I know I haven't mentioned it in some time, but the wonderfully named WonderSwan handheld continues to intrigue me more than maybe it should.
Actually, that's not completely fair. After all, there's a lot to like about this weird, Japan-only portable and its similarly odd catalog of games. For instance, there's the WonderSwan's unique design, which allows users to hold their systems either in a horizontal or vertical position (depending on the cartridge that's stuck inside, of course).
Also, although quite a few uninteresting (especially to Western audiences) games--many of which could be described as downright turds--were released for the WonderSwan during its relatively short "reign," a good number of quality titles were made available for it, too.
Something that often goes hand in hand with quality games, of course, is quality box art--especially when we're talking about Japanese games.
That's true even when it comes to the lowly WonderSwan, as the following five examples of cover imagery should help prove.
Engacho!--OK, so this particular piece of box art is a bit gross. It's also got a lot of verve, though, and the use of color is nothing short of brilliant, if you ask me. An added bonus: its puzzling gameplay's actually loads of fun.
Hataraku Chocobo--This Final Fantasy spin-off's nearly unknown outside of Japan, which is a shame as it seems pretty interesting. Specifically, it sounds like an Animal Crossing-esque sort of experience, although I'm guessing this Chocobo-centric twist on Nintendo's world-conquering series is quite a bit less deep in the content department.
Mr. Driller--This 2001 port of Namco's classic arcade puzzler is proof that it's been released for pretty much every system imaginable over the years. Not that I'm complaining. I'm beyond thrilled that the WonderSwan got in on the Mr. Driller action--although the thing that's chiefly responsible for my bliss is the beautiful box art seen above.
Rhyme Rider Kerorican--This portable music game was made by the well-regarded crew at NanaOn-Sha, perhaps best known for PaRappa the Rapper, UmJammer Lammy and Vib-Ribbon. Rhyme Rider doesn't quite have the same cachet among gamers as those previously mentioned titles, but at least its cover imagery stacks up to the counterparts of its predecessors rather admirably.
Tane wo Maku Tori--This unique puzzler's box art is, without question, my favorite of the bunch showcased here. I like its use of color, of course, and I also like that it looks as though it was crafted out of pieces of cut-up paper, but there's more to it than that, too. Maybe it's that it gives off slightly melancholy as well as cheerful vibes, much like its in-game graphics?
Do you have any favorite examples of WonderSwan cover art? If so, let me (and everyone else) know about them in the comments section that follows.
See also: previous 'five favorites' posts