Oh, dear. First released in the arcades in 1985, Metro-Cross was later ported to the Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Famicom, and ZX Spectrum. Arcade games don’t have actual “box art”, but usually promotional artwork or designs on the arcade cabinet. Fortunately for us, the game was also released outside of the arcade giving us this:
Before everything was rad in the 90?s, things were pretty much the same in the 80?s (though just a tad bit lamer). The cover itself, while definitely bad already, wouldn’t be as terrible if it wasn’t for the skater and his wonderful facial expression. Over the years, artwork has gotten better, but it seems that in the early days of gaming artists weren’t too keen on this kind of media.
Sure, safety first, and I’m glad that something kids would be interested in shows this, but could they really not find anything better to wear? Obviously you will be skating, as depicted by the cover, but was this really necessary? I can’t say for sure, but it looks like he’s wearing a full body suit. Now, is that safe? What if he lands in a pit of fire and has to take his clothes off really quick? He’d have a difficult time removing the full body suit, but now I’m reaching into soft-core gay porn territory, so let’s move on.
Goofy smile aside and terrible clothing out of the way, let’s talk about the background. I really like that they made it as a checkered pattern, as this pattern is popular amongst the skater crowd. If you’re familiar with Vans shoes (which is also popular with the skater culture) you’d be hard-pressed to not find at least one pair that includes this checkered style. The problem, though, is that it conflicts with the real-life photograph. Rarely seen these days, it was very common to see actual people on video game covers back then, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the company would make this decision, but I think it would have been better if it had a drawn character on it, and not this guy. Speaking of, was there any decision at all, or did someone just take a picture and say, “Sure, that works”?
Lastly, we come to the oddly positioned black and yellow…something…that serves as the border. The two thick lines suggest that this is a road on which he’s skating (so much for safety, kids), but what’s with all the yellow dots on it? I’ve never seen a road designed like this. Why is it like this? Why are there random triangles protruding from the sides? Why is there a man walking on the top of the box? Why am I asking these questions? Why am I still typing? Why doesn’t anyone like me?
I’d like to find this guy and see what he’s up to now, and what he thinks about being a part of this terrible piece of “art.” But what if he’s dead now and I’m making fun of a dead guy? Now I just made myself sad. I guess it’d be interesting to note that the game was published by Epyx….not very epyc, guys.