16/07/2016

505 GAMES PS2 COVERS

We all know that not every game can huge triple-A blockbuster, and nor should they be. There are countless smaller games, weird games, perhaps not the most commercially viable games, and many of these game that might otherwise have never made it out of Japan have been published by the Italian company 505 Game Street, or 505 Games as I believe they’re called these days. So, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against 505 Games. They’ve published some good, interesting titles. However, one thing they weren’t great at in the PS2 era was cover art, and that’s what today’s article is about: some of the times that 505 Games tried to create striking, eye-catching cover art for their PS2 games, only to discover their artists had access to nothing but stock photos and Microsoft Word Art. As the Marquis de Sade probably said at some point, let’s start with the weird sex stuff and see where we go from there.
Demolition Girl


At first you might think this is just a poorly-composed image but no, Demolition Girl really is about a giant girl in a bikini. Like many of 505’s PS2 games, Demolition Girl was originally part of the Simple 2000 series of Japanese budget games. The original title is The Daibijin, or The Giant Beauty. A bold decision for a developer to base a game around their extremely specific sexual kink, but it’s that spirit of experimentalism that keeps videogames interesting.
As for the cover itself, the Demolition Girl seems to be staring at the Seattle Space Needle, prompting me into much frenzied typing as I attempt to pen a new episode of Frasier where Frasier and Niles argue about the best way to provide psychological counselling to a hundred-foot tall woman. “With a bloody massive megaphone” is the solution I had in mind. There’s also some scenes of mild farce when Fraiser’s famous view of the Seattle skyline is blocked by an enormous boob.

Fighting Angels


Continuing with the theme of “games I wish I didn’t have in my internet search history,” it’s Fighting Angels. This is another Simple 2000 game, originally called The Catfight: Catwoman Legend. Yeah. It’s a bikini mud-wrestling sim, essentially. However, unlike in Demolition Girl the combatants aren’t giants, so I have no idea why this cover depicts them as though they’re over twice as tall as a streetlight. Maybe they’re the terrifying, otherworldly angels described in the Bible. That’s why their in silhouette, it’s so you can’t see that their bodies are entirely covered in all-seeing eyes.

Pink Pong


Oh, sexy ping pong, is it? Sure, why not. And nothing’s sexier than wearing a giant girdle, as demonstrated by the girl on the right. I’m going to guess all the girls in this game have back problems, so every one of them will be wearing a girdle eventually. My favourite’s the one on the left, purely because she’s the only one of the three who looks like she’s enjoying the idea of playing sexy ping pong, just as soon as she’s finished participating in a sexy motorcycle race. No, wait, she reminds me of Kamen Rider. It’s the scarf. Zip her up, slap on a helmet shaped like a grasshopper’s face and bingo, yet another addition to the vast Kamen Rider universe is ready for action.

Taxi Rider


Something completely different now, and a game with a title clearly chosen at the last minute when the lawyers informed the artists that the name “Taxi Driver” was already taken. At least, I assume you play as the taxi driver and not a passenger. That would be one crazy taxi game. That name is also taken. You might think I’d be regretting my decision to write about these covers when presented with something as boring as this, but I’m too annoyed that the words of the title aren’t lined up to be bored. Then I get trapped in a weirdly philosophical mental void as I realise that this is a real taxi, driven by a real person, who’s probably still out there in the world with no idea that their cab was used as artwork for a low-budget PS2 game.

Dodgeball


Dodgeball? I don’t know about that, but I’d definitely want to dodge these freaks. What’s going on with the guy at the front? He’s so packed with burning dodgeball spirit that his head appears to have exploded. Maybe that will distract him from the misery of having no neck. The more I look at him, the more he reminds me of a bootleg of a bootleg of a bootleg Sonic the Hedgehog character. I think it’s the eyes. Get back to your DeviantArt page, you boggle-eyed weirdo.

Paparazzi


Yes indeed, now you can experience the thrilling life of one of the world’s most hated professions with Paparazzi, from the same studio that brought you Extreme Estate Agents and Traffic Warden Simulator! I have to take issue with the name Paparazzi, mind you. These are clearly ghost hunters, trying to capture photographic evidence of the white ectoplasmic clouds that surround them. Also, the game’s not about being a paparazzo, it’s about taking pictures of (you guessed it) creepy polygonal girls in swimsuits. That’s why I feel sorry for the bloke in the middle: everyone else has managed to keep their faces covered up, but he might be recognised as the face of Blocky Cheesecake Photographer. I admit that is a very unlikely scenario, but I wouldn’t want to take that risk.

