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xDragonWarrior

Why do homebrewers make their game's boxarts modern looking?

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**DISCLAIMER**I am not hating on the people who make homebrew games.In fact I love homebrew games and would buy them all if I had the money,it's just that I hate one thing with MOST of the games:

 

I dislike when homebrews do this.You go out of your way to make a game for a retro console yet the boxart is modern looking.If you're gonna make the game retro make the boxart retro looking aswell,not modern looking.

 

This is an example of a homebrew boxart that also LOOKS retro and IMO how all homebrew boxarts should look:sir-ababol-nes.jpg

 

 

Not this:

 

banner.png

AGAIN,I am not hating on the homebrewers as I cannot do anything close to making a retro game or any game for that matter.I wish that all the homebrewers from the Odyssey to the Dreamcast to keep making GREAT games.If I offended you sorry,I am just voicing my opinion

 

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Art is an expression of someone's view of the world. And there are plenty possibilities.

 

Even when you say 'retro game' you're expressing some point of view which may be only your point of view.

 

An Atari 2600 programmer may probably do his work not because it's retro. Maybe he even doesn't see himself or his product as a retro thing.

He may be only doing what he likes in his fav platform gaming.

It's even possible he still programs for an old console because he believes the console still lives in our modern time and it should goes on and reflect other gaming periods.

 

"Retro" consoles were very advanced at their time and in order to keep the same feeling of an advanced technology the art should/could match it.

 

Personally, I believe a good console offers many different gaming experiences. The art in the box/label only delivers those experiences in different styles.

When I think about homebrews, I like to think how they keep the console fully living.

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Personally, I don't mind much.

What bothers me is when someone make a box that doesn't fit with the general theme of the system, when this system had very standardized boxes, like the Videopac or the Intellivision.

 

On the art side... your examples doesn't even fit. And it's a point of view.

Except for the overuse of digital shading, this boxart example would fit on the Videopac or Interton VC4000 boxes style :

 

DSCF6666.jpg

 

Invaders_-_1978_-_Interton.jpg

 

It's also reminiscent of PC games of the early 90's, too :

 

 

Leisure_Suit_Larry_2.png

 

dott_boxcover.jpg

 

But I cna get your point as it doesn't feel like an official Atari 2600 cover art.

Edited by CatPix
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Personally, I like both retro and modern styles, but your example doesn't work for me because that NES art doesn't tell me anything about the game besides that it is an NES game. is that a person smashing a block? I can't tell?

Interest lost!

 

Sometimes copying retro styles can be a bad thing because it tells me that whoever created it might not have had an original concept to begin with. I'm not saying it isn't. but that's my first thought.

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Lots of covers doesn't show much of the game, or nothing at all, weither it's a Westernization of a Japanese game, or it's just a nice artwork.

 

The fine example would be that Videopac 40 game... it's hard to guess it's a Connect Four game, with that metallic cat face being right in the middle of it.

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Not this:

 

banner.png

 

 

That doesn't look remotely modern. To look modern it would have to be a military or quasi-military male holding a gun with the title superimposed upon his figure. Type "modern video game box art" into google image search and you'll immediately see what I mean.

 

And you don't think Duck Attack looks retro? To me it brings to mind the look of the instruction books of the color label 2600 era, like Yar's Revenge http://atariage.com/manual_page.html?SystemID=2600&SoftwareLabelID=603&maxPages=12&currentPage=0 . As CatPix points out, there were lots of different looks for boxes back in the day. Just because something doesn't ape the style of very early NES box art (a look which didn't last long, BTW) doesn't mean it doesn't look retro.

Edited by Gabriel
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Lots of covers doesn't show much of the game, or nothing at all, weither it's a Westernization of a Japanese game, or it's just a nice artwork.

 

The fine example would be that Videopac 40 game... it's hard to guess it's a Connect Four game, with that metallic cat face being right in the middle of it.

while true that i didn't think it was a connect four game at first, I did get it once I realized the vertical streaks were actually tubes, plus the screenshot kind of helps.with the Sir Ababol cover above, I still can't make out what I'm looking at. it's too pixelated. a google search showed me the game looks like a chibi castlevania-esque platformer, I would have never guessed it by the cover. looks more like a frozen lemming pooping ice shards.

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Sometimes copying retro styles can be a bad thing because it tells me that whoever created it might not have had an original concept to begin with. I'm not saying it isn't. but that's my first thought.

Guilty as charged! I had zero ideas for a label and instructions.

The full screen color of the game made me think of a certain company, so I went with it, adding humor in a lot of places.

It is definitely unoriginal, but in a tribute way with tongue-in-cheek humor.

med_gallery_29575_1098_422880.jpg

It is not as bad as that first NES example, you can see what you are playing.

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Guilty as charged! I had zero ideas for a label and instructions.

The full screen color of the game made me think of a certain company, so I went with it, adding humor in a lot of places.

It is definitely unoriginal, but in a tribute way with tongue-in-cheek humor.

med_gallery_29575_1098_422880.jpg

It is not as bad as that first NES example, you can see what you are playing.

Now THAT is nice.It has that classic 2600 look and you can SEE what you are playing

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I find this is more of a problem with hacks and reproductions. Most homebrew titles use original artwork, which is good. But what really pisses me off is seeing X Mario hack on NES using artwork from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, or any hack/repro using artwork from a completely different time period. It completely clashes with the NES cartridge and looks so lifeless. Why is it so hard for people to do google searches for NES era Mario art?

