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?
Wipeout 2097 (1996) – 20 years on and the box art and all around design of Wipeout 2097 still feels like the future. As a series I don’t think I could overestimate just how important it was, both in terms of its approach to the game itself, and in the way it presented itself. It wasn’t a game, it was a product, and it was art. Last year I wrote about how Wipeout helped legitamise games as an artistic medium, and the very same applies to the superior sequel:
Wipeout took the first steps toward games as art, with everything that padded the simple act of interacting with the screen, feeling like it had come from the advertising campaign for only the hippest of brands…[And] it was the game’s heavy focus on graphic design both inside and out of the game that made Wipeout such a unique and game-changing proposition. From the design of trackside banners in the game, to the packaging and marketing material, the designers of the game had a very consistent message to send. And Psygnosis hadn’t just thrown together polished concept art to plonk of the cover, they had notable hired guns the Designers Republic developing the look and feel of the Wipeout brand. It was a campaign with a message, and that message was that the release of Wipeout was the beginning of the future. Wipeout may not have been the first game to employ graphic design in conjunction with its art, but it was certainly the first game to put it at the front and centre of its brand identity.
What more is there to say. Wipeout was and still is the coolest game brand around, and I’d posit that Playstation owes a hell of a lot of its brand cachet to that little studio in Liverpool, and its willingness to make gaming modern.
Miss previous entries in the countdown?
Space Ace (1983) – Transylvania (1984) – Impossible Mission (1985) – Defender of the Crown (1986) – Faery Tale Adventure (1987) – F/A – 18 Interceptor (1988) – Blood Money (1989) – King of the Zoo (1990) – Lemmings (1991) – Pinball Fantasies (1992) – The Ren & Stimpy Show: Veediots! (1993) – Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (1994) – Primal Rage (1995)