Street Boyz


Street Boyz, Street Boyz, what you gonna do when they come for you? Probably turn off my PS2 and play something else, if I’m honest. Then maybe give them a slap for spelling “boys” with a Z. With the white tile background, I can only see this as the wall of a public toilet. The boys are standing back, admiring the graffiti they’ve just scrawled above the urinal trough. Now anyone who’s caught short during a shopping trip will know not to mess with the Street Boyz.

Yakuza Fury


Yeah, I’d be pretty furious if I bought a gun and it used pirate dubloons as ammunition. On the other hand, if you are a hired killer then leaving your victims looking as though they were killed after hitting the jackpot on a novelty slot machine would make for a unique calling card. At least it’s nice to see Ada Wong getting some modelling work in between the Resident Evil games.

Soccer Life!


I think reducing the life of a soccer player to money, celebrity and fun is a little narrow, don’t you? What about the hours of rigorous training, the knowledge that you’re always one bad tackle away from the premature end of your career, or being depicted as an arrogant, out-of-touch primadonna by the media even as the same media holds you up as a role model for children? The player on this cover may appear outwardly happy, but inside he’s being torn apart, wondering whether his girlfriend would still love him if he worked in a chip shop. On a technical note, it seems like an odd compositional choice to have the player and his partner staring at a giant footballer’s knees with a look of unrestrained glee on their faces. I mean, as knees go they look okay but they hardly seem worthy of that kind of emotional response.

Street Golfer


The sports theme continues with Street Golfer, and a cover where an angry man appears to be trying to smash the game’s title with a golf club. Maybe he’s trying to play a round on the M25 and he doesn’t want the floating title drawing attention to his no-doubt illegal golfing activities. Nice work on the “fake Street Fighter logo” look there, 505.

Space Basketball


Space Basketball teases the player with thoughts of some kind of jam in space, although you’d be hard-pressed to make the space connection just by looking at this cover. The perfect opportunity to have a picture of someone slamming a ball through the rings of Saturn and it’s utterly wasted. For shame.

Fitness Fun


Fitness Fun, says the title. It lies. Fitness isn’t fun. Shovelling doughnuts into your face during a 30 Rock marathon, now that’s fun, but not fitness. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this game probably isn’t much fun either. Oh, just call it a hunch. You definitely won’t have as much fun with it as the model on this cover seems to be having as she tones her biceps, because look at her – she seems to have reached a state of transcendental bliss just by lifting a single dumbbell. God knows what’ll happen to her once she gets on the rowing machine. Three strokes and she’ll probably achieve nirvana, freeing herself from the cycle of death and rebirth and attaining a purity of thought that can only come with rock-hard abdominal muscles.
Also, that typography: if it doesn’t also appear on a cheap kid’s skipping rope from Poundland, I will be amazed.

Puzzle Maniacs


“For the love of God, Montresor!”
“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!”

Deep Water


If nothing else, this article is really driving home the importance of good font choices to graphic design. Other than the “hastily photoshopped disc art from a bootleg DVD of The Expendables” title, this isn’t that bad a cover, I suppose. The shark looks suitably menacing, although it might have been better if the shark on the Deep Water cover was in, you know, deep water. This particular terror of the deep looks as though it’s in danger of beaching itself. I hope the old saw about sharks not being able to develop cancer is true, because Jaws here is catching some serious rays.

Katana Action


The only katana action this guy has ever seen is buying a $20 sword from a flea market and uploading footage of himself hacking through milk cartons to YouTube. It’s impressive just how lank and greasy the artist managed to make his hair look, too. Forget katana action, you need the medicated action of a good anti-dandruff shampoo, pal.

Power Fighters


Power Fighters, huh? Okay, let’s see. Going clockwise from the top-left, it’s The Silver Spanker, Nurse With A Stick, The Silver Spanker: Black Edition, A Guy From Voltron and Mistress Domina The Rubber Goddess.

