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  1. Post
    #1
    Doing some research into game manuals/covers throughout the decades. In doing so I've come to realise that there was a point in time when they just became SO VISUALLY TERRIBLE that I wonder who thought these were printable?

    There was a time, in the early 80s/late 70s when Atari ruled the roost. The designs of these images were simple, but you can tell that a lot of hard work went into these illustrations. Here are some examples of game covers and manuals from this era.

    http://www.vintagecomputing.com/wp-c...kout_large.jpg
    This is one of my favs. Look at it! Great use of the white space (designer wank wank), and that illustration is amazing (sure, it was probably taken from a pre-exisiting image of some guy in a space suit, but hey). It has NOTHING to do with the game, but who cares? It's visually impressive. The text is aligned correctly and adheres to a page grid.

    http://www.rarityguide.com/museum/im..._asteroids.JPG
    Very similar to the above. That illustration, while now very nostalgic, just screams 'Star Wars'. Which is fine! It makes me think of those great movie posters from that time which everyone loved!

    http://www.old-computers.com/museum/...nce-manual.jpg
    Even sports games don't miss out! That image is extraordinarily simple with only a handful of colours, but it works so SO well on the page.

    http://www.rarityguide.com/museum/im...structions.JPG
    Imagine if Forza of GT used a design like this? I'd buy it just for the cover...

    http://gameplayerspecial.com/MANUAIS...U).pdf-000.jpg
    Even the WORST one I could find (just quickly), still has an appeal to it.

    Then we get into the mid 80s, and things just went drastically downhill.

    http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Original-Nint...HF)8g~~_35.JPG
    NES. What. The. Hell?

    Some of them, while not so bad in layout, you can tell someone wasn't even trying...
    http://www.nathanwillis.com/private_...es_manuals.jpg

    Then the SNES and Mega Drive came out. It got even worse...

    http://content.answcdn.com/main/cont...06367fir15.jpg
    I'd rather play Night Driver by judging this cover...

    http://gameplayerspecial.com/MANUAIS...U).pdf-000.jpg
    What on EARTH is up with is left arm??? HOLY HELL!?!

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...500_AA300_.jpg
    RAAGGEE lots of cropped RAAGGGEEE.

    http://i860.photobucket.com/albums/a...2/IMG_2498.jpg
    Blasting everyone with colour! Fit everything in ALL the space!

    And lastly...
    http://img0015.popscreencdn.com/1269...s-williams.jpg
    I just don't even know...

    Unfortunately even to this day we're bombarded with terrible covers and manuals (in fact, we don't even get manuals anymore!). However, if memory serves, Square Enix make some impressive cover designs.

    What are some game covers/manuals that have taken your eye recently (good or bad)?

  2. Post
    #2
    I dont even look at covers these days......blame steam

  3. Post
    #3
    RE: Game manuals. We've lamented in the past how they're practically non-existent now.

    Movie posters/covers suffered the same thing. Once upon you used to get kick ass stuff like actual drawn art from the likes of Drew Struzan. Nowadays, we have mostly Photoshop collages.

    1980 theatrical poster
    http://iforce.co.nz/i/oby2smjx.rfw.jpg
    vs.
    2004 DVD cover
    http://iforce.co.nz/i/hxwyk2kk.vbj.jpg

  4. Post
    #4
    I hate this:

  5. Post
    #5
    The 80s had better everything, especially hair

  6. Post
    #6
    EvaUnit02 wrote:
    RE: Game manuals. We've lamented in the past how they're practically non-existent now.

    Movie posters/covers suffered the same thing. Once upon you used to get kick ass stuff like actual drawn art from the likes of Drew Struzan. Nowadays, we have mostly Photoshop collages.

    1980 theatrical poster
    http://iforce.co.nz/i/oby2smjx.rfw.jpg
    vs.
    2004 DVD cover
    http://iforce.co.nz/i/hxwyk2kk.vbj.jpg
    isn't sad enough

  7. Post
    #7
    Because people don't believe in graphic designers.

    I've designed album covers and DVD covers before and whilst the clients were great to deal with, they always had such a specific idea of what they wanted (and they have every right to, it's representing their art-form) which was also pretty damn boring.

  8. Post
    #8
    The things which frustrates me (when working for clients etc) is how they seem to think that graphic design is a personal form of art, which it isn't. There are rules, regulations and finite wrong/right ways to do things. Those older designs are very, very nice and were coming from a rich history of movements like Bauhaus and designers like Tschichold.

    Then 3D art came into play, and every second person believed they were a graphic designer because they could make a model, or some form of art. The style changed drastically during this time because of the wide spread use of computers in graphic design. It became a lot quicker, and therefore a lot cheaper. I'm assuming these companies then figured they could save some cash by getting these cheaper "designers" to do it, instead of the more expensive graphic designers.

