Meme: Box Art That Makes Me Want to Play

100LittleDolls tagged me to do the following.

This question was originally posted on Yudhishthira’s Dice:

Ladies, what RPG covers (or interiors) have you seen that involve a woman in the art that make you say, “I want to play that” or, just as good “I want to play her”. Or that make you feel like it is a game you could like, or be included in by a group of guys you’d never met and whose maturity you didn’t neccisarily know?

Tekanji turned it into a meme for women gamers.

Meme Rules:

1. Copy the text of the original challenge from Yudhishthira’s Dice and give a proper link attribution.
2. Copy these rules exactly (including any links).
3. Find images of game covers (interiors are okay, too) that make you want to play the game. Any kind of game — video game, card game, tabletop RPG, etc — is fine. Post them and include a short (or long) explanation on why the image makes/made you want to play the game.
4. The original challenge is about finding out what women think about how game art is marketed and therefore it is targeted at women. I’d like to keep it that way, please.
5. You can tag as many or as few people as you want. You do not need to be tagged to participate in the meme.
6. When you make your post, please post the link on this thread so we can all see what others have said.

My response to the meme is the Japanese and European cover for Ico.

Ico PAL Box Art
 Without knowing anything about the game, I was drawn to this cover because it was just so different from everything else on the shelves. The art style has a surreal quality, very different from the rest. You don’t know what or who “Ico” is. All you see are two people running towards (or away?) from something. Towering structures dominate the picture and dwarf the pair. A vast, indistinct landscape surrounds them. They seem completely alone. One of the characters, wielding a sword, pulls another character along by the hand. The person behind the sword-carrier is taller. It looks a bit feminine, and I would think the viewer, if they had not already turned the box over to read the description, would think it is a female. The one with the sword, seems male but you can’t really tell.

The original question asked respondents to cite covers depicting women which made them want to play the game. Although the character that the viewer thinks is female is in the position of less agency and less physical power (it is following the other one, who wields the sword), this fact did not turn me away. The overall presentation of the game does not depict a sexualised and objectified image of woman nor an ideal, testosterone-dripping image of a man. Ico‘s cover shows two people on a presumably perilous journey. There’s a story behind this image, and this intrigued me.

I had seen the European cover just after the game’s release in shops, whilst I was living in the UK. I did not buy a PlayStation 2 until early 2005. As many know, Ico is one of the most critically-acclaimed games released for the PS2. Unfortunately, I played the less-developed, bonus-free, and in some parts less-challenging, North American version (complete with a different and horribly ugly cover). I like to think that the bits that were left out of the North American version do not detract from the experience. Ico is one of my favourite games.

Typically, I would be more attracted to a game if it portrayed a woman on the cover who is shown to be competent and strong. I would be turned off if the women on the cover are sexualised and objectified. Ico doesn’t have that. Although we are used to seeing the gender roles as displayed by the characters on the cover of Ico, neither character appears objectified or that they were created to fulfill some sort of fantasy.

  10 comments for “Meme: Box Art That Makes Me Want to Play

Comments are closed.