I write a lot of posts in which I wax poetic about what I consider to be great cover art, but I rarely seem to do the same for cover art I consider to be ghastly. Well, I'm changing that today by launching a new column called "The Stuff of Nightmares."
Although this first edition of "The Stuff of Nightmares" focuses on horrible PC Engine HuCard cover art, expect future installments to shine a spotlight on similarly hideous examples of, say, Famicom, Mega Drive and PlayStation cover art.
Drop Rock Hora Hora (Data East, 1990)–This piece of cover art almost crosses the line from horrible to “so horrible it’s kind of good.” The key word in that sentence being almost. So, what keeps it from crossing that line? Well, that oh-so-80s sweatshirt worn by the boy in the lower-right corner is one reason; the rather comical expression on the monster behind him is another. I can’t quite decide, though, if the “evil fruit” floating along the left side of the image are further examples of the hideousness of this piece of art (yes, I’m using that word loosely in this case) or if they raise it a few notches on the attractiveness scale.
Kick Ball (NCS, 1990)–Full disclosure: Although a large part of me considers this particular piece of cover art to be nightmare-inducing, a small part considers it to be rather nice–in a “colorfully over-the-top” way, of course. Anyway, I don’t know if the former reaction is due to the overall shininess of the illustration–everyone and everything in the image looks like its been buffed and waxed–or if it’s due to the Mike Haggar look-a-like striking a pose front and center. Oh, who am I kidding? Mr. Haggar’s definitely the main reason this cover art leans heavily toward “scary as all hell” territory.
Puzzle Boy (Renovation, 1991)–There is one reason, and one reason only, I consider this piece of cover art to be nightmarish: The smile plastered on the face of that potato-like creature in the foreground! It reminds me of a similarly freaky smile I once saw in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Curiously, the other (seemingly evil) vegetables featured in this illustration have much less horrifying expressions on their faces. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Rock On (Big Club, 1989)–This design was created by a middle-schooler using MS Paint, wasn’t it? That’s the only explanation I can come up with for it. OK, so most middle-schoolers wouldn’t have the skills to draw the dragon-like creature in the upper-left corner (or the anime reject in the lower-right corner), but I’ll bet a good number of them would be able to copy and paste those drawings into a Paint document and create something similar to what the designers at Big Club produced for this piece of cover art.
Ryukyu (Face, 1990)–Almost everybody likes a little ass now and then, but few people like that ass to be covered in the bikini equivalent of “granny panties.” The only thing missing from this piece of cover art, in my oh-so-humble opinion, is a field of cellulite. Or maybe some razor burn. Of course, I’m gay, so what do I know? Maybe straight guys really dig the cover art above?
Honorable mentions: Devil Crash, Hatris, Shada and Sindibad.
Note: This post originally appeared on my other gaming blog, iwasateenagepcenginefan.wordpress.com.