The British publisher Bitmap Books has specialized for several years (among other things) in highlighting the graphics of many renowned machines. But after I made a spell there Super famicom and the icon Neo-Geo, here comes Game Boy: The Box Art Collection, a book (in English) that we weren’t exactly expecting, but that reveals many surprises.
As the name rightly suggests, this 372-page book focuses on the covers of the most iconic portable consoles that have been number one for more than a decade. The approach might seem crazy: what are those little pocket pictures worth compared to the excellent covers on living room consoles of the time?
Game Boy: The Box Art Collection obviously begins by remembering the portable device’s triumphant journey to Nintendo, not without highlighting the visual and sensory appeal of those little gray plastic cartridges. But the most important thing is of course the graphics: this is where the boxes were photographed. Two collectors, Vincent Haucourt and Michael Lynch, were brought in to offer a huge panorama of the machine’s vast library of toys: if Irish prefers the European versions, French only swears by the original, Japanese.
This patch alternates between two schools that are often contradicting each other and offer a new perspective on more than ten years of video games. During this time the styles can develop and change. When the very first titles often try to exaggerate their concept like an Atari 2600 cartridge, Japanese artists gradually show daring and ingenuity, with Westerners often using the same tricks and the cliché of cell phone games largely pre-existing.
But amidst this production, which is classified in alphabetical order rather than chronological order (a choice that remains rather surprising), the reader often goes from surprise to surprise and discovers an amazing range of metal boxes from Hudson (a good number of Bombermans passports ) There)., Facing an almost aggressive version of Mario (Game Boy Gallery 2) that Nintendo would never allow today to finally discover by far the most disgusting Goku in the entire history of cover (Cult Jump).
The western versions dressing up a Mickey Mouse in Bugs Bunny are not left out and we discover from side to side the changes to the Electronic Arts logo or the amazing presence of the old pink macaroon from Ubisoft on a Jimmy Connors Chibi-SD version. Everything goes there. Fortunately, moments of amazement cannot be beat, and it is often very difficult to resist the charm of a Kaeru no Tame or the handmade fish-eye from Super Mario Land 2.
As you read, as the retro charm of certain pieces alternates with a modernity less pleasing to the eye, the reader becomes familiar with the aesthetic codes of the decade and we like to try to guess the year of issue of such pieces, or such a cartridge by simply looking at the image that is responsible for distinguishing them from the rest of the production in specialty stores.
Admittedly, the work is not exempt from reproaches, and the publisher would no doubt have been well advised to contact other collectors to replace some largely dispensable titles with other more eye-catching ones, but after lovingly admiring several hundred beautifully preserved boxes and photographs We’re closing Game Boy: The Box Art Collection with a smile, too lucky to have believed in some companions of youth (hello Babs Big Break) to see his first console game (Escape from Camp Deadly, we do not judge), not without comparing the relative weakness of the covers, which most are now adorn the current productions. It’s not as well Pseudolos who will say the opposite …
Game Boy: The Box Art Collection, 29.99, chez Bitmap books