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To those of you who have already experienced the first round of Behold the Beauty and lived to tell about it, I commend you. But seriously, you're back for more? And to those that have yet to witness the sheer brilliance of what is to follow, prepare yourselves. It ain't pretty.
But to the designers that whipped up these "creations" it was precisely just that – pretty. And that, my friend, is pretty amazing in and of itself.
So here we go again. Another batch of covers that, in one way or another or another or another, defy all that is golden when it comes to sound design. They also defy simple logic as well.
Now on with the show:
I figured we'd start off with a bang. Ha! Yeah right...
First take note of the subtle treatment given to the "M" in the title "X-MAN". Clever. Gotta sexy-up that M for good measure just in case people don't notice the half naked woman dominating the cover. Guys must be morons. Wait a minute... ?
Check out the idiot chasing after said half naked woman. Are you kidding me? Look at the stupid look he's got on his face. Not to mention that outfit he's wearing. Play softball much? Where are his shoes? Good thing he's wearing that shirt, otherwise I'd have no idea who X-MAN actually was. I mean, it could be those scissors with legs, that crab, or even the teeth (also with legs). And this is who you assume the role of? How insulting – to both sexes. But what about the scissors, crab, and teeth? How did they get in the game and why? I think it went a little like this:
Tony, lead programmer: "Hey Don?"
Don, lead designer: "Yeah Tony?"
Tony: "We've got X-MAN cruising through these mazes in his quest for, uh, 'treasure', but it's not really all that challenging. Any thoughts on how we can beef up the difficulty?"
Don: "Hmm. How about we throw in some adversaries intent on hunting down X-MAN in his quest for, heh heh, booty?"
Tony: "Like what kind of adversaries? Other like-minded, horny gentlemen? The police? His parents? Rabid guard dogs?"
Don: "Oh no, think much more diabolical. More terrifying!"
Tony: "More diabolical?"
Tony: "More terrifying?"
Tony: "The police?"
Don: "You already said that."
Tony: "I did?"
Don: "Ugh, yes. Never mind. You ready for your mind to be blown?"
Don: "Let this sink in: A pair of scissors, a crab, and some teeth."
Don: "Brilliant, isn't it?"
Tony: "How is that even remotely terrifying or diabolical? I mean, how can scissors or teeth even chase you?"
Don: "They have legs."
Tony: "Crabs are pretty slow..."
Don: "This is a fast-moving crab."
Tony: "What's the point? I mean, those three things aren't really that dangerous unless they were to somehow get at your... oh."
Don: "Oh indeed!"
And it was then that X-MAN was born. Thankfully for us there was never a sequel. How could there be? That combo of the scissors, crab, and teeth was lightning in a bottle. Most game developers should be so lucky.
Jaleco has had some bad covers over the years and the one for Rival Turf! is no exception. What, are those kids like 15? What kind of a gang is this? And what's the deal with the neon blue facade of that building in the background juxtaposed with the nuclear fallout-infused sky? Where is this place? At least they understand contrast to some degree. Is this place supposed to represent their "turf"? How do these kids maintain control of their turf seeing that they're not even out of high school yet? That's a pretty big building. Must be Detroit... or Sesame Street. Where else can can a group of kids wield such power? I like the tough guy on the left giving the fist pump. Wasn't he in West Side Story? And of course, we have exclamation point in Rival Turf!. Because, you know, the game wouldn't exude the same type of coolness and urgency without it. Hello!? Blue building! Enough said.
A well-designed cover is supposed to do a multitude of things: Convey the overall tone and subject matter of the game it's adorning, provide a visually attractive focal point by which to catch the consumer's eye, and, above all else, depict just how fun and worthy of your hard-earned cash the game really is. The cover for the unfortunately-titled Steam Express does none of these things.
Let's start with that title shall we? Steam Express? If I had no visual to go by and just heard the name I'd swear it was either a line of microwaveable meals or a carpet cleaning company. And yet it's neither of those two things. And upon gazing at the wonderful art they came up with, I still can't decipher what the actual "game" is. I see a good amount of steam, an even greater amount of rust (always a key selling point), and a can on the side of the tracks. They're obviously in love with earth-tone colors – namely brown. Way to make it pop. Where do I sign up?
Is that a semi-truck that's been retrofitted to run and act like a train? And if so, why? Are we going to be hauling cargo? Don't trains already do that? What is the point of the game? Perhaps to pick up garbage littered throughout the countryside? Watch out truck/train, you almost missed that can.
This one has best-seller written all over it. Just make sure you're at least three years old. Any younger and you might not get it...whatever "it" is.
How do games like this ever see the light of day? At least the cover aptly depicts what the game is supposedly about. Bonus points right there.
You gotta love the fun the art director had with this particular photo shoot. Check out the golf balls and tees on the ninja's outfit. Now we're talking! But I don't quite understand the whole sword and nunchuck angle. I get that those are typical weapons for a tried-and-true ninja, but on a golf course? What purpose do they serve? What kind of a golf course is this? Is it even really golf for that matter? And what is that mysterious object in his golf bag among his, uh, two woods, two irons, and putter? That's not even close to a full set of clubs. This can't be good.
And look at that sky. Creepy. Is that the moon or a solar eclipse? That sky looks highly polluted. Must be Los Angeles. Not the most ideal conditions for hitting the links. And that's one hell of a slope to that green. Good luck putting on that. You can kiss your chances at a birdie bye bye. Augusta National has nothing on this place.
It doesn't get any lazier than this. A cover consisting of a picture of an already-created cover. This one must have been incredibly difficult for the art department to come up with. I especially love the repetition of the Nintendo DS logo, the Teen ESRB rating, and the KONAMI wordmark. Do we really need to see the spine of the original box? We get it, it's a three-dimensional object, but so is the *** box in which this lame cover is a part of! Wait, who makes this game? Oh yeah, it's KONAMI. I missed it the first two times.
Here's a thought: How about just reusing the already fine original cover design and just slapping a "KONAMI'S BEST" sticker on it?
Email the author Jeff Akervik, or follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Game Informer.
This is too much haha! Absolutely hilarious!