Top Ten: Video Game Box Arts

Who says games aren’t art? Not Bradly.

By Bradly Halestorm. Posted 05/09/2012 14:30 8 Comments     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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8 Responses to “Top Ten: Video Game Box Arts”

  • 1244 points
    lukas85 says...

    Great, great article, what a tastefull selection. The japanesse box arts are always better. Just look at the metroid, and perfect dark box arts, just wow. I think the American Sin and Punishment box art is pretty damn cool too, and actually i think is on the same level of the japanese one. The first game hybryd ..something, has a good manga quality. The ffvi is just breathtaking , and the secret of mana just ..beautiful.

    I would include in this list a couple of favorites of mine.

    The japanese skyward sword box art
    Monster hunter 3 tri
    Mario galaxy 2
    And.. ( this is not a nindo one but what da hell)
    The japanesse ICO box art, inspired in De Chirico’s paintings.

    • 156 points
      Bradly Halestorm says...

      Thanks for the compliment, Luka! Had I included an “Honorable Mentions” category, Xenoblade surely would’ve been listed.

      As for ICO’s boxart, it’s one of my all-time favorites; only rivaled by Another World, which is also breathtakingly beautiful.

  • 7 points
    Katharine Byrne says...

    Nice article, Bradly! Loved all the different box art – definitely shows how great it can be compared to this kind of monstrosity! XD

  • 285 points
    Kyle England says...

    Cool selection! Secret of Mana has always had such captivating box art. But this list needs more Phalanx

  • 360 points
    M. Noah Ward says...

    Great choices! I was really surprised to see Hybrid Heaven on here… I actually own that game too! And I’m really happy Secret of Mana is on here because it really is one of the best of all-time. Now I need to go home and look at my games and see if there are any other honorable mentions I want to throw in…

  • 156 points
    Bradly Halestorm says...

    @Katharine Ugh, that IS a monstrosity.

    @Kyle Phalanx may or may not be featured in the Top 10 Worst Box Arts piece I plan on writing. ;]

    @Noah Finally, someone who knows Hybrid Heaven! Such an underrated RPG. That said, I’m interested in hearing which games you think should’ve made the list; be sure to write back and let me know!

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