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Cover Art Talks: Dinosaurs For Hire


Eons ago, the authors here at Retro Dustbin wrote about their favorite video game cover art. Well, we thought it would be cool to write about some more video game box art.

Here’s a game I randomly picked out in Johnny’s growing collection: Dinosaurs for Hire. Originally a comic, this game is all about, well, dinosaurs kicking some tail.

dinosforhire cover

Major Tail.

At first glance, it’s ridiculous. I mean, what is there to say? This is one intense scene and, yeah, it’s even more ridiculous the more you stare at it. Not only do we have ripped and intimidating dinosaurs, one of them is even wielding a god damn machine gun that blasts more fire power than, um, a volcano… Yeah. It’s not even the least bit subtle and, to me, that’s great. The cover illustration is all about getting the story across without having to spoil anything related to the game. We get the idea with these dinosaurs: they’re ready to wreak havoc and blast their way through… whatever their mission is, I’m not entirely sure.

dinosforhire cover breakdown

We’ll just ignore that one concerned pterodactyl.

Now to break it down and be more artsy about it. The composition and color palette are actually pretty great. Hear me out, I know the colors are an eye sore, but the pure saturation bulk up the intensity of the scene. It’s harsh, it’s raw, it’s all about the over-the-top/in-your-face action. Not only are the warm colors in the foreground and background being balanced by the greens of the T. rex and the stegosaurus, it does so without overpowering the entire work, which unify the composition. That way we aren’t distracted by anything other than those sculpted muscles.

The many diagonals within the work (the twists and angles of the dinosaurs’ heads, the freaking random fire in the bottom right corner, that one pterodactyl’s wing that’s just calmly resting on the T. rex’s ginormous head, and whatever else) lead your eye to the next bit of action within this set rectangle. It bring dynamism and life to the characters, luring you into what this game really has to offer. The straight-on vertical position of the T. rex’s body, however, stabilizes the composition and brings emphasis back to that massive bicep that we all should be ashamed of.

I would tell you about the game, but that’s Johnny’s job.

Want us to talk about your favorite retro gaming box art? Leave us a comment below!

Growing up with just a Nintendo 64, Stephanie enjoyed playing her little game library. And although she isn’t an avid game collector, she still loves a chance to kick someone’s butt in Diddy Kong Racing.

She is also an artist.