Monday, July 8, 2013

Uniform Label Designs on Classic NES Games, Part 1


Because no one demanded it!  It's a hyper interesting look at label design uniformity among publishers on the NES!  Trust me, this two part feature is not to be missed.


If I were to guess, unless you have very few games, I would say that most people organize their games alphabetically.  I know I always do when I have mine on display.  Doing this, however, might keep you from noticing something that is quite common on the NES:  Several publishers use the same label design in their releases.  Not just on the front art, but on the end label of the games as well.

Today we're going to take a look at 21 different companies and the end label designs they use on some of their games.  Why 21?  Because I thought I only found 20 and it turns out I miscounted.  So let's get started!

1:  Acclaim
Acclaim games with black labels.

Acclaim games with white labels.

2:  Brøderbund
Brøderbund games right align the game logo on the label.

3:  Capcom
Early Capcom games are a dark blue color.

Later Capcom games are purple.

4:  Culture Brain
Many Culture Brain games have white end labels.

5:  Data East
Data East games with solid color labels and thin fonts.

Data East games with solid color labels and thick fonts.

6:  FCI, Inc.
FCI, Inc. games have solid color end labels with the game logo on them.

7:  HAL Labs
HAL Labs end labels are black with the game name in white text.

8:  Hudson Soft
Some Hudson Soft games with colorful end labels.

9:  Jaleco
Many Jaleco games have white end labels with red text...

...while other Jaleco games have white end labels with blue text!

10:  JVC
JVC games have a sandy brown look to them.

11:  Kemco Seika
Some Kemco Seika games with black end labels and the game logo.

12:  Konami
Most Konami games have silver end labels with the game logo.

13:  LJN, Ltd.
Older LJN, Ltd. games are black with the game logo...

...while newer LJN, Ltd. games are white with plain text on them.

14:  Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley games are all silver with the game name in black text.

15:  Mindscape, Inc.
Some Mindscape, Inc. games with plain white end labels.

16:  Nintendo
Nintendo "black box" games all look the same!

17:  Ocean
Some Ocean games with plain black end labels.

18:  SNK
SNK games with a colorful stripe down the left and right side of the label.

19:  Sunsoft
Several Sunsoft games with blue end labels and the game logo.

20:  Tengen
The three licensed Tengen carts all look the same!

21:  Ultra Games
Ultra Games follows a similar design to Konami, only black.
As someone that likes things in a series to have a uniform design, this is a fascinating thing to me.  It would be one thing if it were exclusively games in a series that all looked the same, but this practice is found on almost any game that publisher released.  You definitely don't see companies doing this today.  In fact, the last time I remember a publisher doing something like this with their games was Capcom and Konami with their PlayStation 2 games.

Be sure to come back next week and see part 2 where we look at the front side of these games and see those similarities!