The Worst Box Art of 2010

First impressions do make a difference. Here at The First Hour, reviewers examine with scrutiny the very first sixty minutes (or thirty in case of Nintendo DS carts) of a videogame, determining whether or not it properly sunk its hooks in them. Imagine if games were based solely on their box art; sometimes, depending on the buyer, they are. Box art creates an uninformed gamer’s vision in milliseconds, solidifying a buy or bust. Or possibly even befuddlement. Gaming companies, certainly at this point in the industry, know this, and yet a good number of horrific box arts are produced, effectively becoming counterproductive.

So how many would truly sink versus swim? Pretty sure all of the following examples would be spending a lot of time at the bottom of the (videogame industry) ocean. Also, quick apologies to Nintendo Wii and DS fanboys as they get the bulk of bad cover boxes year after year.

Let’s hope we see no repeats like these in 2011!

Again Cover

Here’s a game called Again. It’s for the DS. If you can discern more about it than me, you need to open up your very own private detective operation and solve mysteries worldwide with just your eyeballs. I mean... I’m not sure what’s more vague here—the title or the box art. Maybe we’ll learn more in the sequel Again Again?

Busy Scissor Cover

Oh my. I didn’t know that Lady Gaga went to Redken for her haircuts. TMZ wouldn’t even use this shot on their website.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Cover

It’s hard to see, but that’s a really gorgeous piece of artwork on the above cover. Too bad it’s stupidly covered up with things like teeny tiny screenshots and an unceremonious block of green sporting the super important bullet point of “over 165 puzzles!” Y’know, that’s the sort of things that belong on the back of the box, but I guess Level 5 isn’t perfect and really wanted to make sure that people knew they were buying a game all about puzzles and not one about truly repairing a large clock.

Shrek Forever After the Game Cover

Just like the makers of these movies, the cover box designers stopped trying too. Additional slam: Ogres have layers, their game covers do not.

Cats and Dogs Revenge of Kitty Galore Cover

Look, I totally understand that this is the art from the movie’s theatrical poster, and that they went with it to save time. I get that. And the truth is, if the poster for the, um, “film” had been awesome to begin with, the box art would also rock. That’s just logic. But alas, there’s something seriously demented going on here. Flying dogs and cats is one thing; flying dogs and cats badly Photoshopped, armed to the fangs, and coming for your Kibbles ‘n Bits is another.

Cabelas Dangerous Hunt 2011 Cover

This one’s pretty amazing. I’ve spent a good number of minutes trying to figure out what’s exploding in the bottom corner, but can’t pinpoint it. The guy’s leg? The bear’s claw? My wallet brimming with cash money?

mr Science Cover

Lastly, let’s end with a Nintendo DS game based on the Japanese science program "Tobidase! Kagaku-kun," which stars two normal humans and the skinless Mr. Science. Together, they hunt animals for scientific purposes... or maybe they are trying to make Mr. Science a new coat à la Silence of the Lambs. Either way... what? With Japanese games, it’s anyone’s guess in the end.