Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Box Art Battle: Lode Runner vs. Raid on Bungling Bay

I thought I'd borrow an idea from Bryan's "which box art is better?" posts, only with a Famicom twist.

I picked up two boxed Famicom games the other day, Lode Runner and Raid on Bungling Bay. Both of these were made by Hudson Soft under license from Broderbund in the early 1980s. The carts of both feature the same cover art, which is very similar to that on the pulse line carts only without the pulse lines, but their boxes are completely different.

The Lode Runner box (above) is a bright cartoony one. I like it. It has a lot of color and the picture takes up almost the whole front of the box. This is also a really small box, its just slightly larger than the cart itself.

The picture is very similar to the game, except that in the game you don't have a gun. And the characters look nothing like that. But its got the gist of it. Walking up ladders, sliding along ropes, being chased by bad guys - Lode Runner's got all that.

The Raid on Bungling Bay one, on the other hand, is a hard one to figure:
Raid on Bungling Bay is a game in which you control a little helicopter that goes around dropping bombs on islands. So the tiny little speck you can barely see silhouetted against the setting sun makes sense. But what is that face?

It seems to be some sort of cyborg, I think that must be the leader of the Bungling Empire? Or something? But we don't see anything like that in the game.

I actually like this box art. It is very dark and strange. It is the sort of thing that Dieter from Sprockets would have designed, or at least heartily approved of in a monkey-touching sort of way.
Now is the time at HudsonSoft when we dance.

I just find the contrast between these two boxes to be kind of interesting. Same maker, same era, same general type of game, but radically different approaches to box art.


  1. Great idea, Sean! I love writing these kinds of posts for my blog :) Anyway, personally, I prefer the Lode Runner box. In fact, I've long wanted the game simply because of its box art. (Yes, I'm that kind of gamer.) That said the box art for Raid on Bungling Bay isn't bad at all. In fact, it's pretty interesting, IMO. I think I'd like it better, though, if the art were more horizontal and took up more of the box cover, like the Lode Runner art does.

  2. Thanks, Bryan, you gave me the idea:) I prefer the Lode Runner box as well, its kind of nicer. I think I would like the Raid on Bungling Bay one better if it looked a bit more "early 80s", like the game itself does.

  3. While both boxes have great artwork, I will have to go with the Lode Runner box. That artwork pretty much sums up video games back in the day. The graphics were simple and the cartoony art kind of goes nice with that. Either way, how can you not love old-school video game box art?

  4. Possibly worth noting that the Bungeling Bay art was used by pretty much every release of that game, so I guess it came from Broderbund rather than Hudson - the Lode Runner art is unique to the Famicom version though.

  5. Mark - Touch him! Touch my monkey! [babbles in German] Touch him, LOVE HIM!


  6. taizou - yeah I noticed that when looking around the internet just now. Dieter must work for Broderbund rather than Hudson:)

  7. Make sure you cover the box for 'Gorby's Pipeline' eventially, because nothing says puzzle fun like former Soviet premieres!

  8. Way ahead of you there, Zach! Well, at least with the cart art, I don't have the box for Gorby!


  9. I predictably prefer the Lode Runner one! I'd probably prefer the game too but I haven't played either of them yet. I have got Lode Runner 64 for the N64 though :)

  10. You should definitely try the original! I have the N64 one too, but I much prefer the Famicom Lode Runner to it.