Video game aliens compared: Japan versus the USA

By Spencer . March 1, 2007 . 10:03am


We see aliens in tons of video games as menacing enemies, but THQ decided to turn the tables in Destroy All Humans let people play a stereotypical alien. While Destroy All Humans was released way back in ’05, Japan is just getting a chance to try it out thanks to Sega. There is a difference though, the cover art. The US cover art has an alien scowling right in the center of destruction. The Japanese cover art looks deceptively more innocent with a happy alien wearing a top hat for some reason posing for a picture. But look behind him, there is a huge stack of bodies, a broken robot and the White House Capital Building. It’s as if the alien in the Japanese box art is taking a picture after the war has been won, while the US alien is ready to fight. I’m not sure what the Japanese box art is suggesting, but it’s darker than the American box art which tells the player “hey you’re going to be an alien and blow stuff up”. What are your thoughts? Does the rockstar like alien represent Destroy All Humans or better yet video game aliens better than the generic vexed laser gun equipped Martian?


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  • vysethebold

    Hey Siliconera, that’s not the White House in the background, it’s the Capital Building! Haha…oh well…

  • Pichi

    Japanese box art doesn’t look darker, it looks more comical then the US one! He’s smiling, with the victory sign, and the freakin’ hat!

  • Badfish

    Hmm, at first glance, the japanese art looked more comical and innocent like the article mentioned. However after really inspecting the art cover, the japanese art cover APPEARS to be more disturbing. Maybe its because I’am an american. I think if the american art cover had an alien blowing up a Japanese land site, that might be disturbing as well. What does everyone else think?

    Just my thoughts. Its good to look at box covers because I dont think most companies put out really cool art that makes most owners proud to own the box. I think most people keep the box because it came with the game and its a mental thing not to throw away the cover box.

    Personally very few cover art boxe’s have impressed me, where I would show anyone proudly. Maybe Lunar for the Playstation 2 and Final Fantasty 11.

  • The American box looks better IMO.

  • Icupnimpn2

    I’m surprised they didn’t slap gigantic eybrows on the alien, ala Ratchet & Clank’s Japanese outing.

  • Dansk

    They are both pretty good.

  • K_G

    The hat on the J version is more like a fedora (which has a pinched top) vs a top hat (which has a flat top). Fedoras were common on US men in the 50’s, so it fits the game’s 50’s motif.

    Also isn’t the V hand sign a common, fairly meaningless hand sign that J women use when they have their picture taken?

    Both covers imply that you are there ‘to kick ass and chew bubble gum…and you are all out of bubble gum’…the J version just implies it more in a past tense.

  • RowD

    Even though it’s darker on a second look, at a first glance (what most people judge a game on when they’re making an impulse buy), it’s, dare I say, cute. Japanese box arts tend to be more along these lines, while American ones are usually a little more violent, more meant to make the buyer go, “Woah, kickass!” then “Oh, that’s nice!” Anyone remember the kirby box arts where the J one had Kirby smiling and the A one had him scowling? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

  • vysethebold thanks for the correction I either need to go back and look at my elementary school history book or stop writing articles in the wee hours of the night. Either way I had a good laugh when you pointed it out. ;)

  • vysethebold

    Haha…no problem, Spencer. I actually felt like kind of a jerk pointing it out so I had to make sure it didn’t sound mean. It’s a common mistake at any rate.

  • Carmen

    Japanese box art almost always tends to be more unique and more ‘artsy’ then Western variants… but what makes that surprising in this case is this is an American game! Me like.

    As for why the White house (or whatever) is used is probably something to do with Independence Day and those sorts of movies which were publicisied all around the world. I don’t think theres any thing xenophobic about it.

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