Hi everyone, welcome to another Box Art Brawl! We’ve got a great one for you this week, just in case the image and title didn’t quite reveal it.
Last week we took a look at Mario Golf (which is out now on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass!), pitting North America against Japan to see which box design is better. The more “classic” design of North American box art came out on top, garnering 67% of the vote. It seems that the more “artistic” approach of the Japanese version didn’t really sit well with readers, and we completely understand!
This week, to celebrate The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past’s 30th anniversary in North America, we’ll be looking at how the region’s box art design compares to Japan’s. We won’t include Europe on this occasion, as its box art is so similar to NA’s that it doesn’t really warrant being considered a separate entity.
Be sure to vote in the poll below; but first, let’s look at the box art designs themselves.
The North American cover of A Link to the Past is very chic. There’s just something about that golden background, right? It’s an aesthetic that’s been prevalent in Zelda box art since the very first game on the NES, and while it’s diminished a bit with later titles, we don’t think anyone would complain if Nintendo used the same design for every main Zelda title. It’s just works.
It’s also the first game in the series to feature a sword piercing the letter “Z” in the Zelda title, a design choice that returned in Link’s Awakening and – to a lesser extent – Ocarina of Time, before taking over. holidays. until Breath of the Wild in 2017. Again, it looks like vintage Zelda, and we love it!
The Japanese box art follows the general tone of the region’s NES Zelda games, featuring a handsome drawing of Link in a typical action pose against a backdrop of The Lost Woods. The Master Sword is clearly visible in the background, lit by beautiful rays of sunlight. It’s the polar opposite of NA box art, but arguably does just as well to describe what the Zelda series is all about.
The logo itself is also absolutely stunning. The gold metallic lettering set against a striking image of the Triforce is iconic in a totally different way than the NA version. This is something we haven’t really seen since, as Japan’s logo design is more or less on par with other regions.
All in all, it’s definitely a nicer design looking, in our eyes, but does it outweigh the classic gold aesthetic of the NA box? Hmm, not sure…
Thank you for voting! We’ll see you next time for another round of the Box Art Brawl.