Before I get into this article, I’d be remiss in not acknowledging the 25th anniversary of Tetris. So long ago…. Kind of wild to think about that.

That said, I started thinking about classic gaming, and the simple appeal of an era gone by with the advent of motion control of HD gaming. I recently eBayed a copy of The Hobbit for my Apple IIc (how’s that for “old-school”?), and one of the most eye-catching things of the entire package was the game’s artwork on the box.

When I think about it, one of the things I really look for these days is a game’s logo when making my selection. Artwork these days are either a result of Photoshop or some computer rendering. Very few games today use traditional artwork, or photography, or certainly do not looks as “epic” in scale. A prime example would be looking at old Atari 2600 covers. They had lavish illustrations on the cover for Space Invaders or Haunted House or Adventure that bore little to no resemblance of actual gameplay. But who cared? The people running for their lives on the cover of Defender looked pretty cool.

The 1980’s were know for their great cover art. With games being so simplistic back then, there had to be some sort of great hook to draw people in. Some great examples of interesting package art are from Epyx, Sir-Tech, Broderbund, Electronic Arts, Imagic, Sierra, Activision, and many, many more that I haven’t even listed here. Looking at these covers, would you be compelled to play any of these titles now based off the cover art?

There have also been companies, who kept a “theme” look to their titles. Activision, Nintendo, and Square, Capcom, or Konami did this for a while. You knew exactly what game you were buying from which company based on the art style alone. Now it’s more a question of seeing the system its for in big font across the cover.

The best way to see more classic gaming covers is to browse titles in MobyGames, or read classic gaming books such as High Score! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games or Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984. Both books are full of artwork and are highly enjoyable from a visual and historical standpoint. I can recommend both titles to those who are really into the hobby.

I’d like to open this entry for discussion as I’ve progressively gained a following more and more these days, it seems. Do you like the older style of artwork from examples that I’ve presented here, or do you like how newer games presented? Are they as creative, less, or moreso? Do you even think about what the cover of a game box looks like, or are you more interested in the actual game itself and could care less? What are some of your favorite game box examples?

Feel free to open up a discussion in comments.

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Filed under: atari gamingclassic gaminggaming artpc gamingretro gaming