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The most mediocre box art

This entire page is dedicated to the infamously deserted covers of the Sega Master System. Each and every one is devoid of content; looking at them all side by side it’s pretty damn easy to see why the SMS never touched the NES.

Can it get any worse than this? An all-too-literal representation of what it is you’re about to buy? The F-16 was one of the baddest jets around in the mid-‘80s, and this is the best they could come up with? If anything this would deter buyers, as it basically says “You are about to spend $40 on a piece of rectangular plastic.”

We’re not afraid a’ no ghost, but we are a teensy bit weary of the vast amount of copyright information that commands as much real estate as the friggin’ logo. Priorities, people.

The Ninja: The Mega Cartridge: The Letdown.

Hm, if this is their idea of exciting, maybe Fighting Falcon was better off not depicting the jet. Look at all that empty space; you could make your own pen and paper RPG with that much grid paper.

Vroom vroom. Can’t wait to take this sexy bitch home.

Even in the rare occasion where the box is serviceable, covert artists manage to lame it up by barfing an unnecessary “SHOOTING!” blurb in the corner, as if we weren’t quite sure what we’d be doing in a Rambo game. Might as well add “RUNNING” and “JUMPING” to the list.

Compare these snoozefests to the early NES boxes:

Blocky, even ugly by today’s standards, but you knew what you were getting. Mario’s throwing fireballs while leaping over lava, that duck is screaming through the humid Midwestern sky and Samus is frying up a spiny alien omelet. Our eight-year-old allowances were begging for the privilege of buying Nintendo products.

Sega apparently learned from its mistake with Genesis, replacing blank white covers with great custom art while keeping a muted grid for consistency’s sake. And they still lost.