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.
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.
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!
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.
Imagine if Forza of GT used a design like this? I'd buy it just for the cover...
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.
NES. What. The. Hell?
Some of them, while not so bad in layout, you can tell someone wasn't even trying...
Then the SNES and Mega Drive came out. It got even worse...
I'd rather play Night Driver by judging this cover...
What on EARTH is up with is left arm??? HOLY HELL!?!
RAAGGEE lots of cropped RAAGGGEEE.
Blasting everyone with colour! Fit everything in ALL the space!
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)?