The Worst Video Game Covers Ever Made

Back in the days before YouTube, there were
only a couple of ways to know what any video game was actually about. You could borrow it from a kid at school,
read about it in a magazine, or you had to go against all conventional knowledge and
judge the game by its cover. Some video games have covers that are exciting
works of art to entice you into the action, while others were just confusing. And some games have covers so bad that it’s
a miracle they sold any copies at all. Here are a few of the worst video game covers
of all time. Mega Man When it comes to terrible box art, the original
Mega Man is the champion. Even though Capcom pretty much revolutionized
the run-and-gun genre with the series, the first game’s U.S. version has one of the ugliest
packages of all time: a splay-legged, oddly proportioned hero stands in a tropical wonderland,
twisted gun at the ready, prepared for anything. Nothing on the cover represents anything that
happens in the game, and it gives off a distinct “8th grade art project” vibe. This Mega Man is so bad that he’s actually
become a running joke. “Fat” or “Bad Box Art” Mega Man’s most notable
appearance is in Street Fighter x Tekken, where he’s depicted as an overweight, middle-aged
man with a crooked helmet. “I don’t understand!” He almost made an appearance in Mega Man Universe,
too, before the game was canceled. Either way, lopsided Mega Man is regarded
as one of the worst mistakes in game art history, and rightfully so. Batman: Arkham City: Game of the Year Edition Sure, Batman: Arkham City is a great game…
and the folks at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment really want you
to know that. After they plastered review scores and quotes
all over Arkham City’s “Game of the Year” edition, there wasn’t much room left for important
details — like the game’s title. “I’m Batman.” On one hand, Batman’s mug is all you really
need to see to make an informed purchase. On the other, it’d be nice to know what actually
comes with this version of the game, especially if you bought the bare-bones Arkham City game
earlier. Given just how much text is on Arkham City’s
cover, it’s a little hard to figure out. Palamedes With apologies to publisher Taito, almost
everything about Palamedes is hot trash. You’re not getting a great start when your
game is about playing dice, but depicting a series of sentient dice curbstomping a player
in front of a creepy, baby-blue background is no way to entice anyone into your sad,
sad game. Sure, Taito gets bonus points for trying to
make a dice game look like it’s exciting and not being afraid to get a little weird, but
it quickly loses every point earned by putting the game’s instructions on the cart itself. You know, the cart that’s immediately trapped
in the unviewable, hot darkness of the NES once you plug it in. It may be a slightly interesting puzzle game,
but everything about it is ugly. Karnaaj Rally Nobody knows why Jaleco Entertainment decided
to take a picture of a bargain basement Zoolander impersonator and put him in front of a blurry
pink hot rod for the cover of Karnaaj Rally. Nobody’s quite sure what “Karnaaj” means,
either, though it’s probably just an edgy take on “carnage.” Either way, Karnaaj Rally’s box art isn’t
just terrible — it actually hurt the game’s review scores. IGN, which really liked the game, leads its
Karnaaj Rally review by warning players to “look past [the] game’s box art and name”
and enjoy the chaotic, violent racing title inside. With box art like Karnaaj’s, that’s a lot
to ask. Mr. Gimmick Once again, the US gets shafted when it comes
to a great video game. When it came to the limited processing power
of the Famicom, the Japanese version of Mr. Gimmick broke through barriers in both programming
and music. Basically, it’s a Super NES game crammed into
a Nintendo cart. Not only did the release of Mr. Gimmick outside
Japan never hit the states, but it was also incompatible with American NES systems due
to the fact that it was only formally released in PAL format. The game’s elaborate soundtrack was simplified,
which is a unique crime against gaming, but worst of all, the game’s adorable protagonist,
Yumetaro, was absolutely destroyed for the non-Japanese release. Instead of being depicted as a lovable, horned
ball, the Nintendo Yumetaro is a screaming, dead-eyed, distorted ball of terror escaping
