Retro Video Game Box Art Covers Appreciation Thread |OT| - More Than Just Promo Fodder

Box art game covers, no matter the game we all remember them. You can just picture it now. Drive to your local game store. You open the store’s door and your’e suddenly stunned with the sight of beautiful colours and patterns on cardboard and plastic boxes. Video game box art was the deciding factor of many of the retro games that we cherished today. Without the conveniences of checking metacritic or reading up a quick review, it was up to the box art to tell us “You want to play this buddy. Trust me…Look at how cool I am!” In essence, the box art defined a video game. The simplistic element of the system banner/logo, the striking hand-drawn or computer generated poster on the front that catches your eye, the gameplay screenshots on the back and - of course - the copywritten blurb that effortlessly tries to describe and highlight the game’s features all within a small word count. Perhaps some saw the box art covers as merely a marketing tool but to others it enhanced the gaming experience in such a subtle yet effective way. How else could we have taken the time to appreciate the elegance of the art behind games like the Final Fantasy series, the Metal Gear Solid series, Chrono Trigger and even the iconic Sonic and Mario games?

The topic sadly isn’t all puppies rainbows as not only did certain regions suffer from terrible box art while others got great ones (Resident Evil 4, Metal Gear Solid 4, Ico) but it has somewhat become prevalent that today’s video games either do not take the time and effort to create eye-candy boxart covers or they simply do not care. Whether its hand-drawn or even good computer-generated box art covers, part of me feels like this is now a lost art. Artist’s and designer’s works are left for the collector’s edition artbooks and maybe an obscure promo poster…maybe. But you know, so is life and all that. Let’s celebrate all the hand-drawn and pretty box arts in this thread! Post alternate versions, (tasteful) fan versions, your favourite ones, your least favourites ones. Post cool concept art. Whatever you feel deserves praise and critique.

To kick off this thread, I will be presenting my limited selection of “Good, Bad and Ugly” box art covers. Of course, these are simply opinion based and it is recommended for you to share your own cherished and loathed box art covers. Trust me, I’ll probably be forgetting a lot of gems so its up to you to share them :wink:

The Good


The Bad


The Ugly



Shoutout to NakeyJakey on youtube for motivating me to start this thread.


Always loved this one… in case you couldn’t tell :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


One of my favourites:


Some cool ones:











Awesome thread. @SupaNintendoChalmers, I have to disagree with you lumping Contra in the “Bad” category. I absolutely love it, with the traced Arnies and the Alien Giger ripoff. It pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the game!

Here’s a few of my favourites:

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The traced Arnies/Stallone was the reason I put it in the bad pile hahaha. They are definitely stand out covers but when you discover the blatant plagiarism (Metal Gear cover too) then it kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Damn you Konamiiii! Who thought that was a good idea?

They’re actually both Arnie, :wink: It’s a common misconception, stupid internet disseminating the wrong info!


My world is crumbling before me. Ive been living a lie :sob: :smile:

The cover for Another World is so damn good.

I love the box art for the Ishar Trilogy.


Great boxart of Chase HQ in Japan (just picked this one up earlier todY), and with the help of @New002 we discovered the inspiration:


Taito! Not you too :frowning: wtf!? Surprised they haven’t used a Lethal Weapon cover to be honest.

I feel like this one is different enough to be an independent conception.

Edit: actually, that really does look like Harrison Ford:thinking:

I’ve always loved this box art

It’s so iconic they even put an updated version of it on a stick!

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obscure mech special

(iron soldier)

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It’s Han Solo and Lando Calrissian with wrists bigger than his neck. :laughing:

Aside from the atmosphere, what I like about these Greg Martin covers are those mysterious figures in the background. Only being able to see the beak of that duck in Taz’s and the eyes of the creature hidden in the bushes in Sonic’s makes me want to know more about these games.

They are fantastic drawings. I remember renting Taz just because of how good the cover looked.

I much prefer the North American box art of Sonic 3 to the Japanese box art too:

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Yeah, I think this box art would feel more immersive if both were in a level background. Plus those memphis art elements were used excessively with randomly colored shadows to make things worse.

nothing better than old psygnosis cover art.