This action-packed cover did a fine good job of capturing the spirit of the popular shooter Yars' Revenge. It looks like you're being attacked by a metallic insect spewing ping-pong balls from its mouth while firing a blaster. Take it from me - you do
Video Game Art: Atari In Space
by The Video Game Critic
Having grown up in the "Atari generation" of the early 80's, I fondly recall a time when game boxes (and their manuals) featured fantastic artwork that far surpassed anything you could possibly expect to see in the actual game. Atari was in the forefront when it came to creating these dramatic embellishments. The pictures may have been somewhat misleading, but they sure did get you psyched up about playing! In this section I critique the box covers from a few of Atari's space-themed games.
Art Grade: A
This excellent cover has a great look which is only enhanced by the bright blue box. I love how Atari always managed to read things into games far beyond their basic premise. This picture is from the perspective of the people on the planet as they watch the chaos unfold above. On the actual game screen these people look like flickering pixels, but as you can see here, some are actually hot babes! The child represents one of the hidden victims of the ongoing intergalactic conflicts common in the early 80's. Won't somebody please think of the children?!
Even the looming building serves a purpose, as it helps to justify the rectangular structures in the game (which replaced the angular mountains of the arcade version). This box cover is pretty ingenious and probably sold of a lot of cartridges on its own merits. It certainly makes me
want to play.
Yars' Revenge (1982)
Art Grade: B+
Read full Berzerk review
Space Invaders (1980)
Art Grade: C-
This isn't the worst box cover in the world, but you have to wonder if the artist ever actually played
Space Invaders. The picture apparently depicts several of the mother ships that periodically wobble across the top of the game screen. One is apparently shooting gamma rays at the planet below, even though it never attacked in the game itself. If you look closely at its dome you can see a whole city in there! I suspect it's holding thousands of illegal aliens hoping to infiltrate the USA. Yeah, like we'd ever let something like that
happen! This cover is a little weak and fails to leave much of an impression. On a final note, an astute reader (ZetaX) correctly pointed out that this image looks suspiciously similar to the cover of the second Boston album (circa 1978). You be the judge.