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Old games you bought based on the box etc.


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I’ve been playing Astyanax on the NES and, well, it’s not great.

 

I watched some YT videos on this and the comments were fairly positive. Basically people playing it as a kid and having fond memories, the game being super tough etc.

 

I don’t believe this game reviewed well, so the people who bought it did so on the strength of the box or had it bought for them.

 

I only did this a couple of times, I bought Section Z on the NES as I was ‘only allowed’ a budget price game and the cover looked cool. I have to say I didn’t really like it as it was far too hard. The other was Megaman 2 and this was based purely of feedback from my friend that the first game was great. This as a fantastic choice and made my a MM fan for life.

 

Anyway after this I started reading Mean Machines and the other games I bought from then on were ones that reviewed well.

 

Just wondered if people regularly bought based on looks, schoolyard feedback, bought for them and not magazine reviews. What were your experiences buying games like this and how long were you doing it for?

 

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  • Goemon changed the title to Old games you bought based on the box etc.

Back in my C16 days everything was bought on the strength of the box art. There wasn't really any readily available source for reviews, so it was pot luck, really.

 

Even when we got a C64, it was a while before we were able to get Zzap on a regular basis, but we had word of mouth and tape trading at least.

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I bought loads of budget Speccy games based on the box art - Agent X and Feud are two examples. I'm not sure who the cover artist was but I still really like his art:

Feud.jpg.2116f9b47d3a2254f2767947ee64bdf0.jpgAgentX.thumb.jpg.80378debed63141a68f5355cece87291.jpg

 

 

Later on, when i had a C64, Hi Tec software did a whole range of games based on Hanna Barbera characters, of which I bought a few based purely on the recognition of the character. They weren't bad for budget games.

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Berks_Cover.thumb.jpg.cd6b35d3e4da67a11f77f2eff8cf39e3.jpg

 

The Berks Trilogy, I think the Bear with sunglasses won us over. Actually became a family favourite, I remember making maps with my dad for the third game.

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The cover art has absolutely no relation to the game what so ever from what I remember, but it looks very dynamic. It did lead up to the blurb on the back though as it was infuriating. Especially one part where you come out of a long tunnel which neither my brother or I could ever beat, I'm not even sure if it was possible or not but we tried repeatedly

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I didn't know there were Spectrum magazines when I got my first computer and I bought budget games based on the box.  Chiller, I remember, was completely dreadful. Then Codemasters came along and their bright colours and uniform box art layout, with the mega honest review quotes ("completely brilliant" - The Oliver Twins) made me buy loads of their stuff. Then I found Sinclair User which was a bit more Stoic and someone said Crash magazine is what you want, and I pretty much stopped buying games altogether when they started covertapes. 

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8 hours ago, dumpster said:

I didn't know there were Spectrum magazines when I got my first computer and I bought budget games based on the box.  Chiller, I remember, was completely dreadful. Then Codemasters came along and their bright colours and uniform box art layout, with the mega honest review quotes ("completely brilliant" - The Oliver Twins) made me buy loads of their stuff. Then I found Sinclair User which was a bit more Stoic and someone said Crash magazine is what you want, and I pretty much stopped buying games altogether when they started covertapes. 


This is an interesting one. So did you buy stuff based on recognition of the Codemasters name?

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13 minutes ago, Goemon said:


This is an interesting one. So did you buy stuff based on recognition of the Codemasters name?

 

I know I bought every Ultimate game based on the artwork on the box for sure. Even Cyberun...

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21 hours ago, JamesC said:


atom.jpg.652c018ab1309b1c5dd79819b0ce4f62.jpg

 

Christ, this image just brought back some memories. It was just like playing the cartoon! If I could've seen me three decades later playing Cuphead I wouldn't have had words for it.

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I think by the time I was old enough to buy games, I was reading games mags. Plus, my local computer shop, Castle Computers in Lancaster, usually let you try out games before you bought them. So I'm not sure if I ever bought a game purely on the basis of the box art. That said, I really, really wanted to buy Wild Wheels on the Amiga, purely because the illustration on the front was so good:

 

image.thumb.png.fa6ba2ad067f793229815f3398521bb9.png

 

I'd assumed it was Bob Wakelin's work as it looks  like his style, but the illustration appears to be by Gary McNamara. Man, who wouldn't want to buy a game with that kind of vibe? Despite me not liking football and the game being a kind of primitive version of Rocket League, and despite the game getting mediocre reviews, I'd somehow convinced myself that I would like it. Thank god it never went on sale, and spent its entire shelf life at £24.99 - having looked at it on Youtube, it looks pretty irritating to play.

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1 hour ago, Goemon said:


This is an interesting one. So did you buy stuff based on recognition of the Codemasters name?

I think so.  I was about 13 years old and £1.99 was all I could afford.  After buying utter rubbish from Mastertronic (I appreciate they had their share of decent games but I happened to pick Chiller) I got BMX Simulator, a super sprint game and one of the Dizzy titles and they all seemed loads better.  Their packaging was very distinct bright colours so they stood out in the Asda display. 

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When I was young/first got the Amiga I definitely bought things based on the box. Three spring to mind:

 

48892-hong-kong-phooey-no-1-super-guy-amiga-front-cover.jpg.c28a6ea6efff566a936c944e3013cf8d.jpg27879--darius-plus.png.94b2814da1151cfd946e32821444518b.pnged8de908c7e1de7839f87732ed41f67e2b0f2d23.jpg.dfa7a9e8d9d63475d726879dcc3def89.jpg

I had no idea what Hong Kong Phooey was at the time, it was just a dog doing karate so sounded cool. Darius, again, no idea but maybe I recognised the Taito logo from the arcade/other games? Cyber World - a game I'd forgotten the name of for about 30 years - I definitely just bought because of the front cover. Awful game.

