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View Poll Results: Would the box art shown in this post make you want to buy the game?
Yes, and I'm a man living in Europe. 6 12.24%
Yes, and I'm a man living in North America. 2 4.08%
Yes, and I'm a man living elsewhere. 0 0%
Yes, and I'm a woman living in Europe. 2 4.08%
Yes, and I'm a woman living in North America. 0 0%
Yes, and I'm a woman living elsewhere. 0 0%
No, and I'm a man living in Europe. 16 32.65%
No, and I'm a man living in North America. 7 14.29%
No, and I'm a man living elsewhere. 4 8.16%
No, and I'm a woman living in Europe. 6 12.24%
No, and I'm a woman living in North America. 3 6.12%
No, and I'm a woman living elsewhere. 3 6.12%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:05 AM   #1
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Default Would you buy this game based on the cover alone?

Inspired by some brouhaha over at the Mata Hari thread (starting here), I've decided to conduct a little survey concerning some video game box art:



Pretend you don't know anything about this game. If you saw this box in a store, would it make you want to pick it up and buy it? Remember to specify your geographical region, because it's important to the data I'm trying to gather.

Also, for further discussion: by looking at the box art alone, what do you think this game is about?

Thanks in advance, everyone!
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:28 AM   #2
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Well, I'd be out because I know who Mata Hari was. The actual person, that is, not the game. I would buy a game just because of the box art if I had money to burn, though, because good box art is bound to have a cool game inside. As it is, I research what games are about before buying them to make sure I get the most bang for my buck.
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:33 AM   #3
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I would probably pass this game by, b/c the art on the box shows fighting, guns, and that makes me think of a hunting/strategy game and those games are not my cup of tea. If I had seen a post on this game that it was good I might read the write up but probably still wouldn't buy it. I like the CSI type of games, and I always, always read reviews on a game before I buy so that I make sure that I'm getting the game I want.
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:46 AM   #4
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If I didn't know who the designers of this game are, no, I wouldn't buy this game based on the cover art.

I find it tacky and kitsch, coarse and ordinary.

I may as well say that my inclinations aren't exactly strong toward women , but still I don't find the cover art to be sensual or seductive: too explicit to be erotic, to sexist to be enticing, too vulgar to be appealing.
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:53 AM   #5
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I'd look at it and ignore it as I've done with the LSL games.
Nothing in the boxart attracts my attention.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:02 AM   #6
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I wouldn't buy it because it looks like those RPGs that try to sell more by having a half-naked woman on the cover.

Knowing who Mata Hari was, I probably wouldn't buy it because I'll think it's an action/stealth game.

Also, I might be thinking too much, but something about the cover makes it look like a budget title.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:07 AM   #7
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The box art on its own suggests to me some boring casino game. It's also a poor drawing. I don't think I would reach for the box in a shop to get a closer look.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shany View Post
Also, I might be thinking too much, but something about the cover makes it look like a budget title.
I think it's because the art looks like a budget one. There's also only one central element suggesting the gameplay is very simple in its nature.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:40 AM   #9
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As I said in the other thread, I don't find the cover offensive at all, but it doesn't look interesting and it doesn't make it clear to me what kind of game it is. Ditto on the point that the art makes it look like a budget title. The art style and technique just looks cheap.

So no, I wouldn't buy the game based on the cover.
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Old 09-17-2008, 01:31 PM   #10
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I certainly wouldn't think adventure game if I saw this cover, so I'd pass it by, but I would think that it's a cheesy way to attract a male demographic.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:33 PM   #11
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It's the game's box art, and it was designed to make people carry the game to the checkout counter, and nothing else. Everyone knows the art on that cover is ugly - we really don't need a thread of people pointing this out to prove how not-shallow they are. I don't know if having a woman with barely any clothes on slapped on the box will help or hinder this game's sales, but you know what, if it does help the game's sales, why would we complain about it? Aren't adventure games (still a niche market) allowed to use such methods to sell themselves just as much as any other kind of genre?

This is just the marketing, and has nothing to do with the content of the game itself. The game maker's job is to make the game, and the marketing department's job is to sell it. There is a reason these two are separate entities, because their needs often clash. If a developer makes a good adventure game, would you rather it have artistic artwork that fails to catch the Average Joe's interest, or bad cover art with flames and gals that causes the game to sell to more than just the couple thousand adventure game forum frequenters who do real research and blog their gripes about sexist box covers to people who already feel the same way?

It's the same principle as a movie studio's marketing department taking a genuinely funny movie and constructing a lame trailer that highlights its obvious and easily-digestible-by-a-mass-audience jokes, with the result of the advertising campaign almost (or totally) inaccurately representing the product. It makes the people who know better (who were always going to see the movie) roll their eyes, but it also makes the unwashed mashes more likely to buy that ticket. The point is, that trailer doesn't change the fact that the actual movie is good, just like this Leisure Suit Larry box art doesn't diminish the content of Mata Hari, whatever quality it might be. I'm not saying it's something to be happy about, but it's also not worth raising a big stink over. It's just the cover. If you're the type who refuses to buy a game because the cover looks too cheesy, then okay. Just three years ago millions of people passed over a certain Double Fine game with gorgeous Scott Campbell art on its packaging because it wasn't cheesy enough. Perhaps dtp entertainment is going to find out which group is larger.

