Welcome to a new feature here on Bio Break — Top Tens! Every so often, I’ll be churning out a listicle that covers something of interest to me that I’d like to share with you. Today’s topic: The coolest box art that the Atari 2600 ever produced.
1. Berzerk — I don’t know about you, but I’d totally go see this movie, read this book, and/or buy this breakfast cereal.
2. Defender — This one always struck my imagination for a few reasons. First, that weird late ’70s/early ’80s fashion and hair. Second, the way a lot of book and game covers in the 80s featured elements that overlapped and bled into each other. But third, because this art forces you to look from the perspective of the soon-to-be kidnapped people on the ground. It’s a story in itself.
3. River Raid — I always adored Activision’s minimalistic Atari 2600 covers. There was always movement, action, and those trademark rainbow stripes. This one may be my favorite of them all.
4. Missile Command – Dang, could they have put more onto this cover? It’s like you’ve got Rebel Joe over there, calmly taking out nukes while his computer is exploding and a holocaust is happening over to the right there.
5. Adventure – This reminds me of every cheesy elemntery school textbook I used to own. That late ’70s fantasy look is very distinct but also holds a lot of personality.
6. Pitfall — OK, one more Activision cover, because Pitfall is a dang classic. I think they crammed in every obstacle and objective into this fantastic 3-D piece of art. I kind of want it for my room.
7. Cosmic Ark – This one gets cited a lot as a great piece of video game cover art. I like the complex model and how this looks like it might be the cover to an ’80s glam rock album.
8. Star Raiders – Putting the viewer in a first-person perspective works well here, especially to get the imagination cranking.
9. Robot Tank – Shh… it’s another Activision one, although this cover has a much different art style (but the same rainbow stripes!). I loved scifi illustrations like this.
10. E.T. – Yes, everyone loves to bag on this game, but it’s a fantastic illustrated cover with a lot of things to spot and a sense of movement and power.