Box Art Comparison

With the PlayStation 4 set to launch in a few days, I found my Sunday newspaper filled to the brim with adverts for the new console, showcasing the lineup of games for the console. But as I browsed through the ads, I couldn’t help but notice that the artwork on the boxes was missing something… but what?

Say, let’s look at this handy visual aid I whipped up. On the left you will find the launch lineup for the PS4, on the right, the current library for the Wii U. What are the PS4 boxes missing that the Wii U boxes have? Go ahead, take your time, I can wait.ps4vwiiu
That’s right! Color! Apparently, the PlayStation 4 is SO mature and SO hardcore, all of the color from the box art has been sucked away. Each box for the PS4 features a lone protagonist, glaring out at you, as all the color and life is sucked out of the background. Hell, even the SPORTS games follow suit; just add a military helmet and a rifle and you’ve got the cover for the next WWII shooter.

In contrast, the box art for the Wii U games are bursting with life and color, greeting you with open arms into their weird worlds and fighting for your attention on the store shelves. Why is Mario wearing a cat suit? What’s with this guy with a fist twice the size he is? And what crime has this red Pikmin committed that justifies locking him up inside a bottle? You need to buy this game to find out!

I didn’t make this up just to mock the PlayStation 4; this illustrates a problem with the game industry as a whole. As often as Nintendo is mocked for “playing it safe” with properties like Mario and Zelda, Nintendo’s got nothing on a majority of the rest of the developers and publishers in the industry. As much as devs and publishers brag about innovation, it seems the only “innovation” being pushed these days are A) slightly purdier graphics, B) games more and more dependent on online play and DLC, and C) games that are essentially the same shooters mimicking Hollywood blockbusters. Year after year, it’s all becoming homogeneous, each game looking and playing the same as the others, developers and publishers alike fearful of alienating the “dude-bro” gamers that they have become so dependent on. God forbid you change the gameplay or control style of what’s been established, even if it could lead to something that works even better for the games you enjoy.

This was BUILT for first person shooters, and the industry just took a big shit on it, not wanting to stray from the archaic dual analog establishment.

In closing, it’s not wise to judge a book by it’s cover… but it’s also not wise to make the cover of your book so drab and lifeless that no one even notices.

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