Browsing the Aisles

This month’s Gamer Banter: “How important is cover art to you?”

Back in the day, we’d go to the store as a family, and in the electronics section there would be the wall of Atari games.  The cover art was pretty much always like a million times better than the actual game graphics.  The art mattered, because that’s what got you to pick up the box and flip it over to see a couple of game shots.  Even into the Nintendo and early PC eras this continued.  The art of a King’s Quest box didn’t match the game, but it drew you in.

These days, I almost never go to the store to browse games.  I check websites, I browse Amazon.  I buy games there too, and the only time I ever see the game box is when I’m getting the disc out to put it in the 360 or installing the game on my hard drive… though Steam has pretty much ended the latter.

If I did, though, game box covers are like a movie poster.  It’s art, meant to catch your eye.  And much like movie posters the same layouts get used so often that I have become almost immune to them.  They fail to catch my eye.  And yet, now and then a movie poster comes along that I have to find and buy and I have to put on my wall.  But game boxes are so small.  Perhaps I might display a particularly good one if it was sold in a poster size, but so few are.

So to answer the question, the cover art is unimportant to me.  I barely even notice it.

This post was part of Gamer Banter, a monthly video game discussion coordinated by Terry at Game Couch. If you’re interested in being part of this, please email him for details.

Other takes:
Silvercublogger: Don’t Cover The Art, Unless…
The Average Gamer: Cover Art
SnipingMizzy: In the eye of the beholder
Extra Guy: On Books and Covers
Zath: How Important Is A Game’s Cover Art? Cover art? No, thanks!
Pioneer Project: The game box’s big moment
Man Fat: How Important Is A Game’s Cover Art?


  1. You could always cheat with a big industrial printer and make your own box art poster!
    But you’re right; even the Atari covers were appealing despite what was inside. Nowadays, it seems like the exact opposite: awesome covers with the same generic blech on the inside.

  2. Yeah, my friends and I used to joke about the awesomeness of the cover vs the actual game graphics. I’ll be taking a somewhat similar take later.

  3. I kinda miss those first few years of gaming in an oddly nostalgic way. You knew there was no way the cover of the game was going to look like what you were going to play, but those basic charming little games needed so much more imagination to go along on the journey.

    A giggle when I look back and remember how many times I thought “there’s no way games can get any better looking than this.” Look how far we’ve come huh?

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