Cover Me Badd is my regular series looking at the worst video game covers in history. Each article will focus on a specific format. If you missed it, catch up on Part 1: NES games, Part 2: SNES games, Part 3: Nintendo 64 games and Part 4: GameCube games.
A few months back I shared my choices for the 20 worst GameCube box covers. It was inevitable, then, that the Wii would get its turn.
The problem is, the Wii had far more games released for it than previous Nintendo home consoles, and many of them had truly horrendous box art. Since I really couldn’t decide on a final 20, I’ve instead gone with 25 to ensure I didn’t have to drop any of my choices.
As ever, click on a cover to see it bigger: some of them really do have to be seen in their full-sized glory.
Ju-On: The Grudge (UK) (Rising Star Games)
Ju-On was based on a highly successful Japanese horror series that started off as made-for-TV films, were remade as Japanese theatrical movies, then remade again in the US.
Every film featured two iconic ghosts – Kayako (a woman with long hair) and Toshio (a small blue-faced boy who meows like a cat).
The American release of the game did the right thing with the cover, focusing on Kayako’s eyes.
The UK version pretended the film didn’t exist, showed some scaredy-cat woman hiding behind a couch and dubbed it “a fright simulator”. You know, like a flight simulator! Hahahahaha! Sigh.
There’s also a mysterious box quote by someone called ‘T. Kanazawa’. I’ve researched the shit out of this and have no idea who that is.
Deal Or No Deal (US) (Zoo)
In the UK, Deal Or No Deal is hosted by Noel Edmonds. He’s a bit like a parallel universe version of Chuck Norris who discovered the karate school was closed when he was young and went to the chess school next door instead.
He’s a rather timid chap and gets far too excited about the simple act of opening 22 random boxes, talking about strategies involved in “playing the game” as if there was actual skill involved.
It could be worse though – in the US it’s hosted by this suave tanned bald goon, who’s not only mastered the double-point but also seemingly requires that his 26 boxes be opened not by members of the public but stunning supermodels.
Every time you pick up this box you need to wash your hands to wipe the smugness and fake tan off them.
Paws & Claws: Pet Vet (THQ)
There’s so much about this one that annoys me. First and foremost, I just can’t figure out what it is she’s supposed to be wearing. Is she wearing one of those Snuggie blanket things? Surely that’s not standard veterinarian practice?
Also, how big is that rabbit? That can’t be right, can it?
And I’m pretty certain you can’t just let a budgie sit on a fence like that without it flying away.
Either this is the work of an over-eager Photoshop user who got a little carried away, or this young woman is the most irresponsible vet I’ve ever seen.
Sorry, I mean “pet vet”. Because you can get other kinds of vet, apparently.
FIFA Soccer 08 (US) (EA)
The UK version of FIFA 08 featured Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho sharing the cover.
The US version went in a different direction, opting to drop Rooney, put Ronaldinho front and centre and chuck a couple of MLS numpties on there to make an impromptu ‘who can roar like a lion in the most accurate manner’ competition.
Their facial expressions are silly enough but I’m stumped by Ronaldinho’s right arm – is he actually crying out in pain because a steamroller’s run over his elbow?
Canada Hunt (Virtual Play Games)
There are umpteen different hunting games on the Wii for some reason, but while most of them have you hunting deer or bears or the like, only one has you hunting THE ENTIRE NATION OF CANADA.
My wife is Canadian, so I asked her if Canada’s entire population consists solely of two badly rendered deer and a badly rendered turkey.
“Well, I used to live there too”, she replied.
“But now you don’t,” I countered, “you live in Edinburgh with me”.
“Then I guess it’s pretty much spot on”, she sadly conceded.
Girls Life: Sleepover Party (Ubisoft)
I’m not going to focus on the obvious Hollywood connotations that come with young women having a pillow fight, that would be a little bit wrong.
Instead I’m going to focus on the almost demonic face on the girl on the left, who seems hell-bent on destroying her terrified friend with her pillow.
What’s that? You doubt she’s in cahoots with Lucifer? Then look at the tell-tale red glow coming from her wrist.
Bonus points go to the little picture on the bottom right, in which two evil girls mock their friend behind her back.
The cruellest game ever.
“Oh, hello there. This is awkward. Um… I can assure you this isn’t actually what it looks like.
“You see, Susan here was choking on a mouse she was eating so I had to lie her down and do that stomach pump thing to make her spit it out again.
“What do you call it.. the thingy… HEIMLICH, exactly Brian, cheers mate.
“Yes, the Heimlich manoeuvre. I was doing that on Susan to make her cough up a mouse.
“I definitely wasn’t giving her dirty cuddles, I’m frankly offended you’d make such an insinuation.”
Jigsaw Puzzle: Kyou No Wanko (Hudson)
Okay, let’s not fuck around here.
