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Weirdness: The Mystery of the Mega Man 2 Box Art Pistol is Explained

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Capcom's Art Director blew it

Retro game covers can be fascinating, on occasion because of just how awful they can look. Often there's a charm on display that you just don't see in many modern-day, high budget cover designs that have clearly been produced by a rather expensive branding agency; back then, video games were also predominantly targeting children, which also influenced box art design.

One of the most baffling and — depending on your outlook — humourous NES box art designs is that for Mega Man 2, which has one very obvious issue. No, it's not the fact that Mega Man looks like a middle-aged man and is firing with his eyes closed, but that he's shooting with a pistol. For big fans of the Blue Bomber, that's likely to be one inaccuracy too far, possibly because it makes the hero look a lot less cool.

Marc Ericksen was the illustrator that produced the box art, and has stumbled upon an interview that he gave to Nintendo Age last year in which he explains how he was shown a beta of the game and wondered what the character (Mega Man) was firing; Capcom's Art Director in the US was on hand to say that it must be a pistol, as he couldn't see a rifle.

With a short deadline making life harder the pistol was included, and remains an oddity to this day. Check out the video below and jump to around three minutes in for the relevant section. Oh Mega Man, you've been wronged so much in your 21 years...


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User Comments (25)



WarioPower said:

I've always thought that that version of Megaman looked cool and unique. Apparently I'm in the minority. Also, you just can't beat old box art, box art today just can't compare!



megamanrulz14 said:

Maybe he thought the original box art for the game was too japanese so he thought of doing the middle-aged Mega Man 2 box art.



HeatBombastic said:

@megamanrulz14 He didn't know anything about Megaman, and the art director certainly didn't know what the original concept art and box art looks like. Do you really think they get sent those things? In the 80's?



BrightBeing said:

And also the fact that Mega Man appears to just be a dude wearing tights and not a robot... Or that he seems to have skin... Or seems to have broken his right ankle...



Rect_Pola said:

Mega Man is, of course, most infamous for this "we need US box art" schism that has never made sense to me. It also lovingly highlighted how few poopiedingdongdoodles they gave about the material they were working with.



OdnetninAges said:

Ahh, classic game box art. Looks absolutely nothing like the original characters and designs.

Mega Man and Mega Man 2's bad box art is probably my favorite.

Bad Box Art Mega Man should be a trophy or a sticker in SSB U/3D



Einherjar said:

" but that he's shooting with a pistol. For big fans of the Blue Bomber, that's likely to be one inaccuracy too far, possibly because it makes the hero look a lot less cool."

I dont know about you guys, but Zeros rebuild body in "MegaMan Zero" and the ZX Form in MegaMan ZX also used "Guns" since they dont have build in arm cannons. And i certainly think that they are pretty cool
THAT is what a "big fan of the blue bomber" has to say about that

But jokes aside, that artwork is pretty horrible. And im the only one who finds it rather sad, that the art director of all people doenst know anything about the main character ?



Capt_N said:

Bad-Box-Art Mega Man,... eh, the design does have its bizarre place in MM, & Nintendo history.

@Nobodys_Angel: Out of all the bba for early MM, that one was my favorite for the first game.



ouroborous said:

funny, i never really noticed before. but i do want to point out that i always thought that the blue guy on the cover was a woman, given the position of megaman's/his/her hand. at a glance you just see a blue person with what appears to be the torso of a woman. it was always misleading for me.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

This must be one of the coolest covers in realistic style I've ever seen!
And it's pretty accurate - MegaMan even looks like a kid! Also, GutsMan PHOTOBOMB!



GamerZack87 said:

Let's not forget the fact"Mega Man" is firing the pistol with his left hand! Isn't the Blue Bomber right-handed?



micronean said:

The old box art was important in fueling the consumer's imagination, because we all knew the game itself would never look like the box art. It was still an age of crude graphics and "bips" and "boops" for sound, so gamers really depended on box art for suspension of disbelief.
These days, we just look at game previews or download demos, or wait for the review to make our buying decisions. It will never be like how it was in the early days.



unrandomsam said:

Not as bad as some of the home computer games that had screenshots of the arcade game on the box and were completely different (And unplayable).



Onion said:

This sort of thing was pretty common in the 80's and 90's. Most of the time box art had little to do with the actual game. Just take a gander at the art for Clash at Demonhead and you'll see what I mean. Often times the art directors had no knowledge of the source material at all. Case in point being the fact Firebrand (AKA The Red Arremer) is GREEN on the box art for Gargoyles Quest. Yeah. I guess they didn't play or study the game enough to discover his nickname has "Red" in it. Capcom in particular seemed to have a real problem with this. They didn't start getting the box-art right up until around Mega Man 3 or 4 if I recall, and a lot of their earlier NES games had bad art as well.



Big_A2 said:

@Nobodys_Angel I stand by that cover being amazing. Even though it's all hyper-real and silly, everything still looks like it should. Mega Man has an arm cannon instead of a gun, the bosses look exactly like they do in-game, and they even got the blue bomber's helmet right.

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