The Death of Video Game Box Art

Hi. My name is Jaky and I want to talk to you about video game box art, or covers, or cases or whatever the hell you like to call them. If you play video games, even casually, you may have noticed how generic and lazy box art has become. No matter the genre, games seem to like to follow one of two ways of advertising themselves – it’s either a main character from the game, just standing there, you know, probably with a gun. Doing something so badass, like looking at the ground.

or it’s a super close up face shot of the main character just… … being a goddamn face. And the reason these cliches are so frustrating to see is that the game underneath the dull box art could be a beautifully tight little piece of work, that will be revisited, and loved and digested for years to come except now it’s always going to be associated with some shitty picture of dude with a gun. Obviously this is all super subjective, and there’s definitely exceptions but it boggles my goddamn mind how we’ve gone from this to this this.

This to this?! Dawg bless Dawg piss In an attempt to get to the source of this problem we need to travel back to the days of the NES SNES and the GENESNES Back in the still somewhat early days of gaming hitting that loud legal cush mainstream market, unique box art was more common primarily because of the necessity for it. When you couldn’t just slap your 3D model dude on the cover of your game and call it a day, you had to get a little more creative.

I mean It’s hard to get people, well… hard, for Double Dragon II showing them this, but when you show them THIS HOLY SHIT MAN There’s a boy and girl 9 Incredible missions. Dad, I’m Gonna While you could argue that doing it this way is potentially misleading to the consumer, there was some amazing art created for some classic games. But because box art wasn’t just slapped up by some hot boi in photoshop , and actually had to be created by an artist – or artists – publishers would sometimes use a different artist when localizing a game to the U.S. in the hopes of selling more croppies.

Exhibit A: Rock Man Known as MEGA BOY in the U.S. Rock man’s box art debut in Japan fun, colorful, it reflected the game pretty good. Mega Man… Mega Man… not so much [ Evanescence – Bring me to life ] :'( While the Mega Man games on the NES are the easiest, worst examples by far, other games which sometimes get shafted on the U.S. too, all because the publisher thought that THIS was still better than this. But this one is so much more pretty. Whether that’s justified is up to you but regardless of the occasional change in localization between regions I would still consider the 90s as the golden age of video game box art no matter where you lived. Games like : Secret of Mana Super Metroid Chrono Trigger Doom Ocarina of time They’re all memorableass games, and they have box art that’s a good visualization of that, and for some games I actually prefer the changes to the U.S version like Metal Gear Solid’s minimalist design, or Gran Turismo’s ominous car unveiling.

I will say though the PAL cover for Resident Evil 2 is fucking terrifying and the U.S. one just kind of looks like a werewolf, but you know different strokes for different strombees. Either way, game boxes were looking pretty good. The PS1 and N64 continued to have some sick cases in their libraries but advancing technology meant that clean, decent looking CGI characters we’re starting to post up on boxes a lot more frequently. By the time the next generation of consoles dropped, the U.S. started to see the beginning of the end. Exhibit B: ‘Aico’… Huh… Ico.

Fucking… Horn Boy Just gonna call it Horn Boy… So HB is a pretty unique game, you know, it’s lonely. It’s very quiet. It’s atmospheric. It was deliberately trying to be different from other action-adventure games at the time and this is what the cover art looks like in Europe and Japan.

This is fucking gorgeous. And this is the U.S cover. Like.. come on man.. Why?!

it’s fuckin Mega Legs all over again. To get to the source of how something like this can happen and really the source of the shittiness of modern-day box art, we got to examine how things are marketed to Americans. For whatever reason in the US. we seem to have more of a response to a character, particularly a pissed-off one, rather than a stylish logo or some neat art. I mean at least that’s what marketing people think. And it’s not just videogames, it’s movies too.