Forty 4 Party


Are you allowed to just grab a screencap of a Pringles commercial and use it as your videogame’s cover art? It feels like there should be rules against that. Look at them, with their smiles and their youthful energy, it’s disgusting. Okay, sure, the guy at the front’s happy expression could also quite easily be the grimace of a man trying to pass a whole pineapple through his digestive tract, and the lady behind him has slipped past exuberance and into full-on rage, but I’m sure they’re suppose to exude the appearance of fun times. Here’s my theory about this cover, though: the title is placed where it is in order to cover up the control pads being used. You can see a bit of one of them and they’re grey, so they’re either PS1 or N64 controllers. Or a Japanese Sega Saturn pad, but that seems very unlikely. I've know a couple of people who were hardcore into importing Saturn games, and they were nowhere near as friendly and well adjusted as these people.

Fishing Fantasy: BuzzRod


I’ll be honest, I did do a Beavis and Butt-Head style “uh huh huh” when I read the word “buzzrod.” Well, the game is called Fishing Fantasy. If you want your marital aids to be shaped like a small-mouth bass, that’s your look-out. Again, this really isn’t that bad of a cover. The mechanical fish means you can pretend you’re playing a Darius spin-off, and even the logo isn’t as objectionable as some of the other entries on this list. That’s probably because 505 didn’t change the artwork from the original Japanese release, only flipping around the title from BuzzRod: Fishing Fantasy to Fishing Fantasy: BuzzRod. Presumably they did this because they didn’t want people laughing at the word BuzzRod, although I can’t imagine who’d be immature enough to do that.

Kung Fu


So, would you say the guy on the right is cowering, cringing or flinching? I’m going with cowering. Whatever he’s doing, he does not look confident in his ability to guard against this incoming flying kick, does he? Someone’s sifu has not adequately prepared him for flying kicks. I’ve seen kung fu movies, I assumed that’s the first thing you learn. Day one: blocking flying kicks, day two: flapping your arms about in a suitably dramatic fashion, day three: battering people with small wooden benches.

Zombie Attack


Finally, here’s a genuinely unpleasant-looking zombie, a mouldering abomination hauling itself from the grave - the reanimated corpse of Nosferatu, if those teeth are any indication. It’s got a look of decomposing plastic to it, so here’s what I’m thinking: it’s actually a Halloween decoration that’s come to life. My next thought is why has there never been a horror movie about Halloween decorations coming to life and attacking people? Sure, there’s the deadly masks in Halloween III, and that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where everyone turns into their costumes, but as far as I’m aware Night of the Living Tat is not a real movie. If I’m wrong, please let me know. There’s nothing I’d like to see more than a film where an inflatable pumpkin kills someone by forcing itself down their trachea. Was this entire article simply an elaborate ruse to gather information on movies about killer Halloween decorations? Yes. Yes it was.

6 comments:

  1. Some thoughts:

    -sick amontillado reference
    -dunking the rock through Saturn's rings is a GREAT idea
    -that zombie really is unpleasant...maybe the trick to having creepy monsters is to be bad at rendering them
    -a handful of these games have unexpectedly nice logos in comparison to the cover art

    A little while ago I saw a list of all the Simple series games. Wonder how many good unlocalized ones most people don't know about yet?

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    Replies
    1. I know about The Exorsister, pretty much entirely because the title made me laugh.

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    2. Thanks! I know it's overused but I do love a Cask of Amontillado reference and yeah, that Yakuza Fury logo isn't bad. As for other Simple games, there are a few that aren't amazing but still fairly fun, like The Maid Outfit & The Machine Gun. Oh, and of course the EDF series (while not unlocalised) started out as a Simple game, which justifies the existence of the entire line.

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    3. I don't care how overused it apparently is, I'll always pop for a good Cask of Amontillado reference. At least this one uses a different angle than most.

      The only Simple game I know of that's any good and hasn't been remade yet is The Zombie vs. Ambulance. It's basically Crazy Taxi with zombies and ambulances and one of the coolest loading screens ever.

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  2. Ahh :D PS2 sweet time ive hope Phoenix game covers will knock socks off too

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  3. Ridiculous covers (and names) aside, some of these games are actually pretty fun for their limited budget. Street Boyz is a fun double dragon-nekketsu style 3d beat em up. Zombie Attack and Zombie Zone are good hackn slash games.

    ReplyDelete

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