Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The GAF Collection

The GAF Collection, Collected has compiled roughly 400 videogame covers created by the members of the NeoGAF forums, done in the style of the Criterion Collection. Like Criterion covers, they're classy, artful, and often very clever.

Below are a few of my favourites, and just a sampling of the hundreds to be found over at TGAFC,C.

Shadow of the Colossus (PS2), Katamari Damacy (PS2)

Two of my favourite games for the PlayStation 2. In both games, you control a positively tiny protagonist and the overall theme is one of largeness. Each of these covers emphasises this by offsetting your character against a backdrop of a massive Colossus\Katamari of which only a portion is shown. Both Colossus and Katamari seem overwhelming to the point of being nearly insurmountable.

No More Heroes (Wii), Dr. Mario (NES)

How Nintendo has grown up over the years: from pushing pills prescribed by a so-called "doctor" to blood-spattered dismemberment with an eBay-acquired lightsaber. Both of these covers are highly stylised and minimalist, focusing not on the main characters but the essential actions of each game: lightsaber bisection and gel-capsule alignment.

Kingdom Hearts (PS2), BioShock (PC)

I like how the Kingdom Hearts cover pays tribute to the Disney elements of the game by including a tiny Tinkerbell centered above Sora's head, while the stained-glass is a nice element alluding to the baroque design of such levels as Twilight Town and Castle Oblivion. The BioShock cover, on the other hand, feels like a weathered poster from the 1950s, and neatly sums up the introductory cut-scene.

Tetris (NES), MegaMan 2 (NES)

A pair of original Nintendo games, approached in two very different directions. The Tetris cover is a clean, simple photo of what appear to be Tetris-block-shaped shelving, adding a degree of verisimilitude to what was an essentially abstract game. The MegaMan 2 cover, by contrast, is a vectorised take on a standard MegaMan level, packed with all sorts of easily-recognised detail, enemies and colour schemes without directly copying a screenshot of the actual game.

Street Fighter IV (PS3, 360, PC), Katamari Damacy (PS2)

Again, no direct connection between these two games and covers. The Street Fighter IV very neatly captures the character of Ryu in a few simple, Japanese-inspired lines against a minimal white background, referencing not only Ryu's Japanese origins and those of his fighting style but also the game's capability to change the graphical style on the fly. As for the Katamari Damacy cover, I just think it's kinda cute.

A Boy And His Blob (NES), Braid (PC)

Another pair of covers that draw attention to a central motif of their respective games rather than characters, enemies or narrative.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS), The World Ends With You (DS)

While the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney cover is fairly self-explanatory to anyone who's played the game, the TWEWY cover jumps out at me because of its inclusion of diagetic gameplay elements. Were it another game, this might not work so well, but TWEWY is centred around physical manipulation and pin usage - each with its own unique stylus motion - and it certainly deserves to have this showcased.

Day of the Tentacle (PC), Grim Fandango (PC)

A couple of LucasArts adventure games (arguably the two most popular to come out of that studio), both similarly reductive, the former focusing on the antagonist of the game, the latter on the protagonist. Since LucasArts games were so consistently character-driven, it makes sense that they would be natural contenders for inclusion in cover art.

BioShock (PC), Mario Kart (Wii)

Finally, a couple of nicely antiquated designs, again focusing on minor but essential objects utilised in each game. Like the first BioShock poster, this one seems damp and a bit mildewy, and the matching of the game's title with the syringe ampoule is a clever suggestion as to the game's central objective. The winged, spiked blue shell, meanwhile, is about as close to a villain as you'll find in Mario Kart, but at the same time it is at heart a tool to be used, thus the blueprint background and sketched style of illustration.

For a whole lot more GAF posters and covers, visit The GAF Collection, Collected.

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