Cultural Design

Today I’m talking about the different designs in culture and how they’re different. I think this can be illustrated well by looking at video game box art because it’s sometimes very different from region to region. And they make these changes to try and appeal to the audience of that region. Let’s look at the first three Mega Man games as an example.


First we have The Japanese box art for the first Mega Man game. The art style is very animated, it looks like a cartoon. It’s something that would appeal to kids. And this is also the official art style as the characters look like they do in the actual game.


Next we have the North American box art for the first Mega Man. It looks like they were going for a more realistic look. Note that the Mega Man characters are robots, but here he looks more like a person. And he’s also carrying a gun. This was what they thought would appeal to a North American audience.


Next is the European box art for the first Mega Man game. It looks more like a combination of the two styles. This time the colors and appearance of Mega Man look more accurate, but he also still resembles a person.


The Japanese box art for Mega Man 2. Note the art style is consistent with the last game. I also like the composition of the piece.


The North American art again. Note that it has not remained consistent with the last game. The colors are right this time, but Mega Man is still carrying a gun and looks like a real person.


The European box art. What happened? Not only does it not remain consistent with the last game, I’m not even sure it looks like it’s from a Mega Man game. It looks more like a fantasy painting. I’m not sure how else to describe that.


Looking at Mega Man 3 now. Once again the Japanese art style has remained consistent. A very fun colorful image.


The North American art. Now we’ve come full circle. This is the art style the American’s would use for the rest of the NES Mega Man games. It still has this sort of realistic style to it, but now the characters actually resemble their Japanese counterparts.


And finally the European version. It would appear by this point the Europeans were trying to make the characters look just as they do in the Japanese art. But we still have that realistic looking face in the background, which looks out of place.

This series had varying different art styles to begin with but in the end the American’s and Europeans got closer and closer to the Japanese style. Does that mean The Japanese always had it right? Since it’s their games to begin with I’m going to say yes.



2 thoughts on “Cultural Design

  1. reghodge01

    I really enjoy looking back at the old video game box art for the NES, SNES, and Genesis. Its very clear that the Japanese were light years ahead of their American counterparts in design for video games. Though the US eventually stepped up their game I am still partial to the box art from the past, which was primarily Japanese.

    Reg Hodge

    1. justinbrennan19

      Wow, it’s pretty interesting to see how different regions apply such diiferent designs to their box art. I remember these game boxes growing up, so it’s pretty cool to see different regions takes on them. I agree with Reg, the Japanese art was way ahead of the North Americans and the European, mostly because their box art graphics resemble the game much better.


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