Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Five favorites: North American GameBoy box art

A couple of years ago, I published a post that highlighted five of my favorite pieces of Japanese GameBoy box art.

This post, of course, focuses on five of my favorite pieces of North American GameBoy box art.

Balloon Kid--I know some of you will look at Balloon Kid's cover art and declare it to be an abomination. And I can understand that--to an extent. Its depiction of the game's pigtailed protagonist is a bit odd, to say the least. The illustration of the giant, bug-eyed fish that's attempting to eat Alice (the aforementioned heroine) is even worse. Still, I like the overall image, thanks in large part to its liberal and adept use of color. I'm also a big fan of the game's bold and subtly creative logo. (Bonus: the entirety of Balloon Kid's instruction manual can be seen here.)

BurgerTime Deluxe--This is one of the few instances where I prefer a GameBoy title's North American box art to its Japanese counterpart. (You can see the Japanese BurgerTime Deluxe's cover in this old post.) Not only that, but I think this particular example of packaging design may be my favorite of all the ones included in this post. I want to say the logo is the star here, but the illustrations of Peter Pepper (he's the guy in the funny-looking white hat) and BurgerTime Deluxe's angry, anthropomorphic ingredients are pretty stellar, too. I even like the purple backdrop that supports the whole she-bang.

Dig Dug--This selection will raise a few eyebrows, I'm sure. It's quite a bit darker than and nowhere near as cute as what most people would expect to see splashed across the cover of a GameBoy port of this Namco arcade classic. That's probably a big part of why I like it so much, to be honest. There's more to it than that, though. I also appreciate the skewed perspective that puts one of the game's iconic Pooka enemies front and center. Admittedly, the protagonist's mouth-tongue-whatever-it-is freaks me out a tad, but I'm willing to overlook it for the rest of what's on offer here.

Mole Mania--This piece of box art really looks like something the designers at Nintendo would cook up, doesn't it? It's stuffed to the gills with cute characters, it's positively doused with pastels and it's got an adorable logo plastered across its top half. Could the artists who created it have removed the main mole's unibrow? No doubt. Still, Mole Mania's cover is a keeper even with the little guy's questionable grooming habits on display. By the way, if you'd like to see how this game's North American packaging stacks up to its Japanese packaging, check out this post.

Wario Land--Full disclosure: I've barely played any of the first four Wario Land games. I can't even tell you why that's the case. I guess I've just always gotten my fill from Nintendo's Mario-centric platformers. Anyway, the Wario Land series' covers certainly aren't responsible for me ignoring its games. The one made for this first entry is a knockout, wouldn't you agree? Some may say it's busy, and I can't (completely) argue against that, but I personally think such a bombastic design works in this particular context.

So, what do you think of these examples of North American GameBoy box art? Do you like them, too--or do you hate them?

If it's the latter and if you can think of pieces of North American GameBoy box art you prefer, let me know about them in the comments section of this post.

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