I could have told you that I picked this cover because the dogs’ cold, dead eyes gaze right through my soul as if it could read my deepest darkest secrets and use them to ridicule and humiliate me, shattering my self-confidence and turning me into a mere shell of the person I used to be.
But we both know that’s not the case.
We both know I picked this game because the title has the word ‘wank’ in it, so let’s just accept it.
The Daring Game For Girls (Majesco)
If you’re reading this and you’re a female, you’d better approach with caution.
This cover features badly rendered versions of members of your gender doing things that are apparently considered ‘daring’.
No, I don’t mean lion-taming or playing Russian Roulette. I mean REAL daring stuff, like watering some soil or playing basketball.
And that girl on the bottom left corner… is she… OH MY CRIPES. Get down from that 10-degree incline you silly mare, you’ll do yourself a mischief!
She’s a blummin’ rebel, that one.
Hula Wii (Milestone Inc)
A year earlier, this woman was on holiday on Hawaii with her friends when a freak pineapple-eating accident caused four of her friends (who by sheer coincidence were two sets of twins) to die.
All four of them loved hula dancing, so on the anniversary of their deaths she returned to Hawaii to hula on their behalf, beckoning to the heavens so they could acknowledge her touching gesture.
Amazingly, the twins’ ghosts then appeared on the island, dancing next to her. Afterwards, she wept tears of joy for hours, which eventually turned into wails of madness when she realised she’d been in contact with spectres. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she remains to this day.
And you thought I was just laughing at the crap Photoshop job, you heartless bastard.
Petz: Monkey Madness (Ubisoft)
“Okay Colin, we’d like you to create the cover for our latest Petz game. It’s about monkeys, and we’d like you to get across the theme of monkey madness.”
“Sounds great. Should I just get loads of stock images of monkeys and slap them all over the place, then stick a Wii Remote at the bottom?”
“Well, we’re paying you good money, so I was hoping you’d put a bit more work into it.”
“Then how about I create the image of a monkey drawn entirely in animal poo, highlighting the way in which monkeys regularly throw their own faeces around – an action considered madness by man but in reality perfectly normal in the simian world?”
“Stock images of monkeys and a Wii Remote at the bottom will be fine, Colin.”
Ultimate Duck Hunting (Zoo)
He may think he’s being ‘ultimate’ but in reality this hunter’s hopeless.
He’s decided to make a camouflage jacket out of his toddler’s finger paintings, then make that camouflage completely useless by kneeling in the middle of a lake.
He’s then decided to aim directly up at the sky, seemingly completely ignoring the duck that’s right in front of him.
If what makes this duck hunt ‘ultimate’ is the fact that no animals were harmed during it, then I applaud the developers for their revolutionary take on the hobby. I suspect that isn’t the case, though.
Pool Party (SouthPeak Games)
Every time he tried to take a shot his hot so-called friends would poke fun at him and laugh at his technique.
All the while Bill, the high school Jock, would stand in the background and smirk smugly while staring at nothing in particular. It was embarrassing.
But not this time. This time they’ll pay.
You see, Wayne’s been studying the dark arts, and while his so-called friends taunt him this time around, Wayne will create a hellish larger doppelganger Wayne that will materialise in the background and bop his friends in the back of the head with his pool cue.
OH WAIT HERE HE COMES
Petz Rescue: Wildlife Vet (Ubisoft)
“Hello there Nellie, I hear you’re a sick little not-very-wellephant today!
“Well, let me just pop this stethoscope on your chest to measure your heartbeat and – if you could just move your trunk out the way, that would be super.
“No Nellie, don’t wrap your trunk around my arm, it cuts off the circulation. Nellie, you’re hurting me.
“Must… keep… brave face… for the camera…
“Nellie, stop it! I can’t feel my arm! No, don’t chew the thermometer, I need it to rescue petz! Why are you staring at the camera with that sly expression?
“Don’t end it like this Nellie, I TRUSTED YOOOOOUUU”
Busy Scissors (Little Orbit)
It’s like my friend used to say – “never trust a hairdresser with smooth palms, because you’ll never be able to read their fortune.”
Having said that, she was admitted to a Hawaiian psychiatric hospital after an episode involving hula-loving ghosts, so I always took her advice with a pinch of salt.
Either way, there’s no denying that despite the brave face Lady Gaga is putting on, she’s terrified of the potentially disastrous hairstyle this genetic anomaly might give her.
Those scissors are busy alright: busy crushing dreams.
Story Hour Adventures (Zoo)
I could have gone in a very dark direction with this one but let’s not, and instead let’s ask why a poor man’s Eddie Izzard is reading a book to a young Susan Boyle.
Well, I say “a poor man” but it’s pretty clear this Izzard-alike is packing plenty of cash – that’s the only way I can explain the fact that the pages of his book are solid gold.
At least, I think that’s what the glow is supposed to be.
It might be a radioactive book, which would potentially make the situation even darker than I initially thought.
