The Classics Treatment

Perhaps you’ve already seen one of the various links to (and blog posts about) Olly Moss‘s video game covers redesigned in the style of Penguin Classics book covers (link via Offworld), or the similar series inspired by this effort over at Something Awful (link via Kotaku), or M.S. Corley Harry Potter redesigns (which I can only assume were also directly inspired by these efforts; link via undrln). I wanted to keep track of these images myself, though, so I’m blogging them yet again right here.

My first reaction to the game covers was, I wish game covers really looked like this. Upon further reflection, though, I realized how misleading that would be. These look great—but by and large, they’re aesthetically disconnected from the games’ visual and narrative style. I could imagine some of the older games sporting covers like these, such as some of the Sim City covers and a Missile Command cover, and perhaps one Mirror’s Edge cover actually resembles the style of the cut scenes in that game. Many of these, however, are lovely but downright hilarious (and often intentionally so, I wager) in their stylistic incongruity with the original games. The Harry Potter redesigns, meanwhile, work decently well, in my opinion.

Part of the reason covers in the “classics” styles wouldn’t really work for games is that many of the featured titles have a clear visual style already, whereas the cover alone defines the visual style for most novels. (Notice that the game covers that might work are generally for games with much less developed or more abstract graphics.) But that’s not the whole story, I think. Part of the incongruity is that most games are still testosterone-soaked gorefests with no attempt to transcend their period or genre. It’s hard to see a work as a true “classic” when its greatest aim is to achieve a multi-generation franchise, and its greatest legacy will be as a piece of nostalgia.

I don’t think the cover art should have to agree with the visual style of the game.

but i don’t know anything about design.

I wouldn’t say it has to have the same style, but I would say that it shouldn’t have a style that runs counter to the actual experience of the game. I mean, Gears of War … I don’t know. Chainsaw bayonets just don’t lend themselves to a serif font, maybe.

“Chainsaw bayonets just don’t lend themselves to a serif font” needs to be on a t-shirt or poster or something.

I’m thinking it would make a great bumpersticker.

I think it’s only a matter of time before we see a bumpersticker in a fancy style that reads, “I teabagged your honors student.”

Oh god please no.

Jordan you only say that because you are an honors student.