Welcome one and all to Box Art Brawl, our weekly vote on a bunch of regional box art variants. It's Round #53 which means we've got a year's worth of brawls under our belts - thank you to all you box art critics and voters out there! This week we're introducing an ever-so-minor tweak to the format which will accompany the regular three-way version. Yes, today is the first Box Art Brawl: Duel!
Frankly, it's becoming a challenge to find retro games with three sufficiently different variants for a three-way bout to make sense. Usually (although not always), the North American and European versions are very similar and over the past year we've begrudgingly featured a couple of games with little more than a border change or a minor compositional rearrangement between the covers released in the West. A simple two-way bout opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Simples.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Last week saw the return of Mega Man to this area of combat in the infamous Mega Man 2. The results were quite conclusive, with North America in last place and Europe not far ahead. Japan, though, raced ahead with a whopping 3/4 of the total vote. Rock beats..., er, Mega.
So, which retro classic has the honour of taking part in our inaugural Box Art Brawl: Duel? Well, you read the title, right?
We begin in the East with a variant of Tetris that bundled in the Link Cable (the main difference being that the regular version chopped off the lowest inch of this slightly larger box). The art plays on the Russian origins of the game, with the towers viewed dramatically from above and a backdrop of transparent red blocks against a dark blue starfield.
Add the banded yellow-orange logo with a black outline and the classy blue strip across the top and we like this. A lot.
North America / Europe
"FROM RUSSIA WITH FUN!" The tetrominoes fly to you on the cover we got in the West. With that big ol' GAME BOY strip on the left and the bold logo across the top, this cover is so familiar that it feels a little boring.
Which feels unfair. The perspective of the blocks falling towards the viewer sets the stage perfectly for the gameplay to come, and we enjoy the fact that the origin point is some undefined celestial light. It's as if some deity is gifting us tetrominoes that will ultimately overwhelm us mere mortals because they don't know when to stop. The Japanese cover will likely be less familiar and more exotic to those outside Japan, but is it better?
Well, that's why we're here, isn't it?
Three covers, one vote... No, it's different this week! Pick your favourite from the two options below and click 'Vote' to let us know:
"Hang on, why isn't it 'Box Art Duel' then?" Two reasons: we're suckers for alliteration, and 'Box Art Duel' would quite literally be 'BAD'. Yes, 'BABD' IS better! Plus, we're attached to the awesome whooshy BRAWL.
Thanks for voting - we'll see you again next week. Will it be a regular Brawl or a Duel?...