The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
This'll be an image-heavy blog compared to others. A couple days ago I was perusing the interweb, as I'm want to do in my spare time. During my surfing spree, I happened upon a pretty entertaining website, where all it had were composite images of movie posters which classified movie poster cliches. Lo and behold, I realized that games have some pretty overused box art designs across all of its genres. Just for fun, here are the ones I've noticed, complete with at least five examples of each.
Serious Dude Holding Weapon
This design is by far the king cliche of box art cliches, used to massively popular effect by top names like Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, and Halo. The dude is usually placed in the center vertical axes of the cover, and has been known to be doing tons of neat stuff. In Halo 4's cover, Dude's hitting the ground and looking around for stuff to shoot. In Mass Effect 3's box art, Dude's about to shank a mofo like nobody's bidness. It's even popular enough that Bioshock Infinite is gonna use it (and made head honcho Ken Levine use an odd Salad Dressing analogy to defend its usage).
Even More Serious Face
Sometimes, having a Serious Dude on your box art is just too mainstream. Have no fear, Serious Face is here! This tactic is used on box covers all the time as well, although not to quite the same usage level of Serious Dude Holding a Weapon. This strategy can convey more emotion than other tactics and is favored by games with a darker, grittier mood. Somes the Serious Face is frowning, other times it's obscured by a mask, and sometimes it looks like it just got hit by a semi truck. Serious Face looks the gamer in the eye and says "I'm a Bad Ass."
Serious Series of People
What's better than one? Tons! This type of cover conveys multiple weapons, characters, and even moods. Usually this stratagem works well when working with a coop title or team-based game. If a pair or small group of protagonists are the main characters of a game, you can't do much better than Serious Series of People. In most cases these people are looking off in various directions, and are usually doing a variety of different stuff. But they can't smile. Ever. In fact, if they did anything but look like someone just killed their best friend, they'd probably be kicked off the cover for being a wuss.
Yelling Soccer Dude
I'm not sure what makes soccer/futbol players so angry or elated, but for whatever reason, there's always a player screaming bloody murder on the front of most soccer game box covers. You've got a multi-racial series of yelling dudes across the whole franchise, from early 2000s to the most current edition. I get that athletes tend to get very competitive, and that competitiveness can manifest itself in unrestrained yelling (or headbutting, in Zidain's case). Still, I'm not sure when the makers of FIFA realized that games sell better when you've got an adult man practically distending his jaw from yelling so vehemently. Fifa is a particular abuser of this cliche.
Car About To Run You Over
Given that car games should have cars on their covers, it seems like said cars should always be about to run the viewer over, spraying dirt, entrails, and fear all over the place. I guess the original idea for this strategy was to make the gamer more excited just by simply looking at the cover. Now that every car series ever utilizes cars running into the cover of the game, it's just another cliche.
That about wraps up this simple blog. Hope you enjoyed it.