Saturday, August 27, 2016


So, it's the 25th anniversary of the Super Nintendo, and to celebrate, Bryan Ochalla of The Gay Gamer fame posted his personal experiences with the system. I'll be nicking that idea for a future blog entry, because it's an interesting slice of history and also because my own relationship with the Super NES was a bit more... contentious than others. HOWEVER, I wanted to get this off my chest first.

Remember Phalanx? This hopelessly bland side-scrolling shooter would be easy to forget, if not for its American box art. Here it is in case it's slipped your mind, but it probably hasn't, because it really sticks with you.
image from Wikipedia
Yes, you're seeing exactly what you think you're seeing. People tend to react to this image with confusion, then irrational rage, but I kind of have a soft spot for it. Instead of stamping the box with an illustration of a predictable space battle, the artist went for something a bit sillier and more conceptual. You know all the UFO sightings in the deep south, usually by rednecks who've hit the moonshine a little too hard? Let's have the ship from our game be that UFO. It takes a second to get it, but it's really not that hard to understand.

Sadly, later Phalanx boxes would be a more accurate reflection of the game inside the package, which is to say, unremarkable. Here's how the Game Boy Advance version looked when it hit store shelves in 2001.
image from Emuparadise
There's that predictable space battle I mentioned earlier. There's nothing wrong with the illo, but it's hard to distinguish it from the kazillion other drawings you've seen on the front of video game boxes. In fact, it looks suspiciously similar to another Game Boy Advance launch title, Iridion 3D.
image from Wikipedia. Again.
Gee, exciting. Really.

The artwork used to promote Phalanx in Europe was less predictable, but it's not hard to understand why Kemco declined to use it in the United States.
image from Giant Bomb
An extremely long ship plunging into parting skies. Nothing weird about that, right? Right? Uh, why are you staring like that?
image from Tumblr/SNL

1 comment:

  1. The European box art is pretty much just a less cropped version of the art on Phalanx's Japanese box art. And the way it's presented on the Japanese box, it looks even MORE PHALLIC. Just take a look.

    Anyway, definitely agree that the US SNES box art is better. That hillbilly with banjo cover is way more memorable than the game itself.