Cover Art

I just read this:

Ken Levine talking about the box-art for Bioshock Infinite


I suppose he makes a sensible point from a marketing perspective, but isn’t there something rather ugly in the fact that the only way he sees to market a game which promises to be thoughtful and unique is to completely misrepresent it? Isn’t that rather sad? I could launch into an impotent tirade about the fundamentally unsustainable AAA games industry model, which relies on pumping so much money into each game that they’re deemed a failure unless they sell three copies to every human who’s ever lived, but it wouldn’t do any good. Instead, I’m just going to point to an infamous previous attempt to trick the hypothetical American fratboy market into buying a game that they might not like. Because that’s much more fun.

One of the best videogame box-arts ever:



















And one of the very worst:



















Ico didn’t sell very well in the US. I guess gamers weren’t ready for “Petulant Viking Dennis The Menace: The Videogame.”

Sadly, compared to this,  “Angry dude with a shotgun” is a pretty safe sell.

15 Responses to “Cover Art”

  1. 1 Wisnoskij December 10, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Or perhaps the even more unsustainable practice of misrepresenting games to sell them to people who are far more likely to be disappointed with their purchase because of this misrepresentation.

    I do not know why publishers even put their label on and in games if they do not care if the user likes the game at all.

    • 2 David Shute December 10, 2012 at 3:27 am

      Well, sadly, from a publisher point of view it doesn’t matter if the customer likes the game they’ve bought, it’s only important that they’ve bought it. This short-term “we are selling a product” attitude is exactly what’s made the videogame industry so fragile, and why genuinely talented, respected people like Ken Levine have to court the lowest common denominator in their marketing.

  2. 3 Jay February 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Glad to see the Ico box art bought up in relation to that. Succinct as hell.

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