Video game box art has to tell potential buyers what the game's all about in one eye-catching image. Zelda shows you an elf with a sword, Call of Duty shows you a soldier with a gun, and SoulCalibur shows you a nearly naked woman with physics-defying tits. They are all absolutely accurate depictions of the game within. But those are the success stories, and as we've seen before, it often goes hilariously wrong. And nobody manages to screw it up more hilariously than game pirates -- while most just lift the original cover, a select few decide that stealing is wrong halfway through the theft and have to scramble to create original content themselves. It never turns out well:
(With the money you save buying hilarious bootlegs, why not buy the Cracked De-Textbook?)
And now, a brief retrospective of Brazilian bootleg Pac-Man covers. Put on your learning monocles, this here is art history:
CCE, the company responsible for bringing countless pirated games to the land of Pele, started off with this vaguely sane approach. Maybe they didn't want to use Pac-Man's classic look for fear of a lawsuit, and maybe the enemies are furious germs assaulting the ghost of a murderous clown because the artist was getting paid in mescaline. Still, it makes a certain tenuous sense, but it's all downhill from there:
This one made him French when everyone knows he's Canadian.
The second cover makes it look like the Pac-People were brutally slaughtered by giant, lightning-spewing robots. Are Pac-Man and his wife the sole survivors of the robot apocalypse? Is that why they nurture such terrible pill addictions, lost in the maze of their own madness, hounded by the ghosts of their loved ones who died in the uprising? And also cherries?
"But they're joysticks, what do they use to contro- eh, fuck it."
This artist must have gotten terribly lost on the way to the bootleg Brazilian Star Wars convention. We appreciate that gamers might be intrigued by the thought of piloting the legendary spaceship Supergame against a squad of F-14 Frisbees, but it's a bit intellectually dishonest when they're going to open the package and find they can only navigate a fat yellow blob through an endless labyrinth.
#12. Snake It
Eaglesoft Software Publishers
"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to take a defenestrated cobra to the face."
Snake is best known as that game you played on your cellphone back before your cellphone could play games. We're pretty sure it was about a depressed snake just trying to commit suicide in the Tron world, and not a furious giant cobra attacking James Bond at a urinal.
#11. Oh Shit!
"Oh Shit!" were presumably the first words uttered by the artist after he finished hours of painstaking painting and looked up to find he'd drawn a ravenous, disembodied Winnie the Pooh head consuming the ghosts of giant pills while seemingly terrified of his own existence.
Pirates, just like Nintendo itself, quickly learned that slapping Mario onto anything was a license to print money. Here we see caveman Mario trying to rescue Princess Peach before a dinosaur erotica novel starts playing out. Unfortunately, this seems to have led to a case of the butterfly effect, because past-Mario's antics inadvertently created this:
The Cap'n had some of the "good" crunch berries for breakfast.
In this bizarre alternate universe, all-American Mario has to use the power of carrots to rescue Snow White from the clutches of a pissed-off dragon and Slendergoat, with only Cap'n Crunch and an anthropomorphic testicle to aid him. Although, from Snow White's "come-hither" look, it's totally going to be worth it.
#9. Mega Rockman 3
In this version, you gain their powers by molesting them with your robo-tendrils.
Mega Rockman 3's cover is a mash-up of the American and Japanese version of Mega Man (it's called Rockman in Japan), mixed with a healthy dose of sass. Either that, or it's a teaser poster for a new musical starring Robby the Robot and Bomberman's gay, shark-themed cousin.
#8. Dratula: Crazy Vampire
Apparently someone really, really wanted a Dracula/The Mask crossover and wasn't about to let little problems like logic and reason get in the way. This pirated copy of Dratula: Crazy Vampire ostensibly replaces the cartoon count with Jim Carrey and Dracula with "Dratula," Dracula's nonunion Mexican equivalent. "Drat that Dratula!" the game-over screen better say.
#7. World Heroes 2
Seconds before Sonic and Andy invent Rule 34.
World Heroes 2 was yet-another-fighting-game in the era of yet-another-fighting-games. But that wasn't good enough for Cony Soft. No, this bootleg company wanted to create something special, so they crammed all the great fighters into their unauthorized rip-off game: Ryu, Chun-Li, Goku, Bowser's BDSM-obsessed ginger cousin, cross-eyed Sonic, indiscernible naked people enveloped in flames, and the shadowy, disembodied head of Mario cosplaying as a sinister M. Bison-type character ... right next to M. Bison. That had to be an awkward conversation.