Movie posters are notorious for overusing orange/blue contrast, but video game covers are even worse. It's gotten especially bad over the last year, as I noted in a previous feature.

It's the lack of imagination that gets me, I suppose. These covers almost always follow a strict formula: a vertical line down the middle of the package divides orange and blue, often as a lazy way to distinguish opposing factions. Effectively, game publishers are saying, "There are good guys and bad guys in this game. There will be conflict. You like conflict. Buy our game, idiot."

Publishers also think that some regions are stupider than others, as demonstrated by the difference between the North American and European boxart for Tron: Evolution: Battle Grids. Gamers in the United States are dumb, make no mistake, but at least they're able to grasp the cover art's creativity and subtlety without needing additional color to drive the point home.

(The point, by the way, is that two guys are fighting.)


The phenomenon isn't exclusive to western territories, either; it creeped over to Japan in recent months. It's a good thing, too, because otherwise, you might never know that Nurarihyon no Mago: Hyakki Ryouran Taisen and Sengoku Basara 3: Utage are games in which people solve disagreements with violence.


Namco's a fan, too. You may not realize this, but did you know that fighting games involve people fighting? The red and blue colors say so!


Namco produces appropriately colored accessories as well. Ideally, when you're playing a competitive fighting game, your left hand should be stuffed in a bucket of ice (to keep you cool under pressure), while your other hand should be on fire (to help you push the buttons faster). It's also great if you want a fight stick that looks like a variety pack of Doritos.


Mobile games are also catching on. In Life Is Crime, the red side represents crime, while the blue side is also crime.


Granted, the color scheme actually makes sense with superhero games, even if these covers look like they took all of five seconds to design. "Cyclops is blue! And, uh...crap, who's a bad mutant that wears red? Oh, Magneto!"


So when does the color scheme not make sense? Well if it can apply to an 8-bit demake of a Japanese visual novel, I think it's safe to say that you can use it with anything.


...including dancing games. I'm having trouble seeing the conflict here. Does the orange side represent Stop Diabetes? Maybe we should be teaming up with Stop Diabetes instead of fighting them.


Sometimes, it's hard to tell which is the good side and which is the evil side. I don't care, either. I'm siding with Cookie Monster.