Walk It Out! (Konami)
Yes, this is a game about walking which uses the Dance Dance Revolution dance mat, meaning it’s essentially about walking on the spot.
I’m not surprised that young chap in the orange jumper is walking away from his family, mind you, because between his one-legged dad, his Dannii Minogue lookalike mum and his oddly massive sister, I’d want to keep my distance from them too.
Seriously, look how tall his sister is compared to his mum, even taking perspective into account.
It’s like Honey I Blew Up The Kid.
Anything involving horses that insinuates possible romance (Various)
There are a surprising number of horse-related games on the Wii, and while they’re all generally innocent stuff the same can’t be said about their covers.
Once again I have to stress that I’m not making insinuations here, all I’m saying is that some people with fouler minds than mine may jump to rather unsavoury conclusions when looking at some of these covers.
Some may wish to suggest that these ladies perhaps love their horses a little too much. I couldn’t possibly comment further.
Anja Rubik is a “top model”, according to this cover.
two minutes on Wikipedia some extensive, exhaustive research I can confirm that she’s a Polish model who was once declared one of the 30 top models of the 2000s by Vogue Paris. So she is a fairly big deal, then.
She’s not really well-known as a figurehead for the world of yoga though, which leads me to believe that despite her grammatically questionable recommendation that you “Relax Body and Mind – It’s So Easy!”, in reality she may have just been chosen so that DreamCatcher could put videos of a pretty lady stretching in the game. Purely speculation, mind.
Having said that, this game is “the first 100% experience”, whatever that means.
Imagine Party Babyz (Ubisoft)
Why would anyone in their right mind think this was a brilliant idea?
Let’s take some photos of babies, let’s badly Photoshop some cake, party hats and maracas (those classic party percussion instruments) onto them, and let’s ask the customer to imagine these ‘babyz’ having a party.
Well, I’ve imagined it now Ubisoft, and what I imagined was carnage.
What I imagined was a destroyed house. What I imagined was a social worker’s report longer than a giraffe’s neck.
What I imagined was someone at Ubisoft actually giving the nod to this cover, gleefully winking at the Euro symbol at the end of the word ‘Imagine’ and imagining the cash it symbolised.
Family Quiz (Funbox Media)
Young Kurt Cobain looks confused.
Perhaps it’s because his family are gawking happily at him, completely unperturbed at the fact that they’re delicately balanced on a flimsy mobius strip.
They seem unconcerned by the universe unfurling around them, leading to such oddities as a whale leaping into Big Ben or Napoleon issuing commands to fighter jets.
They’re apparently not bothered that Egypt and outer space are now within touching distance of each other, or that three ominous question marks look set to mug them at the next opportunity.
No, they’re perfectly fine with all this. And all young Kurt Cobain can do is laugh nervously as existence implodes around him.
This, friends, is Family Quiz.
The Crime Files (Funbox Media)
Bruce Willis and Jamie Lee Curtis team up to try to find out who’s been killing people and levitating their bodies in mid-air.
The killer only strikes when Bruce and Jamie Lee get plastic surgery so as their faces look more and more deformed they come ever closer to finding the true identity of the killer.
Can they find out who did it before they become totally unrecognisable and their forensic squad runs out of levitating chalk?
God, I fucking hope so.
My Ballet Studio (505 Games)
On the left we have a lovely ballerina who may be dressed like a princess but clearly has a rebellious streak.
This explains her decision to go for the “crotch chop” pose made famous by motley WWE wrestling stable D-Generation X.
Fair play to her.
Less fair play, however, to her smaller ballerina friend who would appear to be an android child programmed to believe it was built for dancing.
Fit Music (O2 Games)
A more childish site would laugh at the silhouette at the top of the Fit Music logo and claim it looks like the person in it has a large walloper, but I wouldn’t cheapen this otherwise professional article with such muck.
Instead I’m going to politely say that European Fitness Champion Patrizia Salviato looks absolutely terrifying.
I’m then going to support this suggestion with a statement that I’d be encouraged to get fitter if it meant I could outrun her in a dark alleyway.
So in a way I suppose the game fits its purpose.
Sukeban Shachou Rena Wii (Jorudan)
In this game, only released in Japan (like you’re surprised), Rena is the cat CEO of a fictional company called Cat Queen.
She is a cat dressed like a cat.
The game consists of mini-games in which you have to play the piano as a cat, dodge cats jumping at you, steal money from a cat and dance to please your cat.
Essentially, if you can describe an action while including the word ‘cat’ it’s a potential mini-game here.
Amazingly, despite its clearly Japan-friendly cover, it’s actually one of the worst-selling Wii games of all time, shifting only one hundred copies in its first week in Japan.
Now I feel bad.
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My personal pick is “Action Girls Racing” for just so many reasons.
Dear god, what have they done to that poor girl’z lipz!?
Absolute gold. Some of these look like they were just slapped together the very same day they were going to print.
Brilliant, the pool party one had me in stiches.