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Art is subjective, so we can't dictate whether the clean and colorful anime style of most Japanese covers is truly better than, say, the cheesy comic book style of Crackdown. Or the washed out Photoshopping of Spy Fiction and Psi-Ops. Look below and decide which versions you find more eye-catching. If you choose the red cross in Trauma Center, we hate you.











What's up with the guys on the left? Are they the unpaid interns for the guys on the right?



 


 
If we want gaming to reach the depth and maturity of cinema or literature, it should be about more than swords, guns, blood, violence and nonstop action. Often, however, gaming is about more - the Western packaging is just too afraid to let you know.

Japanese box art, however, isn't afraid to show off the game's sensitive side. Princess Farah joins the Prince of Persia cover. Ico and Yorda hold hands. And while Final Fantasy X International didn't release in the US, do you really think they would have kept the same cover if it had? Hurry, give Tidus something sharp!









Must our box art always scream at us? If the artists don't add enough explosions, fangs and protruding female bosoms, are the games somehow invisible to us and our puerile minds? In Japan, understatement is okay. Possibly encouraged, based on the number of examples below.











Yes, we know Link is in this game, Japanese box art. Thank you.



 


 
A lot of game packaging in Western countries comes across like a desperate flea market. If they cram as much crap into the tents as possible, surely you'll find at least one item you like, right? So if the pretty lady on the cover of Heavenly Sword isn't enough, maybe you'll be convinced by the screaming head or the vaguely viewed fat man in the background. If the title Final Fantasy isn't enough, perhaps some cosplayers and airships will get you to purchase. Please?

Japanese packaging is more confident, usually sticking with one strong and persuasive image.











Okay, so maybe the flea market mentality is universal. At least when Japan does it, they go all the damn way. Seriously, is there any Disgaea character NOT on that rainbow spectrum below?







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85 comments

  • death4us - 13 hours, 9 minutes ago

    I don't see it being any better. I think its all about perspective and mines telling me that neither is better. The difference I see is Japaneses is more cartoonish and Americans is more CGI.
  • JMarsella09 - March 20, 2014 6:40 p.m.

    I disagree with the Homecoming box art. Pyramid Head is a bit overplayed, and doesn't really show up much in Homecoming. The portrait of the two brothers is much more in line with the main themes of the game.
  • thorein - March 20, 2014 5:38 p.m.

    Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.
  • Chorizo - March 20, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Wow, I came to this page to expect to see some good Japanese box art because they are supposivly "Better" than NA apparently, but almost all of these suck. For example the one with the mosquito.... wow like i would want to buy a box with a foot on it that that has a small title on it. Honestly only a little of the Japanese box art on here i cant really decide on which box i would want over NA. Next time choose a better title for your future articles.
  • shlegelheimer - February 20, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    I have to agree with @awesomesauce. Some of the Japanese art was pretty good, but so was ours. The one about L.A.I.R really comes to mind. I can't even remember what the title was on the Japanese cover, probably because they decided to put yellow text over white flash. I couldn't even read it until I spent the time required to actively decipher what it said. That's not a good design. However, putting yellow text against a dark color like, I don't know, black, the letters become clearly readable. Not only that, but we get straight to the point as well, L.A.I.R. That's all that needs to be said. Also, the Japan version looks like the player will just ride around in the sky on dragons. I haven't played the game, but I'm going to guess that there is more to it than just that. Not that a developer should put there entire game-play on the cover, but giving us (the players) more to go off of than just that could help. The NA one places a warrior (on top) divided by a deadly dragon (on bottom). It's clear to me in this depiction, that your character will be involved with dragons within this game.
  • Evanesco - February 19, 2014 7:38 p.m.

    Shadow of the Colossus NA version was better. The rest don't even matter.
  • Leeroy_Jenkins - December 18, 2013 2:23 p.m.

    Skyward sword was okay, while the NA others sucked.
  • awesomesauce - August 5, 2013 2:22 p.m.

    I'm sorry guys but this article was extremely basis. Everytime you compared them even if the point contradicted what you just said earlier you just said japan wins. There's probabaly a reason why they change the boxart because honestly i like the English version more in most of the boxart. You just asumed we'd all agree that the Japs had better but art has it's beauty in the eye of the behold. I would of enjoyed this article if you just compared them but you guys just flat out said the Japanese one was better disregarding any opinion. Like you said you hated floating heads like in the soul calber one yet mass effect japanese one and it was nothing but floating heads. I guess that's why the they the box art because i like almost all the NA ones better and i can't see the Japanese ones selling here because Manga just doesn't appeal as much here.
  • RavensPoet - August 8, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    Totally agree. While usually I will prefer the Japanese box art over NA any day....the majority of this list just didn't seem too different or unique from the other.
  • blissdom - September 26, 2013 3:03 a.m.

    Nah American marketing people just have a really crappy taste in art, which is then imposed on the poor gamer
  • blissdom - September 26, 2013 3:35 a.m.

    And really you are totally wrong, it's not really about Manga style (and the millions of people who attended various Anime conventions in the West year after year practically prove that manga/anime style have immensely huge appeal in the West). Most Japanese boxes simply have better, more sophisticated and intelligent art overall, regardless of style. It's far more accurate to say that many American game box arts are dictated by dumbass full-of-themselves marketers who have hideous taste in art and often out of touch with what the players actually want
  • awesomesauce - September 26, 2013 8:42 p.m.

    ok just because it's a different style doesn't make it a "dumbass marketing" obviously there's a reason they bother changing the box. Manga doesn't sell as well here. Sure millions of people goto manga conventions but you cannot compare it to american designs because we don't have a convention to compare it to. If majority here truly liked that design, things like Okami wouldn't have flopped or had slow sales
  • JoshsCheese0802 - February 19, 2014 5:15 p.m.

    funny how in skyward sword it's the korean box art
  • dcobs123 - August 4, 2013 2:32 p.m.

    Games that aren't even from Japan have better Japanese box art than us. It's not fair!
  • flaco-el-tercero - August 3, 2013 6:44 p.m.

    >Even in Ratchet & Clank's darkest games, you'll still play as an adorable, anthropomorphic dog thing with a cute robot companion. As an adorable, anthropomorphic CAT thing. All respect lost.
  • alex-roy-bristol - August 3, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    I'm sorry guys, but Homecoming's US box art actually speaks to the intelligent side of the game, not just the shitty "Hey look guys! We're Silent Hill too!" side of it in my opinion. Rarely do I feel so right about an opinion than this, and that's being honest. Overall I loved the list though, and it's your opinions after all anyways! ;D
  • dcobs123 - August 4, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    Never played Homecoming but Pyramid Head doesn't even make sense to be in that game so I agree with you there.
  • alex-roy-bristol - August 5, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    ExACTLY!
  • Shnubby - August 3, 2013 2:30 a.m.

    Here in the UK we sometimes share the Japanese covers and we sometimes share the NA covers and then sometimes just for whatever reason we get our very own cover. for example, heavy rain, the UK release doesn't use either of the covers shown above, it's basically just an origami with the games title. I've always found US covers to be the less appealing of all, and not just with games but with things like books as well. Seriously, the US Harry Potter books are covered in some of the most ridiculously ugly artworks ever and using that childish logo from the movies?? Eeeew.

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