ESRB Balks, Sets Bad Precedent
Choosing The Next Censorship Target

Box Art Evolution

CastlevaniaboxFollowing up on yesterday's list of best and worst video game box art, here is a guide to the evolution of video game box art from the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System.  The article is divided by publisher so one can follow the progression of artwork over the years.  Capcom's art is divided into two periods, for instance: the time before the company hired professional artists and the time after the company hired professional artists.  On the other hand, Konami's boxes remained basically the same throughout the NES's lifespan.

Konami had ... a very simple formula, but really easily recognizable. The boxes had silver borders around the top and both sides, framing a drawn or painted representation of what the game was about. The game title appears at the top of this picture. Some interesting details are the fact that universally at least one element escapes the borders and goes all over the place, like Simon Belmont's whip in Castlevania. Also of note are the vertical silver lines that kind of "blend" from the side borders into the picture.

It's especially interesting to see how Hudson Soft's art style evolved over the years, moving from a letterbox-style image compressed between two plain color bars to large, detailed scenes to grace the front of game boxes.  The evil witch doctor is prominently displayed on Adventure Island's small graphic, but by the time of Adventure Island 3 it was Master Higgins himself who appeared in the foreground.  There are also a lot of graphical patterns that I had never noticed until I read through this guide.  Interesting stuff!