Another year, another countdown, another birthday. And I’m boxing it all up, tying a nice little bow around it, and turning the ripe old age of 32 with a celebration of 32 BRILLIANT examples of FANTASTIC video game box art. Join me, won’t you?
Transylvania (1984) – Text-based graphic adventure Transylvania for the Apple IIE is quite possibly the first video game I became absolutely obsessed with finishing. In the 1980’s, your stock-standard Australian school computer room was filled to the brim with Apple IIEs, and ‘computing’ lessons really just constituted piss farting around with whatever pieces of educational software the school had seen fit to purchase. While most of the kids ran for any 5.25″ floppy disk with the name “Carmen Sandiego” in it, being the refined young gentleman I was, it was the classical painterly box art of Transylvania that drew me in. From the bloody font to the cast iron fence surrounding the graveyard, there was just enough in the way of macabre imagery without being shit your pants scary, that appealed to my rough ‘n tumble young lad sensibilities.
Week after week I’d plonk my arse down on that the chair (the one you don’t realise is actually really small) in front hoping to avoid death at the hands of that bloody werewolf or his ol’ mate vampire and find my way out of the virtual maze that is Transylvania. Week after week I’d fail miserably, convinced that there was in fact no way to finish the game and rather it was the teachers’ idea of a practical joke, imagining them standing around in a circle engaging in furious laughter at the expense of the students in the teachers’ lounge every lunchtime.
After years of being STUMPED I did eventually get there, and the moment I boarded that sailboat to safety still stands out as a precious video game moment.