The Worst Shovelware Boxes Ever

Originally Published: 2012

Denounce casual gaming all you want (go on, it’s perfectly ok with us) but there’s one thing A Winner Is You has noticed. It’s produced some of the most brilliantly terrible and lazy box art you’ll ever see. Now, we all know that casual gaming is not always known for its quality – it’s meant to be a quick fix that can be fun and inclusive to novice gamers or children – and it’s apparently this logic that has transitioned over to the art as well.

A good box art is literally what it does on the tin. It’s the book cover by which we judge, the segue that entices the game from store shelf to your hand. It’s on that premise that this selection of utterly disgusting works becomes ever more baffling. Or maybe it’s actually just brilliant work by the design team. A box art is meant to convey the quality of a game, right? If that’s the case then these fine examples surely do just that. Shit boxes for shit games. The system works! Read on, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked



I’m not eating that. Any food prepared with a video game peripheral is just not that appetising – especially when you look at the encrusted finger grease lodged in my Wiimote. And how is the food floating in mid air? In a near-perfect crescent formation no less.

I’m also not quite sure why there needs to be any pushing of the analog stick on the nunchuck; “Go forwards, red pepper!” That title isn’t the greatest either. Why threaten people?

Birthday Party Bash


In which you must use your sacred Wiimote to fight off the hordes of evil birthday paraphernalia intent on bursting out of your TV and giving you a seizure by being the most colourful things EVER.

Girl in the pink shirt – it works better if you aim the Wiimote at the TV, sweetheart. But don’t worry, I think the ginger kid at the back likes you. A lot.

Wedding Planner


I feel sorry for whoever thought that picture signified a dream wedding. It’s not exactly picturesque scenery is it? Where are they even going? It just looks like they got lost in the middle of nowhere. I suppose that’s what happens when you let your wedding be planned by a 10 year old.

And is it just me, or shouldn’t the bride have thrown that bouquet of flowers at the wedding reception? Seems a bit selfish really. Good luck with her, mate.

Kinect Joy Ride



From this cover it is suggested that Kinect Joy Ride is part racing game and part…passenger simulator?

“Don’t I get to play, son?”
“Nope, just stand there, wave your arms about and pretend I’m driving you somewhere.”
“That’s no fun!”
“Well it serves you right for putting a beard on your avatar that you clearly don’t have in real life.”

Oh, and if that guy hanging onto the shag wagon is really doing that, he’s levitating in his front room.

Work Time Fun

613994-worktimefun copy

What the fuck is this?

Winter Fun


Ok it’s on the Wii, but why is the kid holding a Wii remote? He’s doing it for real!

Although if he’s somehow found a way to combine snowboarding and playing Wii (which would obviously require a moving television and portable power) then he’s some kind of sorcerer.

Some poor schmo even took the time to draw a wrist strap in there. Because remember kids, if you’re going to play the Wii whilst doing extreme sports, be safe, yeah?

Job Island: Hard Working People


Maybe somebody once told one of the design team that being a box art designer wasn’t a real job. That would explain why the folks at Hudson decided to make up a bunch of utterly random and ridiculous jobs to get their own back.

Some of the highlights? Well, for starters in the bottom left we have a ‘thumbs upper’. There’s also some sort of Power Ranger rip off (did they ever get paid for doing that?) and I bet tons of kids are clamouring to be a sweeper like in the bottom right.

The very best has to be the ‘job’ at the very bottom. Just what in the name of unemployment benefits is that? Crouching Butterfly Confirmer? “Yeah, that thing looks like this thing in my hand – it’s a butterfly alright.” Hey, we all have our own dreams, right?

DK Jet Race


Ladies and gentlemen, pray silence for a box art performing the function of the world’s laziest instruction book. Thanks for the heads up Nintendo, we could never have figured it out without that utterly enticing sentence at the bottom. And is that really even a worthwhile selling point? Shake stuff to make things happen – hardly makes a game on the Wii stand out does it?

Imagine Babies


I’m sorry, how old is this girl? She looks about 16 and she already has 3 kids. And I’m not one for assuming, but I don’t think they’re all from the same dad. Hardly the right message to be sending out to children aged… wait a minute, aged ‘3+’? A 3 year-old isn’t even able to take care of not pissing the bed, let alone taking care of a baby. Might as well get the youth of today prepared nice and early eh?

