Let’s Be Nice About 60 Pieces Of ‘Bad’ Box Art

Since about four minutes after anyone can remember first hearing the word “website”, there have been “Top 100 Worst Video Game Box Art” listicles on the internet. It is now 2018 and many of the boxes writers had beef against in 1998 still top today’s iterations of those lists. In this special 30-minute video, Gita Jackson and I (Tim Rogers) discuss 60 textbook examples of “bad” video game box art for exactly 30 seconds each. What a fancy concept!

Our mission is simple: To be nice. This mission was not difficult: Many of these boxes aren’t just good – they’re amazing.

For example, the much-ballyhooed art for Kemco’s space shooter Phalanx features an excellent photograph of a bearded old man playing a banjo. I feel as though this was easy to make fun of for websites in the 1990s because it was totally different from anything else. Phalanx came out in 1992, and it tops lists as recently as 2017. This is one way of saying people are still talking about it. If you ask me, that level of uniqueness in one’s field is tantamount to greatness. Watch our video to see how emphatically Gita Jackson agrees with me.

I asked my good friend Alex Jaffe to come up with this list. He’s a list-making expert, you see. Jaffe scoured dozens of “Worst Box Art” lists from throughout video game journalism history. He sent me a big folder full of 60 JPGs, which I gamified into a 30-minute slideshow that Gita and I watched and commented on in real time.

Jaffe had this to say about analysis process he applied to arrive at his list: “My findings were that after the first couple results, you find most other sites parroting the same stuff, with a couple new ones thrown in. It’s interesting how it snowballs: If a prominent site features an obscure game, then that obscure game will show up on just as many lists as the more obvious ones.”

This was always my suspicion as to how these sorts of opinions form, so it’s neat to have some mathematical analysis done on the subject.

Don’t worry, though: We don’t discuss maths in this video. It’s all quick quips. And if the promise of quick quips isn’t tantalising enough for you, I can also guarantee you a beautiful animated pixel art megalopolis in the background. That’s “Kotaku City”, drawn and animated by my good friend Brent Porter.

Tell us about your favourite “bad” box arts in the comments! Also, tell us what your favourite box art is.


          • My dude; I get hating on social justice/pc police articles, but it is not particularly nice to go after people for how they look.

          • Your right. Going after someone for how they look is wrong but its totally cool to do so for their social or political views. Wait……

            Maybe people need to just take a step back and not take everything so fucking seriously.

          • Sorry mate, I’m far from PC and I find the infantile and artificial political rivalry to be a shit stain on history and I’m equally annoyed at seeing it permeate nearly every aspect of our bloody lives.
            But If calling somebody ugly is protected as some kind of immutable truth, being called out as an arse is right up there with it no?

            Also can’t stand when people start acting like their shit is a joke either, they know what they are doing and pulling a Logan Paul when it doesn’t gel is just social sniping at its most obvious.
            If you can’t stand by your own words, it ain’t somebody else’s problem and I’ve noticed those folks tend to call bloody murder the loudest when they themselves feel wronged.
            Shit, I was razzing on Tim for his insane bed hair and wouldn’t feel the least bit ashamed or feel I need to defend myself for any reason (unless it turned out to be a wig in which case I would prob feel like a bit of a shit, because you know, empathy)
            If Tim decided to call me a homeless Maori Jesus because of my hair I would certainly deserve it and would laugh accordingly.

          • The year when hateful jerks feel like they can freely speak their minds because they can shield themselves with the increasingly popular “SJW” comeback remark, which somehow appears to divert any blame from the offender to the “humourless” sap who believes that people’s feelings are more important than their “right” to amuse themselves.

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