Best of 2012! Top Ten: Video Game Box Arts

Who says games aren’t art? Not Bradly.

By Bradly Halestorm. Posted 01/06/2013 11:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

1. Dracula X (SNES, 1995, Japanese release)

DraculaXX artwork cropped

(Full size)

And so finally we arrive at the grand-daddy of them all; the number one spot. In spite of being arguably the most underappreciated Castlevania entry in the entire series, Dracula X, as it was known in North America, has the single most enticing box art of the entire 16-bit era for a horde of reasons. For starters, the mind-blowingly complex colors and overt dissonance shown between Dracula and the whip-wielding Richter is captivating in both its thematic message and visual layout. This notion is further delivered by the breathtaking use of shadows, which make for an extremely tense viewing experience by themselves. What’s most rousing about this piece, however, is, amidst the clash of madness and hue saturation, there seems to be an indescribable yet seemingly inescapable sense of anxiety that fills the entirety of the image. The antagonism shown in Dracula’s eyes hammers this point home, as it is simultaneously haunting and unhinging, so much that it’s difficult to look at the picture and not feel displaced from a feeling of stasis. To elicit such a response from its viewer would be grounds enough to mark it as an accomplishment, and yet Dracula XX’s cover is so much more than its psychological implications; it’s a true work of art that succeeds on an interpretive and intrinsically visual level. It’s because of this that I’ve named Dracula X as the best Nintendo box art of all time.

Well that wraps it up for this Top Ten. Be sure to check back soon for the antithesis of this article, when I outline the best of the worst in the world of video game artwork. It’s sure to be a real doozy. And if you disagree with our order (or even potential omissions?!) then please let us know in the comments below!

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