When you decide to have children, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by a crack team of parenting experts all desperate to impart their knowledge. This wisdom mostly seems to focus on how little time you’ll have once they arrive. While true in most cases this doesn’t account for the long, stretching timeless chasm of a wintry Sunday afternoon where you desperately try to find some form of entertainment so that you don’t all end up murdering one another. I believe one such afternoon provided the inspiration for Japanese cult classic Battle Royale.
What nobody mentioned to me was that kids produce an incredible amount of crap. I’m not referring to actual, literal crap (although both my children do have a knack for generating stools that must account for over 80% of their bodyweight), but piles of stuff that you have to keep hold of until their back is turned long enough so that you can chuck it in the bin. Plastic magazine freebies that stop working the instant they’re removed from the front cover, fascinating pieces of hedge that simply must be preserved, enough plastic beads to create a scale model of every atom in the universe. And of course, a mass of drawings, doodles and craft projects whose carbon footprint pose a serious risk to the stability of the Kyoto Protocol.
These take an exceptionally delicate touch to dispose of. You obviously want to keep enough that you’ve got something to ‘ah’ over when they’re teenagers and they hate you, but keeping and cataloguing everything is a beaurcratic challenge that would require a full-time administrator; something I’m frankly not willing to fund. I’ll never forget the look on Samus’ face when she spied some of her work waiting for collection in one of the clear recycling sacks (thanks a bunch, council). “Why doesn’t Daddy love me anymore..?” her face seemed to say as her mother drove her away, a single solitary tear rolling gently down her cheek. That put a spring in my step that morning walk to work, I can tell you.
So what to do? Monetise it, obviously. Video game box art is almost universally terrible; mostly looking like the absent-minded scrawlings in the back page of a text book belonging to a child the teachers should really be keeping an eye on. And the standard twatty reaction to a piece of art you don’t like is to say ‘my five year could do that!’; so let’s put it to the test. I gave Samus a two sentence design brief to produce a cover for each of the games below. Due to ‘creative differences’ (he’s only 3) Blanka had to sit out of the process but he was handed the unenviable task of producing a snappy, punchy quote for the back of the box. Over to you, kids.
*Start Heartbeat gallery music*
Restnt Evel 4
“Hai you” shouts a thoroughly pissed off Leon who looks like he’s just about had it up to here with the torrent of increasingly eyed creatures he finds himself up against. Ashley; sporting the yellow top with red smiley face alternative costume we all fondly remember; calls “help saiv me” which I believe is a direct quote from the game.
Fighnl Fantse 7
Jesus, spoiler alert. Aeris lies dead at the feet of Sephiroth, whose trademark white flowing locks appear to have been replaced by spaniels ears. Cloud meanwhile wields a sword fractionally less huge than the one he has in the game whilst cheerfully exclaiming the letter ‘H’ for some reason.
Street Fighta 3 Thred Stright
Pumping indeed. EVO Moment 37, perhaps the most iconic fight in Street Fighter history, is immortalised in Samus’ alternative cover. Albeit now between two Ryus, one of whom is doing the Hyakuretsukyaku (lightning kick) in the opposite direction. Pah, details.
Grand Feft Ortoa Vighs Sity
Christopher Reid from Kid and Play (thanks Google) flips a gang sign at at a policeman happily collecting some wayward coins. What’s curious about this box is it’s the only one to feature eyebrows.
I think she might have been getting a bit bored by this point as the level of detail has dropped off somewhat. Still, you can make out the witch whose clothes and attacks are made from her hair and she does appear to be fighting an angel. An angel from Norfolk maybe, but an angel none-the-less.
Radiant Silvergun is notorious for the high prices it attracts on auction sites and famously once had the spine card sold for twenty -five billion pounds, but why waste your money when you can have the elegantly illustrated example above; neatly assigning sound effects to each individual bullet? Blanka’s comments suggested he’s less than impressed; although by this stage he’s critiqued so much box art he’s basically become the video game equivalent of Brian Sewell.
Although perhaps falling a touch short of capturing the intensity of the audio-visual assault that is the synesthetic masterpiece of Rez, this actually isn’t half bad for someone who last saw the game in action when they were nine months old. I think I might have joked about it possibly causing long term brain damage at the time.
Blanka’s pull quote might sound like it’s taken from the sad bit in a Meatloaf song, but Samus has perfectly recreated robo-antagonist GlaDos. I’m sure anyone who has played Valve’s classic has fond memories of her pilgrim hat and penis shoes.
Metl Gil Solid 3 The Snka Eta
Snake, looking smug as all fuck in his policeman’s helmet, is separated from a ladies intimate toy by an arm doing a green power salute. I think this is Hideo Kojima’s style in a nutshell.