They say not to judge a book by it's cover but when you are a kid in Toys "R" Us and you have two parents telling you to choose a game that instant or you don't get one at all you pretty much have no other choice. Before I followed the industry through websites and magazines I pretty much bought most of my games by box art. So I was wondering what have been some games you've bought because of the cover that ended up being great? Mine would have to be Super Metroid. As a little kid it looked badass and luckily turned out to be a pretty kick ass game.
I bought Battlefield Bad Company because of a magazine ad. Smell of Destruction, I believe it was called. It looked like a parfume add with such a rubby-smelly-square, and it stunk like hell. Best purchase decision I ever made upon arbitrary sensory input.
Not quite what you're asking, but close enough.
I've never bought a game just because of the cover, but I'm pretty sure my mom played and beat an NES game just because of it. She never cared about our family's Nintendo. Then one day my brother and I picked Wizards and Warriors II: Ironsword out of a clearance bin for $10. I remember this game being hard as balls. It's the one NES game our family owned that I never beat. But suddenly my mom started playing it. A LOT. I wonder why?
Somehow Fabio was hired to be the cover model for this particular game. I guess his flowing locks inspired her to get really good at the game, to get a little closer to precious Fabio. Our family did eventually get Wizards and Warriors III, but my mom couldn't be bothered with that one. The sequel's cover lacked this handsome brute, so what was the point? I had to finish W&W III myself.
@bluefish: It's kind of a bummer that they've moved away from the "Warcraft: Orcs vs. Humans" and "Starcraft: Terrans vs. Zerg vs. Protoss" mentality of how to represent those games. I missed when RTS games were actually about you playing as a faction, and not just this one dumb character.
And now they assume everyone just wants to suck Raynor and Kerrigan's dick and look at them all day long. Pro tip, Blizzard: your writers kinda suck, and I haven't liked the writing in any of your games since basically Diablo 2. So stop slapping all of your stupid characters on the box art.
For my own entry, I ended up buying R-Type DX for the Game Boy Color based entirely on the box art. It turns out that the game is pretty much just a port of R-Type 1 and 2. It turns out those games are quite good! Though I've never been a shmup enthusiast, so I'm no expert.
On the opposite point to this thread, I remember going out to buy Dragon Quest VIII and as soon as I saw the box art I immediately decided I didn't want it anymore. xD
I remember buying Heart of Darkness for the PSX purely on impulse because of the name and the box art.. I still own it. Actually the only PSX game I still have. Good game, but I didn't get very far.
I never have, to be honest. The closest I ever came was buying Dragon Warrior 3 for the Gameboy Colour in a Gamestop after wishing I had a Gameboy Advance+Golden Sun so bad that I just wanted something similar. I went in looking for a fantasy RPG and came out with that DW.
Did anybody ever do that Game Jam, where the idea is that you pick a piece of NES/Master System/Game Boy cover art, and make the game you think is depicted in that cover art, instead of what the game actually is?
Somebody (Patrick?) suggested that, and it's such a great game jam idea.
In the SNES days I bought Yoshi's Safari based on the box art, then returned it when I discovered it needed the Super Scope and picked up Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt. It was an okay game, but looking back I missed too many good games in that era because I didn't know better.
But, I did seek out Grim Fandango based on this image, or something like it. I must have seen in some Lucasarts marketing material. I knew nothing about the game, but was amazed at the cast of characters and knew I had to play it. I wasn't disappointed.
There were a few games I rented based on box art, but games were too expensive to just buy for my family and I when I was younger. However, there was one game I bought based on box art alone because a store had a bunch of games on sale at the time that were within my price range when I was about ten or eleven. Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth.
I don't normally just buy a game because of box art, but in the instances that I do, the game usually doesn't live up to the art, I'm looking at you Snoopy's Silly Sports Spectacular...
But, once in a while, you strike gold. This is my best example of box art totally selling the game and the game totally backing up that awesome art...
I could add Bedlam as well, not a fantastic game, but a pretty good Crusader: No Remorse clone - which isn't exactly a game that got a lot of clones. The cover art doesn't exactly tell you a lot about the game, but it's got that great mid 90's look that's really hard to resist. Could probably just as well have been the cover for an Fluke or Prodigy album.
I remember there being a SNES Godzilla game that I picked up solely because of the 'Godzilla' in the title. I don't remember the name, and while I could look it up easily enough I don't feel like it, though I remember playing the SHIT out of that game. It was kind of a weird game where you had a map on the bottom screen, and Godzilla was on top, and you had to go find the main bad guy of the level and then fight them with all these meters and shit on the bottom. The first level you fought King Gidorah, the second level was Mecha-Godzilla, and the third level was that plant monster Biolante or something like that. The first two levels weren't too bad, but the game had a HUGE difficulty spike in the third level that I always lost at, until I just sat down one day and powered my way through it. I actually managed to beat the whole game, and now I remember the name of it, because at the end you became SUPER GODZILLA, and you fought Space Godzilla I think? I don't remember. I just remember being very proud that I beat it.
Yeah, Super Godzilla was actually a good game to me anyway. I don't think it got a very good rating among critics though, but I don't know.
Edit: I also remember my brother and I picked up Dynasty Warriors 3 randomly one day when our parents made us return Grand Theft Auto 3 (because they didn't like us running over innocent people I guess, haha). We absolutely loved it!
Edit2: AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAH!!!! MAN THIS IS A TRIP DOWN NOSTALGIA LANE! I REMEMBER LOVING THIS TUNE:
@original_hank: I can't tell you how many times I almost bought RAD, but backed away for some silly reason. This is an interesting game that deserves another shot. Then again, if RAD did come out in today's day and age, it'd probably be unrecognizable outside of the controls/combat system.