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Posted (edited)

I also bought this on the c64 - I presume the original box art wasn't used for the budget release as it had caused some minor controversy? 

 

*Edit* actually looks like this was the full price box art as well but the 'controversial' images were just adverts in magazines?

 

 

BarbarianII-TheDungeonOfDrax(Kixx).jpg

Edited by Stoppy2000
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3 hours ago, K said:

 Plus, my local computer shop, Castle Computers in Lancaster, usually let you try out games before you bought them. 

 

I worked there, first job after leaving school.  Probably 1989 to 1994. Great days. Proper indie shop.  

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The one ands only time my mum spontaneously offered to buy me a game, I chose Cybernator in Toys R Us based on nothing but the cover.

 

Things that attracted me to Cybernator:

 

1) A big robot firing a gun.

2) It had the Konami logo and they'd yet to let me down at that point.

3) A big robot firing a gun.

 

33402-Cybernator_(Europe)-1459058863.jpeg.72f60b9e3356b088c589ef3712e3ce92.jpeg

 

It remains one of my favourite games of all time. I recently discovered the romhack that reinstates the character portraits and the cutscene of the guy blowing his brains out from the Japanese version, so that's nice.

 

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1 hour ago, dumpster said:

I worked there, first job after leaving school.  Probably 1989 to 1994. Great days. Proper indie shop.  

 

It was a great shop - back when computer shops were more like bike shops, in that you could not only buy stuff, but get advice and support as well.

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Oddly, most of my 'pick based on the box art' games came in my teens, despite having a computer in the home from the age of four — I was an avid magazine reader from when we first got an ST in the 80s, plus with friends and family who also had home computers and the proliferation of demo disks I very rarely picked a game blind.

 

That said, I remember getting this beauty because it was on sale (in Boots of all places, I think) and the art looked cool:

896626800_GoldenAxebox.thumb.jpg.ea06247b1d2fbed6fe82f793316690e8.jpg

 

Was not disappointed. The only version of Golden Axe I've ever completed, in fact (2- and 1-player)!

 

But, as otherwise stated, I generally didn't go in blind... until I picked up a Saturn in late '98. By that point I'd been a PC gamer for four years, and only sporadically picked up multiplatform magazines, so — combined with most Saturn games at that point being available cheaply second hand — I had a happy few months of picking up games that looked good based on the front cover. For the most part, that actually worked out pretty well! I guess the absolute highlights of that approach were:

 

1451221976_NightsintoDreams.thumb.jpg.e5f957fcb56b854b3af4b6bb129a120d.jpg

 

And

 

2019124744_GuardianHeroes.thumb.jpg.2023cfc99a4575f68f52c5fbd40e1d8c.jpg

 

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We got into 8-bit micros (via the C64) very late, around the end of 1990, so we got more games from monthly magazine covermounts than actual store purchases. With Commodore Format regularly including two full games (and sometimes a demo or two) on their covertape, it was like some kind of old-fashioned PS+ or Games with Gold. :D Also, at this point in time there were a bunch of older games available on budget labels, so I'd hear about the "classics" in magazines and then pick them up cheap in Boots or through a mail-order service.

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When I had my NES, I think I was a bit more careful with what I bought, because I could only really get games for birthdays/Xmas. I used to go by what I'd played on demo machines, what friends had, or reviews I'd read.

By the time I got my Megadrive, I had a bit of YTS money and games were more easily available second hand (we had a couple of second hand games shops in town). Pick ups based on the cover were:

 

 RnR.jpg.ff8ce26d5e5bdd25fa8d4698cc1268fa.jpg

 

While I like the front cover, it was the screenshots on the back cover which really sold it to me. It was clear from those that this was in the same vein as RC Pro AM, which I'd loved. 

 

230661-hellfire-genesis-front-cover.thumb.jpg.52f7f564e35006fdd7173ac425a5b8c7.jpg

 

I wanted a shoot em up and picked this up based purely on the awesome cover. I don't think I even considered anything else. It's still one of my favourite covers and one of the best shooters on the Megadrive.

 

I bought Maximum Carnage based on this advert:

Spider-Man-Venom-Maximum-Carnage-C-2.thumb.jpg.9c64a8b2ee86483c53849c772d6aaeec.jpg

 

I was a hge Spider-Man fan at the time and, while I wasn't a massive fan of scrolling beat 'em ups, the great roster of characters made this a must buy. I got it pretty much on release. The game gets mixed reviews but I had a lot of fun with it. As a single pleyer experience I think it's actually better than lots of other, more celebrated, games.

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On 04/07/2022 at 12:38, keptbybees said:

Berks_Cover.thumb.jpg.cd6b35d3e4da67a11f77f2eff8cf39e3.jpg

 

The Berks Trilogy, I think the Bear with sunglasses won us over. Actually became a family favourite, I remember making maps with my dad for the third game.
 

I think this could well have been the first game(s) my brother and I bought for ourselves. And, like you, I remember doing a map for one of the games. Something to do with keys or collectables...

 

Really tempted to try a C16 emulator and give them a go again.

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