Edited by Sir Guntz
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Because Chinese pirates doesn't want to sell their carts are Super Mario Bros 3 but as New Super Mario Bros.

Yeah, it's as stupid as that.

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Most of those Atari 2600 games didn't have screenshots on their labels. They were trying to give you something to imagine as you played and they didn't want you to see the game for the super-simple graphics that it actually had. To me, a screenshot isn't very authentic.

 

The problem is that the authentic 2600 cover art style is difficult to replicate because it was done by pros. They had an authentic 70s sci-fi movie poster art style that has a lot of detail and a distinct painted look. It's a bit unrealistic to expect homebrews to meet that level of quality. Paying an artist to make a decent facsimile would cost more than the homebrewer could ever hope to make selling their game.

Edited by Cybearg
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Now THAT is nice.It has that classic 2600 look and you can SEE what you are playing

 

But to be classic 2600 it shouldn't show the actual gameplay on the cart,

but instead show a very expressionist painting of a remotely similar concept :)

 

I for one love the classic looking ones with really nicely detailed paintings on the cart label, but getting that look can be a bit tricky and time consuming with digital means.

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I think it's because we're all old, clean and boring now. If it was the 80's and we all designed box art for a living, we'd be snorting cocaine off of dead hookers and every box we produced would mysteriously feature people crying rainbows.

post-17659-0-60141700-1399956156_thumb.jpg

post-17659-0-53579000-1399956847_thumb.jpg

Edited by Reaperman
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My opinion is that for publishers active on multiple formats, they may choose a graphical design that applies to all their releases, with just a small difference depending on format.

 

Generally, I think a homebrew with a box that adheres to any old design has a lot to live up to, suggesting it is a title suitable to have been part of the original library 30+ years ago. Also if you just limit yourself to the Atari 2600 for a second, there is quite some difference in the design between games from Atari, Activision, Epyx, Imagic and Parker Brothers just to name a few. Would all of those be "acceptable" for homebrews, or should the style to imitate generally only be Atari's own? In the case of NES, I believe all official games were published by Nintendo so in that respect there are no 3rd party publishers to consider.

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For NES, you can still see differences in the artwork.

True, all NES games boxes and carts were Nintendo and should obey to some main characteristics, but the art itself was free.

You can notice Capcom games having a different feeling, lettign you know it's Capcom before you even read the title :

111710_historypackaging_obs11--article_i

ducktales.jpg

Mickey_Mousecapade_NES_NA_box_art.jpg

Mega_Man_2_-_1989_-_Capcom_Co.,_Ltd..jpg

 

This applies to other titles and 3rd party programmers of course.

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3rd party publishers existed on the NES. They paid licensing fees to publish their software but had freedom to design their own artstyle as long as it passed Nintendo's guidelines, whatever that was. Lotta turds for the NES, so it wasn't that strict.

 

Unlicrnsed publishers were different. Most came in oddly shaped black, gold, and in some cases blue. Licrnsed were always gray, except for Zelda. Tengen had a distinct styling with their right angle punstripe boarders and their own "Tengen Seal." Camerica, Tengen, AVE, Color Dreams all had distinctive cart designs. For the most part, I can look at a cart and tell who made it.

 

You can even tell a RetroUSB homebrew or repro by their colored translucent cart shells.

 

Like NES, Atari homebrewers are free to create their own styles of box and label art. And if the programmer can't come up with good art, Albert holds a label making contest. Retro looking or not, it's still the blips and bleeps and rectangular pixelated nostalgia you'd expect from Atari VCS hardware.

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xDragonWarrior, you got it all wrong. Back in the day, game graphics were so crude and primitive that the marketing department relied on big bombastic and fanciful artwork to sell the game. To some extent, the opening blurb of the manual where the story is introduced, served the same purpose: to immerse you into a story that seemed larger and more exciting than the blocky pixels on the screen.

 

Retro game artwork, therefore, evokes this old form: it exaggerates the action and game elements in an exciting, colourful, and very detailed way.

 

Most of them have a specific artistic style, based on the aesthetics of the period. For instance, lots of watercolour or airbrush; and when people were depicted, it's easy to notice 1970s fashion in clothes, colours, and hairstyles.

 

dZ.

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Most "screenshot" on those old boxes where drawings, since capturing screenshots was difficult. You had to take a picture of the tv screen. Thats why a lot where drawn. And very often the drawn screenshot was nowhere to be seen inside the game.

i think you should see homebrewers as independed companies. That should be able to create there own distictive style for each platfrom they produce games for.

i know it's difficult to produce artwork that pleases everybody. I made a few coverarts for the videopac. And they got totally flamed. Sure i'm not a profesional artist. And they aren't great looking compared to those of more talented artist, but they where made with love for the game with my kind of skills.

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It's especially hard for the Videopac since, except for the maths cart which had a crude kid-like drawing, everything was in this superrealist style so seventies. Recreating this is as equally hard as recreating the Atari game art.

 

Some example for our American friend who had the Odyssey² style, which was as awesome but totally different :

 

Munchkin_Coverart.png

 

videopac42.jpg

 

Videopac_43.JPG

US version :

Odyssey%202%20pick%20axe%20pete%20box.jp

 

and the best one IMO :

14.jpg

 

Couldn't that be an alternative art cover for Red Dead Redemption?

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The style of the box (gray bands) and typeface for the title looks modern. The art... Well it's not modern nor retro, but not what you'd expect to see on Colecovision. Or at least, what I would expect ;)

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