

But one final visual comparison in case you don't understand how I feel:




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I love all of the Japanese Classic Sonic art. It all just looks so cool. I also like Sonic Jam's cover art, as well as Adventure 1 and 2's art. I hate the American Sonic 3 art, though... American Sonic looks even more like roadkill than usual... It all just looks so off...

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