a formless vortex. As far as video game heroes go, this Mr. Gimmick
seems more prepared for the sweet release of the grave than an adventure. Eliminator Boat Duel You’re a super cool boat owner who’s just
tripped on the world’s most intense acid. Your goal is to make your way through an aquatic,
psychedelic dreamscape without killing yourself or your glamorous, bikini’d passenger. Oh, and there’s an occasional lake shark. At least that’s what the technicolor disaster
that is the cover of Eliminator Boat Duel wants you to think, with its weird mix of
photography, illustration, and bizarre rainbow filters. Instead, you’re just a jerk on a boat, trying
to drive your boat faster than other boat jerks, and in the end, you get the pretty,
blonde girl as your trophy. It’s standard racing fare, but the game’s
nightmarish cover is a visual abomination by any account. Dynamite Duke He’s a blond super-soldier with a mechanical
arm. Badass, right? Except Dynamite Duke’s US SEGA box art stars
someone’s weird uncle in the laziest “army” cosplay you’ll ever see. You know Duke Rippem is in the military because
he wears a camouflage jacket. You know he’s in special ops because he wears
a beret and eye black. And you know he means business because he
holds a gun and looks very, very sad. Maybe he’s just disappointed that Dynamite
Duke isn’t a very good game. Maybe he’s unhappy because, according to Dynamite
Duke’s manual, the hole in the ozone layer has gotten so big that UV rays are frying
U.S. citizens left and right. Or maybe it’s because there’s a much cooler
cover out there. At least the game isn’t as somber as its cover. It’s full of action. You know that because it says so right in
the corner. Thanks, Sega! Dangerous Streets A word of warning to the pubescent boys who
seem to be Dangerous Streets’ target audience: bodies don’t work that way. Sorry, kids. Dangerous Streets and Rob Liefeld are lying
to you. On the other hand, the game’s cover art isn’t
too far off from the deranged display of human anatomy showcased in the gameplay itself. If you do get your jollies through impossible
mid-’90s comic book bodies, Dangerous Streets is the game for you, featuring female fighters
decked out in clothes that only kind of cover them. Questionable racial stereotypes show up, too,
so while Dangerous Streets is bad in a whole lot of ways, at least the terrible cover accurately
portrays the game inside. That’s not much, but it’s something. Every game by Phoenix Games For bad box art connoisseurs, Phoenix Games’
library is the ultimate treasure trove of gloriously terrible covers, and apparently,
the games themselves aren’t much better. London Cab Challenge is just Crazy Taxi without
a solid soundtrack… or any other redeeming features. In White Van Racer, you drive a white van
in some races. Why a white van? You’ll never know. And then there are also Phoenix’s titles which
shamelessly rip off classic Disney films, like the classic Snow White and the 7 Clever
Boys, which is like Disney’s hand-drawn masterpiece, but as seen through the eyes of someone who’s
never made a 3D model before. Phoenix Games filed for bankruptcy in 2009,
robbing the world of future masterpieces. Alas. At least we’ll always have Adventures of Pinocchio,
Paccie, and Dalmatians 2, 3, AND the especially horrifying Dalmatians 4 to remember them by. Ninja Golf If you know anything at all about golf, you
might notice a few things wrong with Ninja Golf’s cover. For one, it’s not a game you play at night. For another, both katanas and nunchucks fall
outside of the United States Golf Association’s rules about what you can and can’t use as
a golf club. But golf is also pretty boring. Usually. At least with ninjas, there’ll be some action. Believe it or not, Ninja Golf’s box art is
only half as weird as the game it represents. In this Atari game, players hit their ball
toward the hole. You know, like in normal golf. Then, while they’re traveling to the ball
to set up their next shot, they have to fight off the enemies along the way. If the ball is stuck in a sand trap, the player
will battle snakes. If the ball is underwater, they’ll encounter
sharks. Say what you will about Ninja Golf, it’s almost
definitely better than actual golf. Maybe this isn’t even a bad video game cover. Maybe it’s the best video game cover of all
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