Phalanx (Visualization: Bad Box Art)


THIS is the cover for a video game. Yeah. This.

Don’t believe me? Screw you, get off my site. But seriously, this is real. In fact, it’s actually a one of the most notorious covers in gaming. Since it’s old though, newer gamers may not have seen this, or older gamers may have forgotten it (cause you know, they’re old). So let’s analyze this.

  • We see an old guy with a scruffy beard.
  • He’s wearing overalls, so he’s either a farmer or an outcast from the 90?s.
  • He’s wearing a weird hat (a fedora?), which isn’t straw, so maybe he’s senile. Or just has bad fashion taste.
  • He’s strumming a banjo so he’s obviously inbred. (All of these are jokes, by the way)
  • He looks confused (as is everyone who even looks at this).
  • And it seems that there’s a dog sitting next to him. But his freakin’ head is missing.


Okay, so that’s odd enough. But what’s that in the background? Oh, it’s just the night sky…with a spaceship that’s speeding off. And what’s it say? “The hyper-speed shoot-out in space.” Wait…what? Some old dude that’s probably the son of his uncle and a spaceship?!


But scratch that for a second. Look at the name. What the hell is a phalanx? Well, it has many meanings: a battle formation, a round piece of wood (giggity), the joints between fingers and toes…yeah, I think it’s safe to say that it’s most likely referring to the battle formation. And that’s where the game part kicks in (you know, cause it’s actually a cover for a video game). Phalanx is a space-shooter, (or a shmup or shoot ‘em up). This is what they mean by the shoot-out in space. Now, as random as this may be, it’s actually smart and fantastic marketing. This cover stands out, it grabs your attention in terrible ways. It’s ugly, but just ugly enough to get you interested. It’s not like other covers, especially ones in the same genre. But you still don’t believe me? “Oh, that’s just a random picture.”


This is a Super Nintendo game. It was originally released on the Sharp X68000, which is a Japan-only home computer, in 1990. It found its home on the SNES in 1992. There was also a remake for the Game Boy Advance released in 2001. Unfortunately, though, they redesigned the cover. Apparently, after Y2K, old men just didn’t cut it for video game covers.

It’s just not the same.