Just take the movie “Drive” for example. Yeah, there’s scenes of Ryan Gosling being a goddamn hunk badass but it’s also a very stylish artistic film with themes of love and loneliness and yet This is what the DVD looks like. Just Ryan gosling and a tacky ass logo. Our apparent ADD need for a main character getting blasted in front of our faces resulted in a bunch of lazy PS2-era artwork that became the cliches we know today. Just look at Final Fantasy X in Japan. No!

Fuck that! Final Fantasy VII through XII-2 in Japan. All the games follow the same beautiful, consistent minimalist approach with a white background and just a variation of the iconic logo for each game.

It’s so. Fucking. Neat. But America… Fuck that throw a bunch of characters all over that shit. Yeah! Dude with the sword that’s perfect Americans love that shit.

Uhm did somebody say… GIRLS?? YEAH! The funny part about this is while marketing teams did this shit in hopes of better sales games with unique artwork still sold like crazy in the US like look at the GTA games. They all have that tiled style that not only shows what you’re gonna do in the game but the color palette reflects the fucking location and era the game takes place.

It’s awesome! They’re stylish, and effective, and they sold an ass ton of copies. Regardless of some of these sick exceptions though, by the time gaming entered the PS3, 360 and Wii generation unique box art was seriously clinging to its last breath. There were still the few exceptions.

Creative and clever boxes that actually stuck with you, but the typical character with a weapon and/or boobs template was rapidly taking over. Exhibit C: Heavy rain and Metal Gear Solid 4 Now.. Heavy Rain is not a perfect game, by any means.

But it’s different and at the very least it deserves some unique box art to illustrate that, and in Europe that happened. They got this clean ass little piece that told you everything you needed to know without showing too much, cuz you know its a myst… is it a dettractive game. It’s it’s okay I mean, I don’t know but the artwork was great!

But in the U.S. Fuck that. They had to add boobs and a weapon. LET’S JUST COVER ALL THE BASIS BOIS the final straw for me personally was actually when Metal Gear Solid 4 came out. You know, as a kid I was a huge huge fan of the series, I’m still am and this one was supposed to be the last one of the series, and in Europe and Japan, they got versions of the box art that respected that. They got a beautiful illustration that’s actually a clever callback to the PAL and Japan box art for the first Metal Gear Solid game. That is so fucking cool.

America said fuck that though. Naah, instead let’s just throw some raw dogs CGI looking ass old man face on there. Americans love old men You seen Gran Torino? Is great five out of fucking five stars ☆☆☆☆☆ The saddest thing about the current generation of video game consoles is that at least in the previous generations if there was a cover art in the U.S that was pretty butt, we at least had a pretty sweet alternative in a different region around the world, like take Dark Souls for example.

The Japanese cover art is amazing! To me it fits that game perfectly and it’s one of my favorite boxers of all time I fucking love it. Butt the one in the U.S. it’s like none of this makes fucking sense to me the shield is on his right hand but we’re looking at his back and there’s these fucking spirits around and like I don’t… i don’t know these spiritsgetoutofmyfuckinghouse What I’m trying to say is at least we had the alternative but now for the most part the box art you see between regions It’s gonna be the same like Bloodborne, I’m sorry, you’re one of my favorite games of all time but the cover art is fucking boring for everyone. Metal Gear Solid V – the cover art is exactly the same.

Final Fantasy XV – they dropped the white, minimalist and now they have all the dude bros on it, and it’s like Did we do this is?… did they just pick up on what the West was doing is like Oh, they just put a character on that, and it’s it’s cheap and people are still gonna fucking buy the game. Why are we taking the time to actually make something cool?

