The worst box art of 2009

25 of the year's ugliest attempts at game packaging

Sooo… Dr. Fizzwizzle rescues animals from… wandering around in a barnyard? With bubbles? From railroad tracks? There’s so much going on here, and most of it is completely incoherent. Why is the cow almost the same size as the chicken? Why is the pig made of ice cream? And what role do those neatly arranged barrels play in all of this?

That sheep knows, but he’s not telling. Look at that sly bastard. He knows you’ll buy this just to find out what he’s keeping from you.

12. Russell Grant%26rsquo;s Astrology


Released: May 1

ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO GET YOUR HOROSCOPE FROM JOHN GOODMAN’S FATTER BROTHER?

11. MLB 2K9 Fantasy All-Stars


Released: March 3

While it’s ugly and a little jarring, it’s hard to understand the true depths of this box’s awfulness without comparing it to the cover for the “real” MLB 2K9:

That’s right: employing what appears to be a boardwalk caricaturist, Fantasy All-Stars has turned SF Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum into a horselike goober who not only bears little resemblance to the actual man, but whose back will forever draw extra attention to the fact that his name ends with “cum.”

10. Space Camp


Released: May 26

So many questions raised by this box. Are the kids in space, or just at Space Camp? If it’s Space Camp, then why does the surface of Alabama look like Mars? And if it’s actually Mars, then why are those two idiots walking around with their helmets off?

Really, though, we’re just mocking this so we can point out one key bit of laziness: the Wii remote in the astronaut’s hand. On the DS version of the game. Apparently they’ll make a whole new game to accommodate the handheld, but they draw the line at changing one detail on the packaging.

9. Rollin%26rsquo; Rascals


Released: May 12

Apart from the fact that they’re kind of roughly drawn, the key thing to notice about this box is that it prominently features a bunch of severed animal heads rolling around on a kitchen floor. That they seem to be content, if not outright delighted, with their predicament should only further your sense of unease.


8. My Ballet Studio


Released: Nov 17

Hey, if you can think of a way to sell ballet games that doesn’t involve creepy little girls and badly Photoshopped heads, you’re… well, you’re probably anyone else besides the people at 505 Games.


Alien Monster Bowling League


For every hundred or so awful pieces of box art, there’s a diamond in the rough – that is, an incredible image used to illustrate what is probably an unbearable game. This is that image:

We have to hand it to AMBL here; it’s a game that probably didn’t demand a whole lot of thought or commitment from its artist, but that artist took it seriously and gave the world this super-intense Yeti showing off his sweet-ass Nelson hairdo at what we can only assume is some kind of intergalactic bowling alley. Congratulations, whoever you are: you took a stupid concept and polished that turd to a mirror sheen.

Still, we’re kind of obligated to find a way to make fun of it, so…


Just Dance


What is Just Dance, exactly? It’s hard to tell just from the box, which advertises its track listing almost as prominently as the title, and as a result ends up looking like the kinds of pop compilations that record labels shit out every summer. Obviously it’s a game – the people pictured are holding Wii remotes - but it’s not making it clear why you’d even need a game for the experience it’s offering. At the risk of seeming preachy, wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy the CD it seems to be cross-promoting and, you know… just dance?

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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