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87 Comments

Let's Go Play Some Books!

But don't take my word for it!

I'm not sure what caused all this to become a proper "thing," but I would like to officially give the Double-Quadruple Thumbs-Ups Seal of Approval to the trend of fan-made art that reinterprets video games as though they were paperback books from the 1960s. As far as I can tell, it started with this fellow Olly Moss, who posted a set of images on Flickr entitled Videogame Classics that he adroitly sums up as “Video games vs Penguin Classics.” There's something about the marriage of abstract design and clever symbolism that just makes my toes tingle.

Then the Photoshop-savvy goons over at Something Awful got a hold of the concept and really ran with it. What their efforts lack in the focused design style of Mr. Moss, they more than make up for in sheer volume. There's so goddamn many of them that I'm not going to try and post them all here, so here's my favorites. You can go check out this thread to see the rest.
Perhaps even more delightfully, this hasn't remained limited to video games, and somewhere along the way the fellow who runs Spacesick decided to give some classic movies the same treatment. They're not video-game related, but I think I actually like these designs best, partially because of the incredibly convincing wear-and-tear that these imaginary books have gone through. I would be fully unsurprised to fish any of these out of a cardboard box with "25 CENTS" Sharpied on the side at a garage sale.
As much as I absolutely adore the whole retro styling of this stuff, it's a little bittersweet knowing that video-game packaging has to swing for the lowest common denominator, and no one would ever have the balls to actually package their games like this.
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Posted by Ryan

I'm not sure what caused all this to become a proper "thing," but I would like to officially give the Double-Quadruple Thumbs-Ups Seal of Approval to the trend of fan-made art that reinterprets video games as though they were paperback books from the 1960s. As far as I can tell, it started with this fellow Olly Moss, who posted a set of images on Flickr entitled Videogame Classics that he adroitly sums up as “Video games vs Penguin Classics.” There's something about the marriage of abstract design and clever symbolism that just makes my toes tingle.

Then the Photoshop-savvy goons over at Something Awful got a hold of the concept and really ran with it. What their efforts lack in the focused design style of Mr. Moss, they more than make up for in sheer volume. There's so goddamn many of them that I'm not going to try and post them all here, so here's my favorites. You can go check out this thread to see the rest.
Perhaps even more delightfully, this hasn't remained limited to video games, and somewhere along the way the fellow who runs Spacesick decided to give some classic movies the same treatment. They're not video-game related, but I think I actually like these designs best, partially because of the incredibly convincing wear-and-tear that these imaginary books have gone through. I would be fully unsurprised to fish any of these out of a cardboard box with "25 CENTS" Sharpied on the side at a garage sale.
As much as I absolutely adore the whole retro styling of this stuff, it's a little bittersweet knowing that video-game packaging has to swing for the lowest common denominator, and no one would ever have the balls to actually package their games like this.
Staff
Edited by Fr0Br0

A lot of those made me smile.

Most notably for movies, Shaun of the Dead and Highlander.

Posted by Coltonio7

That's...perfect.

Edited by Afroman269

That was enlightening.    (First)

Posted by dtran1212

wow, an article about game packaging...nice, slow news day Ryan?

Posted by BiggerBomb

I'm a big fan of the Devil May Cry and Guitar Hero depictions. Those are pretty clever and fit the theme really well.

Posted by KinjiroSSD

Neat

Posted by Scheds

I think the Vice City, Symphony of the Night, and R-Type ones are my favourites. Excellent packaging, and I agree with you, Ryan, that it's really too bad game packaging will probably never be even close to something like this. Bring on more explosions and CG!

Posted by DoctorTran

I really want to print some of those off and use them on my games.

Posted by Mattalorian

Absolutely fantastic. I get all excited when I see any time of clever graphic design, but this is way too awesome.

Posted by Bigbombomb

A lot of those are really cool!

Posted by taco484

something about this makes me happy.

Edited by NathHaw

I loved Transport Tycoon.  I'm glad to see someone else did too.  BTW, the Superman 64 cover is great.

Posted by BoG

Goldeneye and Mirror's Edge ones are my favorite. I am going to pray that this starts a trend in the industry, and all future boxart is this awesome.