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Old 09-17-2008, 03:45 PM   #12
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The box art is to attract walk-ups. People who have never heard of the game before. As has been discussed here already, most 'teenage boys' (or whomever that style of art is aimed at attracting) who pick up the box will put it right back down again when they flip it over to see the screenshots and read the blurb and see what style of game it is. Sure, it might get people picking the game up, but I doubt it'll get too many of them to carry it to the checkout.

And those that might have bought the game due to the info on the back of the box won't have been drawn to pick it up in the first place. I don't see this as good marketing at all.

The box art is on the right sort of track, general compostion-wise, but it just needs a bit more 'classy' and a little less 'hoochy', in my opinion.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:56 PM   #13
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Considering I *don't* know anything about the game, I didn't have to pretend.

I voted "Yes, and I'm a woman in Europe". But only because I know who Mata Hari was, and it's a pretty good representation (though admittedly a bit overly skimpy...a bit very much overly skimpy. Okay, maybe not *that* good.) of her costume. But I'd think "my, don't they want to catch some pre-pubsecent boys with this?".

Okay, maybe I'd not *really* buy it just by looking at its cover. I'd at least look at the back and see what it's really about, if not first checking a website before that.

I agree it's sad they designed her like an American stripper - seriously, that's just boring.


So, is it really about Mata Hari, as in the Spy Mata Hari? Seriously, I don't know anything about the game.


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Old 09-17-2008, 04:05 PM   #14
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Yes it is. The game's website is here;

http://www.matahari-game.de
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Old 09-17-2008, 04:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Udvarnoky View Post
It's the game's box art, and it was designed to make people carry the game to the checkout counter, and nothing else. Everyone knows the art on that cover is ugly - we really don't need a thread of people pointing this out to prove how not-shallow they are. I don't know if having a woman with barely any clothes on slapped on the box will help or hinder this game's sales, but you know what, if it does help the game's sales, why would we complain about it?
Actually, the intent of this thread is not to dispute the cover itself (I did plenty of that elsewhere), but to get a feel for who would buy the game based on this cover. My personal hypothesis is similar to jp-30's: those who pick up the box will think it's a game about almost-naked ladies (and likely put it down after seeing the descriptions on the back of the box... unless the back of the box promises almost-nudity, that is), whereas potential new adventure game players who would enjoy the setting and gameplay -- a demographic that happens to include a lot of women -- will ignore it.

I asked for geographic location because I was informed that this is the European cover, and, being Canadian, wanted to see whether Europeans were in fact more likely to buy a game with an almost-naked lady on the cover than North Americans.
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Old 09-17-2008, 05:12 PM   #16
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I'd say no, the cover is pretty damn sleazy looking. I honestly don't know that much about Mata Hari except for its connection with former LucasArts folk, but this cover makes me think it's a budget-like game or something. But then again I wonder if the cover would be more appealing if it had the same layout but painted in a Drew Struzan-esque way... (Actually the layout is pretty damn bad too. )
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:50 PM   #17
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The box cover doesn't tell me anything about what kind of a game it is. Now this normally is a problem in AGs, but if they only had put the word 'adventure' on the box that would have helped a lot. As it is now, I would have taken it for a sleazy RPG or something and left it alone.
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Old 09-18-2008, 03:56 AM   #18
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Given the subject matter I think the box art should certainly have something sensual about it, but this one rather misses the mark. I wouldn't say it's "ugly" as it's technically competent, but aesthetically, it's a no.

This doesn't say "sex and intrigue" so much as "Look! Nekkid women!"

If I had to guess I'd say the game in some way involves strippers and minigames... and top hats.


I think it's a mistake giving the wrong impression about a game just to get a sale... I know of one person that was intrigued by Max Payne 2's "noir love-story" tag-line but hugely disappointed to find that it was just another action game. Sure it was a sale, but it may have stopped her from trying other games in the future.

For an example of more or less appropriate use of sex in box art I would point to Vampire Bloodlines... It sets a tone of "dark, gothic and sleazy" which is basically accurate, though it belies the degree of subtlety with which this seedy side of nocturnal Los Angeles is explored in-game...
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Old 09-18-2008, 05:41 PM   #19
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I never buy or don't buy just based on cover art. I usually pick up a box and read about the game. I'd probably pick it up because it said Mata Hari (and read more about the game).

That said, it's difficult to get a really unbiased look at what effect the cover would have because most people here know about the game and many have already formed their opinion about the game and/or the cover.
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Old 09-19-2008, 03:51 AM   #20
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Tbh, i don't know anything about Mata Hari or what this game's about. I don't usually buy a game based on the front cover either. Although it's great when the front cover looks fantastic. If the game's artwork etc. intrigues me, whilst in a shop, i'll just read what it's about on the back of the box. Either that or i'll research it. As for this one though, i'm not sure. I don't think i'd've guessed it was an adventure game if i saw it in a store.
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