Top Ten – Worst NES Covers Of All Time

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The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) has a huge back catalogue of titles, many of which have one thing in common – terrible cover art!  Back in the good old days of 8-bit consoles, releasing a game was quite a gamble for most game developers.  It was very hard to predict a hit, therefore spending money on producing a great game cover was sometimes deemed too risky.  This allowed some shockingly bad game covers to be released onto the shelves.

 

Here are my top ten worst NES game covers of all time:

 

10. Clu Clu Land

 

10 Clu Clu Land Nes Game Cover-1

 

The guy that designed this atrocious box art must have been on cloud cuckoo land (see what I did there!?).  The artwork is boring and explains next to nothing of what to expect when playing this game.  You could almost say I don’t have a clu at what is going on…  I assume the red blob on the cover is clu clu and it appears he/she/thing/monster (delete as appropriate) is juggling two fried eggs, a rasher of bacon and some pink diamonds.

 

9. A Boy and his Blob – Trouble in Blobolonia

 

9 A Boy 'n his Blob NES Game Cover Image

 

No boy should play with his blob – it is neither big nor clever.  But the boy on the game cover forgets this important word of advice and uses his blob in numerous ways. The boy has moulded his blob into a ladder in one scene, an umbrella in another and finally turned his blob into a human sized bubble.  The game cover depicts a comic strip – a really poor comic strip, one I would be loathed to read, let alone play! There may be trouble in blobolonia and it can just jolly well stay there for all I care.

 

8. Stinger

 

8 Stinger nes game cover image

 

This game cover really stings my eyes when I look at it (sorry).  It seems like you control multi-coloured spacecrafts and shoot aliens. That’s more than fine in my eyes and could be a good simple premise for a game.  But what is with the overblown comedy boxing gloves!  Are we playing a side-scrolling shooter or a robot boxing simulation?  The drawings are amateurish and bland and the enemies resemble pink hangers – the perfect combination for a terrible video game cover.

 

7. Anticipation

 

7 Anticipation NES Game Cover Image

 

Anticipation was Nintendo’s first video board game and judging by the cover it was lucky not to be the last.  When I look at the cheesy grins, quirky hand gestures and terrible clothes showcased on the cover, I quickly realise how lucky I am not to know any of these people!  The game boldly claims that there will be PARTY FUN FOR ALL AGES, a big statement that is quite clearly a lie!  The lady in the middle of the group looks terrified – just look at her eyes!  Whereas the man on the top right of the cover looks likes he has just completed playing with his blob and the less said about the goofy man with glasses the better.  Overall an extremely cheesy 80s game cover. (I wanna play! – Ed)

 

6. Hammerin’ Harry

 

6 Hammerin Harry nes game cover image

 

Harry really looks quite demented.  He has a face only a mother could love and resembles a mutated Rambo-Rocky hybrid mutant monster who sports a red headband, a bulging eyeball, crooked jaw and a lopsided mouth.  I also have an issue with his hammer; surely what he is actually holding is a mallet, as it is clearly made of wood?   The game should really be called Malletin’ Harry.  Harry should be commended though on his ability to fit into the tightest jeans ever shown on a video game cover.  The over-sized construction workers in the background just sum up what a terrible game cover we have here – poor form all round.

 

5. Panic Restaurant

 

5 Panic Restaurant Nes Game cover image

 

It’s hard to know where to start with this one!  The creepiest sight has to be the naked carrot (can vegetables ever be naked?!) half covered by white curtains wearing red lipstick and staring intensely towards, what can only be described as the scariest chef ever imagined!   It looks like the heavy moustached chef (frying pan in hand) is chasing a roasted chicken, while a hotdog with demonic watches on in disbelief.   The balloon font for the games title does little to improve matters.  I think the local environmental health officer needs to plan a visit to this particular eatery.

 

4. Fester’s Quest

 

4 Festers Quest nes Game Cover Image-1

 

If uncle Fester’s quest was to locate and wear red lipstick (probably stolen from randy carrots) and allow spiders to crawl over his face, I think we can all say he has passed with flying colours.  What is up with his face?  I know he is part of the Addams family, but surely they would even disown him if he looked like this on a regular basis!  Looking at the cover art I think the game should be re-titled ‘Fester’s Quest to find some moisturiser’.

 

3. Mega Man

 

3 - Mega Man NES Game Cover Image-2

 

Mega Man is an undisputed classic that went on to spawn many successful sequels. However it is safe to say the game didn’t have the best of starts to life regarding its cover art.  Mega Man should re-named Mega Geriatric Man looking at the crinkled guy on the cover and since when does Mega Man have a pistol?  The background is again laughably bad and makes little sense to the game. A small amount of kudos does have to go out to the title font though.

 

2. Treasure Master

 

2 Treasure Master Nes game cover image

 

Treasure Master’s game art showcases one of the most 80s inspired montages of images you could ever dream up.  This gives the Rocky films a run for its money!  The boy at the centre of the cover epitomises the 80s look down to the tee.  Dark, plastic shades with green arms?  Check.  Multi-coloured cap?  Check (should be worn backwards though).  Cheesy grin? No sideburns/small mullet/wacky black and white t-shirt? You get the picture!  The cover also boasts flying robots, jumping sharks, UFO’s, space rockets, over-sized flies and spider surfing on a microchip. The game artist involved obviously put in a lot of effort and therefore gets a thumbs-up from me. Sadly the overall look is far too confusing and in your face so ultimately gets the dreaded double thumbs-down.

 

1. Metro Cross

 

1 Metro Cross nes game cover image

 

Tony Hawk is a well respected skateboarder and has been involved in the popular game series that took the PlayStation by storm.  Way before Tony Hawk, we had the Metro Cross guy (who looks a bit like Mr Hawk… – Ed).  Just look at the man’s face and be prepared for nightmares, then take a look at the man’s outfit and be ready for counselling.  His expression resembles a man playing with his blob – this is obviously not appropriate on the front cover of a NES title or any game for that matter!  The designers of this game cover really need their heads examined. A true disaster of the most epic proportions! This is easily one of the worst game covers ever released for any console, let alone the NES.

 

– Adrian

 

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One Comment on “Top Ten – Worst NES Covers Of All Time”

  1. This guy clearly isn’t familiar with the Twinbee/Stinger series, because that’s how the ships are more or less portrayed in-game and various artworks. Can’t blame him, though, since the series only has one installment released in America.

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