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Released: Feb. 19 and June 29
We can understand how one game this year could feature a dark, incomprehensible image overpowered by a glowing orange hand, but two? How is that a thing? Who comes up with these designs? Is their dank burrow choked by the smell of rotting flesh, or do they do a good job keeping the place clean so as to better lure in the unsuspecting?
Released: Aug. 16
Over the years, boxes have tried to show us many, many interesting locations, from sloppily drawn sci-fi cityscapes to the insides of warehouses. But this may be the first box to show us where we’ll be playing the game:
Above: Holy shit, a desk!
Nicely done, box. We probably couldn’t have figured that one out on our own.
Released: Jan. 26
All year long, this box has been staring at me from the shelves of every game store I visit. And all year long, I’ve hated it. I’ve hated the gauzy blur filter over everything. I’ve hated the expressionless faces, the unimportant explosion, the lack of action suggested by the poses, and the calculated insertion of the word “Modern” into the title. But mostly I just hate how tiny that guy’s head looks. That’s not a head that should be worn by any self-respecting videogame character.
Above: Now there’s a head you can be proud of!
Released: Sept. 30
While the general concept and design here are interesting – a bunch of world leaders play global politics like a literal board game – the murkiness of the art makes it all look just woeful. The guy up front looks like a weird hybrid of Barack Obama and George W. Bush (which may be intentional, for all we know), and the shadows on Hu Jintao’s face make him look like a clumsy wax dummy. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad in the background there seems to think he’s at a craps table. Combine them with the creepy black-and-white faces in the background, and you’ve got an image that’s probably a hell of a lot more eerie than the game inside.
Released: Nov. 16
See, this is what happens when Garfield goes and becomes his own gaming franchise: someone decides there’s money in slapping the other boring, orange comic-strip cat on a game, and we get atrocities like this. And when you consider that the box is just an assortment of clip art with an extremely sloppy scribble of what we’re going to assume are speeding cars, it’s clear that even less thought went into the packaging than the licensing deal itself.
Released: Sept. 17
Everything on this box is rendered with only the clumsiest hints of action or emotion. The fat sadsack up there maintains the same pleading, midly befuddled expression whether he’s aiming at a clay pigeon or swinging at a golf ball that was right next to his arm for some reason. It takes a second to realize that the girl at the lower right is climbing a rock wall and not doing a little dance with an ocarina in each hand. And the guy who’s actually shooting his clay pigeon, on closer inspection, actually has a photograph of hair instead of a drawn-on coif, which gives the image a slightly disturbing quality that doesn’t mesh well with the idea of a cruise vacation at all. At all.
Released: Oct. 15
What… I just… GOD. There’s lazy, and then there’s whatever the hell this is. Hewing to the old (and mostly true) belief that kids don’t generally care how ugly their entertainment is, the GBM box promises only the stiffest animation and most cutting-edge circa-1992 visuals that the money left over after licensing a candy property can buy. And to top everything off, that bear clearly didn’t warn that frog before attempting to play through. What a sociopathic dick.
Released: Nov. 29
Hey, what the hell is this doing here? Worst box art? More like best box art, if only because it looks like the fisherman’s screaming at the crab to SNAP OUT OF IT AND GET UP ON THAT MACHINEGUN! EVERYONE’S LIVES DEPEND ON YOU NOW, CRAB! GO GO GO!
Alternate caption: “Look what you did to that crane! LOOK WHAT YOU DID! BAD CRAB! BAD! CRAB!”
Released: Nov. 9
Ordinarily, we restrict this feature to box art released in the US and UK. This time, however, we're going to make an exception, because this... this is some terrible box art. Released as a retail product in Russia last month, Braid’s brand-new art is proof that it’s possible to be 100 percent faithful to a game’s content while still completely missing the point.
Above: No, mopier! MOPIER! And with fewer dick-shaped ties!
Dec 15, 2010
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