Let’s just fucking do that. You know this is all just my speculation there’s no hard facts as to why box art is butt, and maybe it’s okay, maybe I shouldn’t even care you know I play most games on PC. People on PS4 and shit, they just download anything now… Terabyte hard drive But My speculation and my theory is that, you know, video game box art… unique video game box art that you’ll actually remember is fucking dead. And America fucking killed it. Rip bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Hey Thanks for watching the video. You know it got a little I got a little hairy at the end there but uh if you if you didn’t hate that you know I got some other videos too I got Games that should bang, talking about two games bang, and what the baby would look like, I got rap reviews where I do silly shit like This I know and I review a game and then there’s uh there’s some other shit, then there’s some melee movies You know if you like crap and Falcon or Marth and they’ve got a sword so yeah …Wake me up…

Playing Cuphead

– Looks like an old one, ’cause it looks like an old cartoon, but I’ve never heard of if it is. – (FBE) So, Cuphead is what’s called a run and gun style platformer. It has you taking control of the character on the left.

His name is Cuphead and you’re going to be defeating enemies to save Cuphead’s soul from the Devil. – The Devil? – Saving souls from the Devil? That’s my business. – (FBE) So, we’re gonna teach you how to play this game off-screen and then we’re gonna let you just have a go at some of the opening levels of the game and see how you do. – This is not solitaire, is it?

You know, I’m up for it. I’m up for the challenge. – So far, I’ve been very bad at games. I don’t expect I’ll be better at this one. – Yeah, let’s do it! – ♪ (ragtime music) ♪ – It’s ragtime.

– Press it? Okay. – “The Root Pack in Botanic Panic.” – “Botanic” means plants, flowers. “Panic” is getting scared, as far as I can tell.

– It’s great graphics. I mean, it is like an old cartoon. – (FBE) And we’re gonna have you play the simple difficulty so you can at least have a fighting chance. – Thank you. – Here we go.

– (announcer) A brawl is surely brewing. – Okay, ready. – Hey, turn around. – Why isn’t the gun working?

– Well, that was quick. – Ah, you have to hit them lots of times. Well, that’s not fair. – Okay, go to retry? – (announcer) Now, go!

– Oh! – How am I supposed to get by there? Wait, how am I– why doesn’t he move any further? – Why is it not hitting and killing these things? – Oh, son of a gun.

They’re not dying. – (laughs) Whoops, I’m supposed to stay there. – (laughs) I’m dying really quickly. – Come on, you son of a gun. Oh, I jumped too soon. – Little further.

– Whoa, I killed him! Uh oh, what is this? – How do I turn him?

– Ahh! (laughs) I got carrots coming at me! Oh, I got killed by a giant carrot! – Do I have to start from the beginning every time? (sighs) I found a flaw.

– That’s fun. I mean, now I’m getting the hang of it a little bit, but it is tough. – Jump, jump, jump. (laughs) – That’s it. Why am I bouncing to the music? – Now I have to fight the carrot.

(laughing) I hit it. So, I have to turn that way. – Okay, I don’t understand the carrot.

– Oh, I jumped when I should have backed up. – (laughing) I shot the carrots! I got your baby carrot! (laughs) Oh, I don’t know, guys. That’s getting beyond my concentration level right now.

– Yeah, that’s tough. – The challenge. It’s a strategy. (laughs) That’s why I take it personally. – “Thretenin’ Zeppelin.” Finally reacting to something with “zeppelin” in the title.

– “Hilda Berg” Hilda Berg. “in Threatenin’ Zeppelin.” – I’m gonna be flying and shooting.

It’s gonna be fun, but I’m not gonna do well. – All right, here we go. – (announcer) This match will get red hot. It’s on. – It’s on.

– Man, they’re throwing a lot of stuff at you. – I’m back here. – Ah. – Whoops!

– Oh, I died. I didn’t even see that one. – Oh!

No one told me the “Ha’s” would kill you. – “Fitting, isn’t it? I’m a blimp, you’re a wimp.” Oh yeah?

(laughs) We’ll see about that. – (announcer) Now, go! – Whoops. Up there, keep shooting. Come on, die. They get very stubborn.

They don’t want to die. I died. – There you go. There you go.

Ah, oh! A little sneak attack from the back. – That was a big one, ooh. – Why won’t that die? – Oh, that wasn’t good. Oh, I got farther.

