I’m gonna plant my flag here and say that every single game cover should be original physical visual art of some sort. Painting, illustration, collage, photograph-of-sculpture; whatever. And the same goes for film posters. And it should express something about the ideas in the work, instead of screaming at full logo density for attention, such that it’s impossible to make out any signal in the forest of noise.
THIS IS ANOTHER WAY that Sega really got it right with the Genesis: big clamshell case for displaying big, physical art. Early Genesis games especially—the first couple of waves, before they started to hem in the template then moved to the red border—tend to rely on absolutely gorgeous paintings to distinguish themselves. Even setting aside the changing template, you can often tell when a Genesis game came out just by the energy, detail, and distinctiveness of the artwork. You look at the case to Ghouls ’N Ghosts or Altered Beast, and you think, this is an original work that has something to communicate. They feel like hardback novels.
The presentation sets this whole mood for the kind of engagement you expect to invest in your experience with the game. It decommodifies the work and presents it as a respectful discussion. Come; spend time to understand me; I have things to show you.