Although Nintendo's Fire Emblem series dates back to the days of the Famicom, it only arrived in North America during this generation of game consoles. As such, Nintendo has spent a lot of time and money promoting it now that it has escaped Japan. The latest installment, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones for the Game Boy Advance, has also had a thrust of advertising to help it excel in the market. GameDAILY reports that when building the advertising campaign for the game, the company chose to emphasize the artwork created for the game instead of traditional screenshots.
The Sacred Stones holds its own graphically (compared to other GBA titles), but Nintendo smartly decided to display this incredible character art very prominently in every piece of the game's marketing, instead of pushing screenshots. These pieces of art, often filling half a page or more, were used to best effect in a removable two-page comic book-style insert that appeared in some enthusiast magazines.
Nintendo has been producing fantastic game-related artwork for years now and it's about time that somebody noticed. Every game they produce has a signature style, be it cel shading, crayon scribbles, rendered perfection, or retro 8-bit blockiness. Focusing the campaign for Sacred Stones around this artwork provides a double bonus, for not only is the artwork prominently on display, but everybody knows what a Game Boy Advances game looks like by now. Screenshots of a GBA game just don't have the "wow factor" effect that they once did. Put the artwork in the spotlight and ignite the audience's imagination. Does the artwork sell games? I guess we'll find out when Nintendo begins to market the next Fire Emblem title, Path of Radiance, later this year.