~ Silvercube's family-friendly blog on random entertainment and life.

Gamer Banter: Don’t Cover The Art, Unless…

This month’s topic asks: How important is cover art to you?

If you were to walk into a game store and see many games sitting in disc cases without any cover art, would the display appeal to you? Many used games are packaged just like that, and I try and avoid buying games that don’t have the cover art in good condition.

Cover art is essential to help drawn in a consumer. Many people don’t keep tabs in the video game world, so  just walking into a store looking at the cover art and seeing something that catches their eye could be all that it takes to make a purchase.

When I was a child, I did not read video game magazines (and had no idea they existed) so I would walk into a video game store and whatever cover art grabbed my attention, I took off the shelf and read the game details to see if it was something I would enjoy.

Since I was only familiar with games that featured Mario, Donkey Kong, and Sonic, in order for the game to attract me, it had to be something captivating. My brother and I made quite a few purchases just based on it, such as Dead Heat Scramble.

If the cover art is very generic, I’d assume the game itself is quite generic. Generally these assumptions are correct, except for the older days when most cover art looked quite generic. Cover art is so important, because it can either attract or repel a consumer. For example, Borderlands:

Does this cover art look appealing to you?

Borderlands looked great in previews. Though once I saw the cover art, I was immediately disgusted with the game, seeing a disturbing person “shooting” himself in the head, with stuff coming out of it. Had the cover art been something different, than it would have made me focus on purchasing the game, rather then never playing it.

This cover art appeals to me much more.

However, I do plan on playing Borderlands by renting it through Gamefly. I avoid seeing the cover art that way. Which gives me an idea that not many games do frequently: have a reverse cover on both sides so the consumer can choose which cover art they’d like (some games have used this feature in the past).

Especially now in the digital age, cover art is extremely important for new games. Scrolling through an online marketplace, consumers will look to something that catches their eye. So it’s important to keep cover art in mind, always.

This post was part of Gamer Banter, a monthly video game discussion coordinated by Terry at Game Couch. If you’re interested in being part, please email him for details.

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12 responses

  1. While I can see how the Borderlands cover with the guy shooting himself can turn people off, the second version you show, for me, would have blended into the background and I would have never noticed the game since it is so generic.

    Personally, I don’t care about the art because I don’t judge the game on it, but if they want to grab my attention on the shelf they need to stand out.

    July 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

    • Interesting how art captures people’s attention – for me it would stand out, I don’t see light-colored cover art too often.

      July 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm

  2. Nice, to-the-point post! However, I’ll have to disagree a little with your Borderlands cover mock-up. The original looks disturbing because the world and people living in it ARE disturbing. However, it doesn’t focus on the plot of the story.
    Your mock-up does, in a way, with the focus being on the characters and whatever “destiny” they’re looking at in the picture (although, it IS missing the 4th character, the Soldier).
    To each his own, I guess, is the point of the whole thing. 8D

    July 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

  3. Good post — I have to agree with Mizzy, the original Borderlands cover does capture the feel of the game.

    You make an interesting point about some people not keep tabs on the video game world. Cover art would be important to them.

    Also, GameStop’s lack of cover art on used games drives me crazy. Employees have told me they don’t care about the art at all and I think they tossed some of the covers I traded in (I toss the keepcases).

    July 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    • Yeah, GamesStop’s “bargain bin” piles is like sifting through a garbage can of disk sleeves. Oh well. :(

      July 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm

  4. I enjoyed your post a great deal, but I must say that I too found the second Borderlands cover really bland, I thought the cover they went with here was shocking but at least they had the ambition so go with something a little different.

    Good point about the reversible covers though, I had completely forgotten about that.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm

  5. It is a little bland, but I kinda liked it :)

    July 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    • Yes, it’s somewhat bland but omg, a woman! I’d pick it up just for the rarity.

      Good example because Borderlands is one of those games I’d dismissed as being a boring FPS on the basis of the cover. Only recently I’ve been hearing that it has a pretty decent world and characters so I might take another look.

      July 23, 2010 at 7:40 am

  6. noa99

    Like ure opinion, it a viloent cover, but i do like the vibrant colors

    July 26, 2010 at 11:29 pm

  7. :)

    Hey noa99! :)

    July 27, 2010 at 7:50 pm

  8. hello, sorry about my spelling ;)

    August 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

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