Aside from the girl of questionable contraceptive awareness, there’s plenty else wrong with this horrific box art. For starters, quite who decided to place a small child inside a giant floating bubble should really not be allowed near them ever again. And let’s just say the placement of the giant pink bear is…unfortunate.

Sports Party


Oh dear. This looks like someone gave the job to their 7 year-old son as homework. It’s a lesson in cutting and pasting and identifying what a basketball is.

There is so much wrong with this disgustingly lazy piece of ‘art’. Ubisoft, don’t act like you haven’t just flipped the same image of a hand holding a Wiimote – how else is that wrist strap suspended in mid air? Would it really take that long to take two photos? It’s not elike the pictures of the hands even give any insight into how the game actually plays. Yeah, we know how to play Wii – we hold the remote in our hand. Cheers.

There’s nothing about this that doesn’t stink of ‘5 minute afterthought’. Although the badminton guy provides amusement as he appears to be hitting a giant golf ball whilst farting a dart.

Pool Party


Nope, it’s not the kind of pool party that American teen shows will have you imagining scantily clad beautiful people strutting around a swimming pool with water fights, crazy slides, popular music and alcohol. No, it’s a ‘party’ where people play pool. Three people, to be precise.

I’m sure it’s a decent night out for a few hours, but it’s not a party is it? There’s three people in a dimly lit red room and the blonde guy looks absolutely devastated to even be there. Maybe the dark haired guy played a game when the blonde guy had his 50p on the table. Don’t you hate that?

Weirdly, the most disturbing thing about this utterly dull box art isn’t the lack of the aforementioned party. It’s that girl’s jacket. Once you notice it, it stands as the focal point of the image purely because it looks like some kind of Photoshop mind trick. I beg you, don’t look directly at it. The eyes, oh how they stare!

Candace Kane’s Candy Factory


This game really wants you to think that Candace Kane is some kind of modern day saint. Dispensing delicious sweets to the fresh-faced children of the world from her magical candy factory like some kind of female Willy Wonka. A Fanny Wonka, if you will.

However, according to this incredibly awful box art, Candace Kane is apparently an amorphous confectionary mutation that towers over a pink factory in the middle of an almost completely desolate field. Also she/it tries to sell yellow flowers as candy.

My Word Coach


This one is not the worst culprit by a long shot, but deserves special mention for really poor word choices. The clearest word written on the headless man’s glasses is…funfair. Funfair – really? I’m going to improve my vocabulary with the word funfair am I? Apparently calling it carnival was so abhorrent that we all need a jumped up thesaurus masquerading as a video game to set us right. Variety is the spice of life I suppose.

Jam Sessions


Holy Marshall Amps! This is horrific. There is so much wrong with this you could write a book on it. Anyone who thought placing that silhouette over such an ill-fitting photo was a good idea should have their head seeing to. So should the person who decided the guy in the photo should have a face like that whilst his DS is placed so close his groin. He’s also so good at the game that he doesn’t even need to be looking anywhere near the DS screen. Poser.

But undeniably most disturbing is the guy’s legs. Look how messed up they are! There’s clearly some Photoshopping going on here but the question is why? Ubisoft made the quite bizarre decision to colour in the guy’s right leg at the bottom of the box leaving the ridiculous image looking as if either the guy’s left leg is inhumanly long…or he has three of them. Terrible.

Party Carnival


Holy shit. I’m throwing my invitation away. Ladies and gentlemen, the Union of Box Art Designers on LSD proudly bring to you…the most psychotic pink rabbit you will ever witness. Look at the state of its eyes – the eyes of a crazed murderer. Is that supposed to make children want to play this game? They’ve been giving me nightmares for weeks!

Moving on from psychotic rabbits we can also see an incredibly angry fox. Why is he so pissed off? Probably because someone put a neckerchief on him and forced him to hang out with a frog wearing what is clearly a clip-on tie, a mental pink rabbit and a purple cat with a bell wedged in its chest. I always thought carnivals were weird.

Imagine Girl Band


Okay, so why does no one ever pose like they’re actually playing the instruments? That’s a nice muting of all the strings there, guitarist. That’ll produce a nice chord of…nothing. And either the drummer’s stool has just broken or she’s just not taking it seriously. How she’s going to play that bass drum with her right foot over there is anyone’s guess. The keyboard player has nailed the Stevie Wonder impression though.

Alex Aldridge

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