– Oh, I’m– That “Ha ha” keeps getting me. Oh, too far away. – Johnny, Johnny, what are you doing? You came too close to the Sun. – Come on.

Got you. – Kill it. Die! (laughs) I’m actually saying the guy should die. This is different. – Okay, you morphed.

All right, baby. I still died! – Oh, we got the bull, now. – Whoops, whoops, whoops. Got back over here. (laughs) Down, down, down.

(laughs) – The heck’s that? I didn’t know. Yeah, well. At least I got to the tornado. This one’s still tough either way. Well, with practice I could probably do better.

– “The Clip Joint Calamity.” – Oh dear. – (announcer) Here goes! – That’s a whole lot of folks. – There’s a big frog there. Oops!

– Oh, oh! (laughs) Oh, this one’s good. – Oh, I gotta jump.

That was the first one. That was just the first foray. – That’s a lot going on. – Okay, prepare to go down, froggies. – Where’s that? What are those?

– Come on. Come on, froggy. Oh! – (laughs) Just have to move faster.

– Shoot those guys! (laughs) Ah, it’s like I just had him in my sights and I already was in his. – There’s so much going on. It’s like when you get to the third or fourth level of Centipede and things are coming everywhere and they’re bouncing back off the bottom and you try and stay out of the way. – Whoops. (laughs) It’s very fast and I’m not so fast.

– Get that guy. What is so wrong about getting that guy!? Ah, ah, ah! (laughs) Oh, I can’t take many more hits! My shields are down!

– Up, up, up. Aww, that last bit got me. – It’s too much for me.

– I give up. (laughs) Do I have a white towel to throw in? – I’ll take all your fire ants!

Your little tadpoles! Get him! (laughs) Ah, no!

Oh, that’s it guys. My will to survive has been trampled upon. – I did enjoy that. That was fun.

It gets personal. I’m not gonna let this thing beat me. – It’s difficult, but I had a feeling that I could actually figure it out and maybe do it if I tried it off next. So I get the idea what am I supposed to do. – For young people, maybe it introduces them to cartoons of the past, which many haven’t been exposed to.

So, it’s opening up a whole new avenue for young people and then for people like myself, you know, older people. I think it’s great because then it takes us back. – Thanks for watching us play Cuphead on the React Channel. – Let us know what game we should try next down in the comments.

– Bye. – Hey everybody, Derek here, one of the React Channel producers. You know you can see behind the scenes of this episode and so many more if you go check out FBE2 Channel. They’ve got a vlog on there. You can see everything we do behind the scenes. It’s fantastic.

Go check it out!

Xiaomi Gaming Laptop – Worth the Risk?

Hey, how’s it going? Dave 2D here. So Xiaomi recently announced their Mi gaming laptop and it’s a product I think a lot of people would be interested in because Xiaomi makes some really good stuff for a pretty good price. This is their Mi Notebook Pro. I’ve done a review of it. Really heavy hitter for it’s price point We’ve seen the Mi Notebook Air also a really good product for the price point.

So on paper it would seem like the Mi Gaming Laptop would be like hey, you know, that sounds pretty cool. So looking at the paper specs and the photos from the press release, they’re pretty impressive. One of the things they do really well is build quality. I think that’s like probably their biggest strength when it comes to what you’d expect at that price. Like, very few laptops at that price point are gonna look like this.

This is one of the best built gaming laptops you’re gonna see at that price point. And looking at the Mi Notebook Pro, it’s just a really well machined laptop. Really clean edges. The occasional sharp edge here and there, like on the bottom they didn’t do the best job with the machining but it’s a really well built laptop.

So I expect the Mi Gaming Laptop to be similar. Their design is quite unique. The hinge looks a lot like that piston hinge we’ve seen on the HP Spectre and I used to have concerns about that hinge design but it’s actually really good. The design of this whole Mi Gaming Laptop looks quite simple. It’s this muted look.