    Nowadays things are slowly moving back, and graphic design is gaining more momentum. One of my personal favorites as of late (not a gaming cover though sorry) is this poster for Wreck-it Ralph. http://collider.com/wp-content/uploa...ph-poster1.jpg This was so refreshing to see amongst all of the other photo-montage/CGI posters at the movies. Loved it!

  9. Post
    #9
    I wouldn't say those designs represent Bauhaus considering the movement wasn't in effect when these covers were being created (the height of Bauhaus was circa 1930's and earlier.).

    Bauhaus was function over form which as a result ended up creating impeccable form. The style found in the OP's covers are just adhering to the style of the times. Airbrushing, illustrative, incredibly colorful and bold, uniform fonts.

  10. Post
    #10
    I'm not talking about the illustrations sorry, more the typography, the layout and the colours. The illustrations are impressive, but not what I found most impressing. Also, I'm not saying those movements were active during this time, but it seems to me (especially with the typeface choices of those first few) that Bauhaus was a major influence for these designers.

  11. Post
    #11
    Meh, there's plenty of good cover art these days, the problem is that it's all the same.

    I wouldn't say this was bad:



    But then it hardly stands out amongst all the other games either.

  12. Post
    #12


  13. Post
    #13
    Was that the box art for Diablo III? Looks nice.

    There is some really nice, recent box art for games.

    GTA, Vice City
    http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__...ty_Box_Art.jpg

    Unreal Tournament III
    http://bogdansandu.com/diverse/gamecovers/sbsuxe.jpg

    Left 4 Dead
    http://www.l4d.com/blog/images/posts/010/cover7.jpg

    And a sweet older one, seriously love this design. It's risky and brilliant.
    http://psdtutsarticles.s3.amazonaws....mecovers/8.jpg


  14. Post
    #15
    I find the Diablo 3 one really generic and uninteresting but I love the Sleeping Dogs artwork.

    I agree with friskeN, I can see a fair bit of influence from a Bauhaus in those 80's ones.

    Also full credit to Rockstar who have done amazing work with the Playstation era onwards for GTA and especially all the design work for Red Dead Redemption ie. Posters, covers, manuals and the gatefold double LP of the soundtrack they all have awesome design work/layout. I was so pissed when I went to order the LP and it was already sold out, I wish they would reprint it.

    (edit. friskeN posted GTA artwork while I was making my post)

    I also really like all the work created for Fallout 3 onwards and Skyrim, fantastic stuff! I don't know who did most of it though so can't give credit.

    I think if you look at most artwork created for Games/Movies/CD covers etc in the '90s a lot of it is pretty tacky.
    I mean c'mon who thought this was a good idea.


  15. Post
    #16
    LOL! I wanna play Therion so badly .............. Now to be serious, Skyrim is impressive, it's so crisp and refreshing. I wish they would bring out a leather case with that silver V emblem as a collectors item or something.

  16. Post
    #17
    I thought the Fallout 3 cover was really generic. Standard dark shadowy guy staring straight at you. e.g.
    http://cache.kotaku.com/assets/image...02a08b5642.jpg
    http://thosegamingnerds.com/wp-conte...-2-Box-Art.jpg
    http://gamefiles.alphacoders.com/box...humb-318-2.jpg

    Not to say I didn't like the art direction in FO3, just the cover wasn't anything special.

  17. Post
    #18
    I agree with exis on this one, the art direction within the game (all the instructional material) was brilliant. Not sure why they took such a typical approach with the box art. This is standard though, especially with movies. I'm assuming majority of the time they're outsourced to companies who really don't understand the game/movie and simply want it to sell, so they make it as cliche/mass-appealing as possible.

  18. Post
    #19
    The only real reference that could be linked to any Bauhaus style are the font choices, which were indicative of the 80's. Blacks were chosen because black was the cheapest ink to produce when doing mass printings and reds were, and still are a fast, racey colour to use in marketing.

    Bauhaus in print design is usually dominated by blacks with reds playing a supporting role whilst aligned on opposing grid patterns (that can at times come close to imitating De Stijl - made popular by Mondrian).

    Bauhaus in paintings are a different story and can occasionally take on a hint of Cubism.

  19. Post
    #20
    The game art for the first 3 games I ever owned when I was a kid.







    and who wouldn't want to play these!




  20. Post
    #21
    Moon Patrol **** yeah! Loved that game!

  21. Post
    #22
    Dunno if UT3: Black Edition was ever a retail thing but that looks cool (at least on steam).



    Driver San Fransisco was also pretty good:

  22. Post
    #23
    game manuals were great for reading in the ****ter

  23. Post
    #24




  24. Post
    #25
    What I love about the old game manuals is that they came up with all this crazy back story on why you were doing what you were doing in the game... because there was no way you could tell from the graphics or gameplay