Posted by makari

The Wonka one is genius.

Posted by Mercator

Beautiful...I was more tact and style was used for game art in general...but especially for cover art.

Posted by JackiJinx

Nice share! I saw the original ones a few days ago, but that's it. Good stuff...like Super Man 64 *snickers*

Posted by Seroth

Superman 64 box is genius.

Posted by rottendevice

Those are excellent.  They really look like paperbacks you'd see in the "Classics" section of a library.

The best one is the Superman 64 cover. Made me laugh.

Posted by CreamyGoodness

neato

Posted by oddjob

I heart graphic design

Posted by Bucketdeth

Pretty neat, It'd be cool to print em off and use them for covers of game cases.

Posted by mrsmiley

This is why I love GiantBomb. Awesome posts like this that I never would have seen otherwise. Thanks.

Posted by AllanIceman

These are great!

Posted by PowerSerj

I'm loving the Tetris and Gran Turismo representations.

Posted by brukaoru

Awesome stuff.

Posted by CarolynP

I've been ogling these all day. So much brilliance. My favorite little detail is the line on the Ghostbusters cover: "Now a major motion picture starring Ernie Hudson." Hell yeah! Winston Zeddemore for life!

Posted by ZmillA

Love those, the max payne one is gold

Edited by strangeling

Genius.

- - - - - - - -
I have to say, the movie ones seem much better than the video game ones.  Probably depends on the artist doing them.
Posted by Systech

I really respect this style of art and wish it was appreciated enough to make collector's edition boxarts from them.

Edited by Arkthemaniac

That is really, really cool.

Kudos to these guys.

ZmillA said:
"Love those, the max payne one is gold"
I think the No More Heroes one is by far the best.
Posted by Retro

holy shit, these are amazing! Ryan, thanks for pointing these out! I gotta go find more! :)

Posted by Draugrim

Pro.

Posted by Abomstar

Fairly great idea out of nowhere. I appreciate the authentic color and font choices; I've always been intrigued by the rise and fall in the popularities of certain fonts over the years. This is just a great aesthetic that looks so dated, yet never really parodied in any way.

Posted by LordAndrew
caro said:
"I've been ogling these all day. So much brilliance. My favorite little detail is the line on the Ghostbusters cover: "Now a major motion picture starring Ernie Hudson." Hell yeah! Winston Zeddemore for life!"
Indeed. I got a laugh out of the Ghostbusters one.

The Superman 64 cover is also brilliant.
Posted by ZombiePie

Some of those covers are really smart and well designed.

Moderator Online
Posted by Tarakun

They should use these on the actual boxes. These are pretty legit.

Posted by Black_Rose

That's pretty awesome, my favorites are Goldeneye, Metal Gear Solid, No More Heroes and Space Jam.

Posted by JohnDudebro

I love that the Ghostbusters book says "Starring Ernie Hudson." The thought that someone, somewhere would give Ernie Hudson top billing makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Posted by TomA

thats kool

Posted by ddensel

Love the Superman 64 Criterion Edition and  Doom Penguin Classic!

Posted by Discorsi

Reading rainbow reference?  Lavar Burton is my homeboy wooo!

Posted by Brackynews

ADROIT!

Posted by FCKSNAP

WHY HASN'T ANYONE MADE PRINTABLE VERSIONS WITH THE BACK OF THE BOOK/CASE AND EVERYTHING?? Alright, someone get on it. I'd totally love to replace my ICO cover with something tasteful for once.

Posted by DXSSI

I must be the first, but I don't get it.  Do you all have treasured collections of 1960s paperbacks or something?  I don't even know what's being parodied here.

Posted by Irishjohn

This is really fantastic.

Posted by ArclightBorealis
Posted by clovy

The Metal Gear Solid, Left 4 Dead, Hitman, and Shaun of the dead ones are my favorites.

Posted by kboy

I got a look at Olly Moss' website. Amazing art to be seen there. This stuff is only the beginning.

Posted by Mjolnir

If anything like this were released, I would buy all of them.  I love classics series of books.

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