Grey slab. No red accents. No logos.

The only Xiaomi branding is at the bottom of the screen. Kinda like the Notebook Pro. And it’s a good look. It’s actually one of the least gamer-looking laptops I’ve seen, which I like. The bottom of that laptop seems to have some kind of RGB lighting for some underglow but aside from that it’s nothing crazy on the exterior. If yu need some cash for this notebook, why don`t you check some casino games in canada.

The screen on the Mi Gaming Laptop is supposed to have a 72% NTSC rating, which is actually the exact same rating as the one on the Mi Notebook Pro and it might be the same screen, it might not I kinda hope it isn’t because this screen wasn’t — I mean it’s not terrible but it’s not [a] great gaming laptop screen so hopefully they changed it up a little bit but the Mi Gaming Laptop was supposed to take a lot of build and design cues from the Mi Notebook Pro which is actually a good thing, this thing had great Dolby Atmos speakers and I think the gaming laptop will as well. It’s gonna have that good keyboard layout, but this time with RGB and macro keys, and it’s going to be running a Windows Precision trackpad, which is always good to see on any kind of laptop. The ports look pretty good. Xiaomi does ports well – they kinda stick a whole bunch of ports into most of their laptops and for the most part, people are happy, they don’t care too much about the whole minimalism and stuff like that.

Performance – they’re running an i5 that’s comboed with a GTX 1050 Ti Or the i7 with the GTX 1060. Now that’s obviously going to affect the price, but the thing that’s kind of extra cool is the cooling. So, Xiaomi’s saying it’s going to be the coolest, high-performance laptop on the market. And honestly, I believe them because look at this thing, this was the Notebook Pro and Despite this thing only having an MX150, they’ve designed it well so you can crank the voltage up really easily. Now, that thermal performance comes at a cost, and that is weight.

So if you look at the paper specs and you kinda don’t look at the height, it’s actually heavier than I thought it would be and I think a lot of that weight comes from that thermal solution because they’re running five heatpipes and those things are not light. Ok, the last thing I want to talk about is pricing. And this is kind of the most important part of this video. Xiaomi products tend to kind of capture the interest of people in North America and Europe because they tend to be cheaper than their counterparts and I was surprised at how expensive the Mi Gaming Laptop is, if you look at the pricing of – I guess similarly designed products, so relatively thinner and lighter gaming laptops that are well built. The Xiaomi Mi Gaming Laptop doesn’t stick out as being an amazing value because the gaming laptop market, especially in that GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060 segment. That’s a very, very competitive segment.

Like you’re seeing like twenty, thirty laptops in that kind of – performance range so pricing ranging from $800 to I don’t know, $2000 at the top end, so this Xiaomi product it’s not super cheap – it’s not that it’s like expensive or anything, but you always take a risk when you’re buying a product like this – at least right now – the brand isn’t represented well in North America or Europe, you kind of have to be in Asia to obtain this thing, so there’s a bit of a risk when it comes to buying something like this. And it’s just that I don’t feel like for most people that live outside of the Asian market – I don’t think it’s worth it to really purchase this, this Xiaomi Gaming Laptop. It kind of took me for a surprise.

I expect it to be cheaper. I’m sure it’s a great product, and you’re getting really, really good build quality with cool underglow and some really great thermal performance, but when you kind of look at the grand picture, and you see the other options that are available, it’s not that it’s a bad product, it’s just not nearly as compelling of a purchase as other Xiaomi products have been where the price is just like, “Wow! That’s so much cheaper!”

This gaming laptop from Xiaomi, I’m lukewarm about it, so I’ll probably do a review when that thing comes in, but – I don’t think anyone should be preordering that thing and be like, “Oh this is like the best value,” because quite frankly, I don’t think it is. Ok, hopefully you guys enjoyed this video, thumbs if you liked it, subs if you loved it. See you guys next time!