Apollo 18+20: Hard-Hitting Art Talk

Looking at the list of tribute album games on IFDB, I found myself discouraged. Not a whole lot of them have cover art. I think all of them should. Here are some reasons:

  • Every game should have cover art, just in general. It is nice to look at.
  • People are more likely to play games with cover art (this is probably a statistical fact).
  • Since the titles are already determined, you can’t really use them as an indicator of the content or tone of the game. The game description field can help you with that, but what really pops is cover art.

Hey! Those are some good reasons. Now that you are convinced that all these games should have cover art, here are some things you can do about it:

1. Have Confidence and make some art for your game.

  • You could just pick a font and some colors that you think fit your game, and type the title out in a square image file in MS Paint or whatever.
  • Or you could cut out the words from a piece of paper, and then put that piece of paper in front of a bright flashlight, and point the flashlight at a wall, and take a picture of the shadow on the wall?
  • Or you could go to a high school where they have one of those marquee signs with the letters that you can move around, and use those to spell out your title on the sign, and take a picture of that
  • Or you could go with the first bullet point, except in Photoshop, so you can use a cool effect on the whole thing. Like a gradient?

2. Use this thread to volunteer to make art for other people’s games.

  • Obviously some people involved in the project know how to make cool cover art.
  • I was looking at the cover of What’s That Blue Thing Doing Here? on IFDB and I was like “what is that thing?”
  • Then I looked at the full-sized art and I still don’t know what it is
  • It was a rad experience for me.

3. Talk to me about making some art for your game.

  • I get a kick out of making cover art and I’d love to do some more.
  • Although I guess if literally everybody wanted me to, then that would be a problem.
  • But I can deal with a few or some requests.
  • It’d be best if you had some idea in mind for what you wanted it to be like, though, because otherwise I would act solely according to my capricious whim and end up making something idiotic.

4. Do not do any of these things at all.

  • This is a secret option that can only be viewed by people who don’t want their games to have cover art.
  • That’s cool man, don’t worry about it.
  • I don’t want to get in a fight with you over something like this.

I am in favour of cover art and I find it enormously gratifying to make it for people and see my ugly-ass efforts splattered all over IFDB. (examples: 1 2 3)

(Only now I remember that a million years ago during the Cover Art Drive I hacked up something for The Chinese Room and Harry Giles asked me to do some fixes and then I said I’d do it and promptly forgot. So bear in mind that I am flakey sometimes.)

This surprised me, too. I was under the impression that if anyone released a texty-game without cover-art these days, we’d be beaten, strung up naked somewhere, and pelted with stale pretzels or somesuch.

Despite the obvious temptations, I did cover art anyway. It’s the reason I got my game in a few minutes late … did it very last-minute (d’oh).

Aw, you got me all psyched to not recognize the blue thing, and then I did. (It is a sculpture by Dale Chihuly.)

Anyway, I make pictures sometimes, and I feel ashamed that I didn’t make a game for this, so I would probably do some cover art. The caveat is that it will almost certainly be something I make quickly, with very few pains taken.

P.S. I just had an intense moment where I realized that Ryan Veeder, the author of the game that was my favorite in last year’s comp because of its consistent perfectly-aimed humor, is the same person as Afterward, the forum member that is one of my favorites because of his consistent perfectly-aimed humor. In retrospect, this should not have come as a surprise.

Hey anybody at all! Would you like to make cover art for my game? Because if I made cover art for my game, it would just be a question mark in giant type, sort of like this:


and I bet you can do better than that.

A little while back I was thinking of running a cover-art-comes-first speedIF or minicomp or something. Art-inclined people make covers (minus any text, subject to subsequent dicking-around-with), author-type people pick a cover each and make games to match 'em. I should do that once we have some breathing space between compy things.


I would definitely participate in this, on the picture-making side.

Oh hi tove!

Oooh, I love all of those covers. Didn’t realize those were your work!

I volounteer.

Weirdly enough, I was chatting to Melvin about the need for cover art just yesterday. I might tackle some this evening. What’s the best size for cover art (in pixels)?

(Well version 2 of the Chinese Room is just around the corner…)

I entered this contest to create a one-move game because it looked like it was going to be easy (it was harder to do an OK job of it than I thought, but yeah). So I want to keep it feeling easy in my brain (maybe if I keep it casual and easy I will be more likely to do it again, maybe not). This is the essential reason that I don’t wish to assign myself obsessive administrative tasks like entering casually created game into databases and doing cover art. If other people want to do these things on my behalf, I want to say that I do appreciate it and a general thank you for that work. (I don’t want to look a gift horse in any anatomical location whatsoever.) But if you are prioritising your efforts, please help somebody else before me, because it is not like I am sitting here thinking, ‘Gee I wish my one-move game had cover art.’

To clear things a bit: “I volounteer” means I can do the cover but you must submit your request to me. i’m not going to check ifdb to see which games have covers and which don’t.

This works for every game: you want a cover, I make one for you.

Ah, good plan.

easy = unbreakable.

So would I, on the writing side.

If someone would like to make art for my games (26 and 32), that would be cool.

Also, I could see myself being into the cover-art-comes-first something on the writing side.


Man that was fast! Already there are like three times as many Apollo 38 games with art. I’m really digging how spooky some of the covers are—the cover for Mammal is, appropriately, super creepy (at least for people who are as freaked out by a whale skeleton as I am).

Anyway I’m calling dibs on I Heard a Sound so, nobody do that one.

I heard the call and took up arms! And then I dropped my arms, and took up my computer. There were 5 covers, and I’ve just added 8, bringing it to 13/38. So, over a third of the way there!

I like cover art! I think it is nifty! Tragically, however, I am completely awful at every kind of visual art/design, and also really busy right now. So if anyone had the time and inspiration to throw something together for Fingertips: Everything Is Catching On Fire, that’d be pretty cool. I mean, I’ve got nothing to offer in return save my undying gratitude, but still.