The Worst Box Art of 2008

Cringe at 20 of the year's best examples of awful packaging

5. Pet Pals: Animal Doctor (DS, released Feb. 5)

Before we show you this one, take a look at the box for the same title on the Wii:

It’s not exactly pretty, but there’s nothing really wrong with it. It looks like a kiddie game about helping animals should.

This, though…

This looks like the waiting room of Hell’s cruelest veterinarian. Waxy faces with shadowy complexions, looming angles and a grim color palette give the viewer an oppressive sense of claustrophobia. The stethoscope is easily mistaken for veins at first glance, giving that heart an uncomfortably realistic look.

On top of that, there’s no way that particular combination of animals could be unrestrained, in an enclosed space, without a bloody mess ensuing in short order. And that trucker in the foreground is totally about to feed his rabbit to that dog.

Bonus alternate caption! “OH GOD WHAT ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE DOING IN MY APARTMENT!?”

4. Backyard Baseball ’09 (DS, released March 25)

No amount of grinning can convince us that the monstrous head of David “Big Papi” Ortiz and its floating cartoon sidekick aren’t about to bite our faces off and swallow them without chewing.

3. Kitty Luv (Wii, released Nov. 6)

Congratulations, Activision: you’ve managed to tap into the collective psyche of every lonely little girl and sexually repressed office lady on the planet. Package it with a calendar, and the world is yours.

2. Air Traffic Chaos (DS, released Sept. 11)

This box practically trips over itself in a mad rush to look ridiculous, but it’s worth taking a look at the multitude of exact points at which this airline disaster-themed puzzle game, released on Sept. 11, 2008, goes horribly wrong. We surrender the floor at this point to Nintendo Editor Brett Elston, who’s already done a bang-up job making fun of it:

1 – Chaos is the largest, most visible thing on the package. Again, airport chaos on or around 9/11 probably isn’t the smartest choice

2 – That airliner is doing a loop. Assume those people are dead

3 – The controller is announcing what he is, on the box, in case the huge title and plain image of an airport wasn’t enough

4 – Despite saying he’s an air traffic controller, his facial expression and nervous sweat drops indicate he’s faking it, which explains problem number 2 AND...

5 - ...the fact that this plane is SIDEWAYS

6 – And he has three fingers on each hand!

1. Imagine: Party Babyz (Wii, released Nov. 11)

No. No! NO! NO! NOOOO!!!

If you could somehow draw a picture of the sound made when a game journalist’s mind rips in half, it would look like this. If you could distill everything wrong with the casual-gaming movement into a single image – every horrible minigame, every half-assed “girl” game, every misguided purchase by a well-intentioned grandmother, every cynical piece of shovelware ever shat onto a store shelf by some fly-by-night cabal of predatory monsters - this would be that image.

Also? “Babies” is misspelled.

Dec 11, 2008


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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