Some weeks ago I made big box packaging for my various Blendo games, to decorate my PAX 2012 booth.
When looking for books to read or movies to watch, I gravitate toward the credits. Who wrote this thing, who directed it, what creative folks did what. Then I hunt down and enjoy everything those folks touched during their career. Making these boxes was my shorthand of “if you enjoyed Gravity Bone or Atom Zombie Smasher or Flotilla, maybe you’ll like this new thing I’m making.”
Some folks were interested in having Blendo big boxes of their own, so here’s the print template:
Download: blendo_bigboxes.zip (58 mb)
Here’s what you’ll get:
Here’s how they’re put together:
Here’s a step-by-step:
1. Go to a print shop. I printed on 11″x17″ cardboard stock.
2. Score the dotted lines with a hobby knife.
3. Cut the solid lines with a paper cutter. Most print shops have available paper cutters.
4. Cut the tabs/flaps with a hobby knife or scissors.
5. Fold and glue the back’s flaps to the front’s sides.
6. Done. Put the big boxes on your shelf so they rule over your puny small boxes with a firm but prudent reign.
I used to have a collection of game big boxes. Then one day I realized they were taking up basically half of my closet.
I couldn’t bear to just toss them out so. So, I got scissors and cut out the fronts of the boxes, leaving me with little game posters.
For my research, I rifled through my pile of decapitated boxes until I found something that was perfect: Mean Streets. Look at that proclamation of 256 color VGA. Look at that Real Sound badge (which was genuinely spectacular, by the way).
I don’t quite miss the big boxes themselves, but I do miss the things that were included in big boxes. Fold-out maps, in-game newspapers, bits and bobs, thick spiral-bound manuals. I guess by now I’m used to digital downloads, but they just don’t have that tactile feeling of holding something physical in your hands.
One idea I was playing with earlier in Quadrilateral Cowboy’s development was including a “Thief’s Cookbook”, similar to Indiana Jones’ Grail Diary. Basically, the guide would tell you how to bypass or deactivate various types of security systems and have schematics for various corporate buildings. Here’s the gag: the guide wouldn’t be an in-game object. The guide would be a PDF you’d print out, staple together, and refer to while playing the game.
So, as alarms blare and guards chase after you in-game, you’d be physically flipping through your guide trying to find the darn page for “Reckermann Security model TK421 vault door.”
At PAX, one of my favorite moments was when someone playing Quadrilateral Cowboy realized what the game entailed. He reached for his notebook and pen and said “I’m going to need this.” He started writing the names of the various security cameras and laser tripwires, so that he could later punch them back in to the in-game terminal prompt.
And I loved it.