What are the favourite 'types' of people used on video game box-art?

How this works: We randomly collected together 100 recent examples of video game box-art all completely unrelated with the exception of one common factor: they all featured a person or people as part of the design. We then looked long and hard at all the examples to find out what types of people are most commonly used on video game box-art. And, by extension, in video games. This is what we discovered. Prepare to be partially amazed by our findings.

First up, we divided our 100 pieces of box-art into three groups: Male, Female and Mixed. The latter being box-art that features both male and female types of people. We were entirely not surprised to discover that the majority of box-art exclusively features men/boys.

Conclusion: Gamers are mostly men and men like games with men in them.

Sitting politely with legs-crossed at the other end of the gender spectrum are females. Compared to men/boys, women/girls barely get a sniff when it comes to occupying a cover image all to themselves. Only 10 of our 100 bits of box-art exclusively starred a female. That's 10%, which isn't a lot.

Conclusion: Most women are probably too busy buying shoes to care whether they're being represented equally in the world of games.

There was a strong showing in our 'mixed' category, that is box-art that used both male and female types of people.

Conclusion: The vulnerable femininity of a woman is more acceptable on box-art when it is offset by the dangerous masculinity of a man.

Having divided our original 100 box-arts into three groups we noticed other trends. In particular, if there's a man on the box, chances are he's holding a gun or some other weapon. Out of the 54 all-male box-arts, 27 of those men (that's 50%) were portrayed as being tooled up. The other half were predominately doing sporty things.

Conclusion: There are lots of games with men killing things.

The box-art ladies also had a preference for weapons. Out of the 10 all-female box-arts, 6 of those women (that's 60%) were shown holding a killing device. They just look a lot sexier doing it.

Conclusion: There are games with women killing things. But not as many as men killing things.

Another thing we spotted was that all the men looked moody and extremely serious-faced. In fact, of the 54 all-male box-arts, there was only one that showed the cover man with a smiling face. And that was for Anno: Create a New World, a Wii game that looks way too happy for its own good.

Conclusion: Men in games are serious.

In comparison, half of the women box-art cover stars wore a smile.

Conclusion: Women in games are fun.

One thing we were expecting to see plenty of was gratuitously exposed lady flesh. But not so. Only a measly 3 of our box-arts (that's 3%) featured what we would describe as nearly-naked women. That's a massive shift since the old days when big-breasted, barely-clothed barbarian women were considered obligatory box-art furniture.

Conclusion: Box-art needs more big-breasted, barely-clothed barbarian women.

The box-art revelations continue on the next page!


  • IcePotato - May 14, 2011 12:59 a.m.

    That is every create a wrestler on Smackdown vs Raw sans the weapon part.
  • jmtinfinitet - July 9, 2009 12:04 a.m.

    Lol @ the darts cover art
  • mimus - July 8, 2009 7:29 p.m.

    We don't know if master cheif is white either :O
  • KillerPotato - July 7, 2009 6:20 p.m.

    the Tiger Woods '10 box art looks like he is being shot...and enjoying it!!!
  • Shane1403 - July 4, 2009 6:15 p.m.

    great article guys but there were a few things that were a bit off but they weren't important enough to change the outcome. I'm sorry to tell you though.... Vin Diesel isn't black. I do think the amount of games containing scantily clad women is disgraceful :( @AnonymouZ i ditto that as well
  • Millllls - July 4, 2009 2:43 p.m.

    Vin Diesel Isn't Black??
  • thejadefalcon - July 4, 2009 10:16 a.m.

    I'm confused. First, games companies want to have more female gamers. Then they have few female rolemodels and settle on Sims ripoffs. They don't have female characters on the majority of the boxart. The ones there are are either sexed up to "appeal" to male gamers (it may only be 3% of the total, but it's 30% of the female only ones) or just simply ridiculous. If games wanted to have a true 50/50 audience, then surely all games should have male and female people on their covers and male and female characters to play. I'd say more, but my head hurts trying to understand the morons in the marketing sections of companies.
  • ChristianWitzel - July 4, 2009 1:58 a.m.

    I second Zayleffein's post! It's good to see that sex doesn't always win...
  • noobeater - July 2, 2009 10:37 p.m.

    great article...brits rule and u all know it! anyway i would say vin deisal is white hes nowhere near dark enough to be considered not...tho he has the coolest voice i will ever know and hes kickass
  • AnonymouZ - July 2, 2009 7:57 p.m.

    "pretty sure it just means prototype is the most generic cliched boxart" i ditto this.
  • Ryannnn - July 2, 2009 6:50 p.m.

    LMAO I love how they use the phrase NOT-WHITE Loool tahts if you get the humour behind it ;D
  • IIIJabbaIII - July 2, 2009 6:41 p.m.

    @darkfly23: LMFAO! @newton: Have you ever been hit with a british flag before? hurts =/...but for that reason, tiger woods and tennis 2009 should be in the weapon category cuz golf clubs and tennis rackets hurt a lot too :P Also there is a fat guy in the ceville box art.
  • Setsunakai - July 2, 2009 10:05 a.m.

    Not-White People should be labeled "Black people" because there are countless games listed where there was a sole Asian character (you have to remember that when dealing with a JP all the characters, unless specifically stated, are gonna be Japanese regardless of hair or eye color[they will most likely define race in appearance with jaw line or body build]) for example: Last remnant naruto persona tokyo beat down OneChanbara xblades NinjaBlade
  • PS360Rulez - July 2, 2009 7:28 a.m.

    garnsr you have just asked the greatest of all questions. Thas why you get a tv with picture in picture and play mass effect while watching porn in the small screen. Not that I would ever rly advise doing tht... cough* cough*
  • samownzsnake - July 2, 2009 6:18 a.m.

    i think box art designers strive for the sexy badass ninja hero (ehEH! uh, Assassins creed, prototype, ninja gaiden II, Chronicles of Riddick AoDA)...
  • michaelmcc827 - July 2, 2009 4:21 a.m.

    this was...genuinely entertaining, I am very pleased. btw people- Vin Diesel is hispanic
  • zayleffein - July 2, 2009 3:42 a.m.

    Whaaat?! You mean scantily-clad big breasted women aren't the winner? I am pleased to think that a tragic hero, and not an overly sexxed, ill-proportioned female, would appeal to the masses. Despite the strange way GR determined the results, maybe this shows that people enjoy a good story over alien sex or tit physics.
  • GlassPants - July 1, 2009 11:30 p.m.

    I found this informative and surprisingly disturbing. I don't care if I'm looking too deep, but every ad person in gaming SHOULD read this article. ... However, being EXTREMEXXXLY racist I approve of the IDEAL box-art person.
  • flareboy18 - July 1, 2009 10:24 p.m.

    Wait, Alex Mercer isnt white, he is whatever he just consumed!
  • Spybreak8 - July 1, 2009 9:58 p.m.

    Oh and I think the ultimate box art is Fable II. Series white male holding weapons, no head clothing though, with a demon shadow. Then on the other side, that's right we've got a two sided box art, a series male Demon with a good character shadow. This box art in relation to what makes Fable II, (Good and Evil) are perfect in my opinion.

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