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Video Game Cover Art History: Docuseries Review by Teally Fox

Video Game Box Art: The Stories Behind the Covers by Teally Fox

Multi Episode Docuseries
Video Game Box Art:The Story Behind the Covers (2019)

This eight part series is somewhat structured similar to a news magazine show in its format from one episode to the next. The first five episodes begin with a main host (also narrates) flowing into a spotlight on an artist from a specific time in video game cover design history. From there it segways to game art book reviews, cover comparisons ( international versus domestic release choices), interviews with individuals from the production and packaging design field (non artist), and collectors. What I find the most interesting about these particular segments is all the behind the scenes work that goes into box design and shelf presentation. Does a game get a stand up in the store, a mobile with dangling parts, or just a poster and beam talker? Lots of seemingly arbitrary decisions are broken down and explained while going through, drawings, notes, pictures, and original products and prototypes… and boy are there a lot of them. The format and techniques that go into creating physical paintings, prints, and other original concept art are all explored in great detail (a particular artist used 17 separate layers to perfect the look he wanted). I’m not going to lead you astray and say the production value is top notch, you definitely get some shakycam going on, stumbling through interviews and the like, but the quality and depth of the content covered more than makes up for it. The remaining three episodes are more heavily grounded in convention footage and collector interviews with a smaller sprinkling of artists and industry professionals. They also omit some of the earlier segments altogether but are still engaging and offer up views of some quite rare pieces. If you grew up during the console wars of the 80’s and 90’s you’ll wax nostalgic seeing so many vintage titles and hearing that satisfying sound of a cartridge snapping back into its case and the cover clicking close. Even if you missed out on the excitement of the early home gaming systems, there’s still plenty to enjoy in this fun and fact filled docuseries.


Video game cover art, docuseries, history, art, design, collectibles, gaming, gaming culture, nostalgia

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