Bizarre Video Card Box Roundup

Vidcard
By M. Anger
If you’ve ever purchased a video card there’s a good chance you’ve noticed something about the boxes they come in: They are really, really stupid. Sure, there are a few vendors who go out of their way to try to use a nice-looking (or at least somewhat respectable) image for the front of their box, but the majority of these packages look more like they contain a cheap Korean squirt gun from the dollar store than a 300 dollar computer part. You don’t have to look very hard to find reviews for the cards themselves, but I haven’t seen anybody review the boxes themselves before. I have the feeling this is because people think it would be a complete waste of time, both for the reader and the author. Sounds great to me!



Asus Ti4200
Asus 4200
Theme: Unicorns!
A unicorn themed box. I mean, I’ve had to go through the checkout counter with some emasculating products in my time, but wow. Not only does it prominently feature a unicorn, the girliest mythical creature ever to not walk the earth, but it’s a unicorn made of purple glass. If ever there was a way to make a unicorn even less tough, this would be it. Congratulations I guess.
Grade: F (Unicorns are stupid)

Design:
The color theme on this box is only slightly unpleasant; I at least have to commend Asus for not going with the traditional diarrhea brown box that many Asian companies seem to favor.

But unfortunately even as they buck one stereotype they conform to another: The vague inspirational command. On this particular product they have chosen “Empower your imagination”. Really makes you think doesn’t it? Nope.
Grade: C-

Final Thoughts:
If Asus was attempting to tap the “Father with a 4 year old girl tugging at his sleeve and saying ‘buy this pretty one daddy, it has a horsey on it!’” market I suppose they’ve succeeded in this regard.



Zotac 8800GTS
Zotac 8800
Theme: Badly Scarred Burn Victim.
I’m not sure what I think of this box. On one hand, it's extremely unprofessional to prominently feature an unskilled render of a charred demon woman with unsettlingly broad shoulders on the front of your box, but one the other: At least it’s not a stupid glass unicorn.

I remember in college one of the animation teachers had a poster on the wall that said: “Keep it simple, stupid.” I could never figure out if the poster was calling you stupid while also telling you to keep it simple, or if it was saying that you should keep it simple as well as stupid. Sorry… I guess I forgot where I was going with that.
Grade: A

Design:
The lines are clean and it’s not too busy; the soothing white and green compliment seared hellflesh surprisingly well. Well played Zotac, well played…
Grade: A-

Final Thoughts:
Who’s ever heard of Zotac before? Not me, that’s for sure. But their box is pretty good compared to the other horrible boxes you see around. If you think about it, putting this box in this roundup is kind of like putting a guy who accidentally brushed against a kid’s genitals into a prison cell packed with serial murderers: You might not let him babysit your toddler but hey, at least he isn’t as bad as the dude who carved up an entire family of four and ate them. Wait...I'm not sure that made sense either.



Apollo Devil Monster II
Apollo 8500
Theme: Devil Monster?
This makes no sense at all. I might be able to stretch my imagination enough to imagine a creature so hideous that it required TWO evil words to describe it (a devil so evil that it’s a monster even among devils?) but the picture screws it all up. It’s the creature from the black lagoon! OK, so they had a picture of “The Creature” just lying around to use royalty free, so they decided to use it for their Devil Monster II box, I guess that’s not a crime. But what bothers me is that they tried to cover this fact up by putting a bunch of fake fire around him and calling him a devil. That isn’t going to fool anyone!

The creature from the black lagoon doesn’t even come close to deserving the name Devil Monster. All it does is drown people who come into the black lagoon. How stupid do you have to be to do a thing like that? It isn’t called the freaking Black Lagoon because it’s a good place for a family picnic.
Grade: F

Design:
Screw you Apollo Graphics!
Grade: F

Final Words:
…I…I’m sorry Apollo Graphics; I just can’t stay mad at you. Let’s make up and be friends again. Hey everyone, look for Apollo Graphics products at an electronics retailer near you, they really are great folks.



XFX 7950 GT
XFX 7950
Theme: What in hell...
Grade: D

Design:
XFX design meeting transcript:

Graphic Designer 1: OK, so we’ve got to come up with a character to put on the new 7950 box.

Graphic Designer 2: Hey, what about a werewolf, nothing says cutting edge graphics like lycanthropy!

GD1: Hmm, you might have something there... but we need more, something to punch it up a bit, give it some zaz!

GD2: Zaz sir?

GD1: You know, hep, pep, kick!

GD2: What about a Zorro mask!?

GD1: I love it! Zorro’s big these days, kids dig him! Wins friends and charms snakes! What else you got?

GD2: Umm, well I was thinking sort of like a chain coming out of a spiked collar, you know, because he’s a wolf.

GD1: Brilliant, and he could be crouched towards the viewer, ready to pounce out and strike with the power of cutting-edge graphics at any moment!

GD2: Yeah, yeah, but wait just a minute, there’s more- he’ll be wearing press-on nails and lipstick, ha-cha-cha!

GD1: It’s bold, it’s brassy, it’s sassy, and by god, I get it! We’ll have a monopoly on gender confused werewolf lovers everywhere; those mugs at ATI won’t stand a chance.

GD2: Mwahahahahah!

GD1: BAAAHAHAHA!

GD2: Hohohohoho!

GD1: (Blows own brains out)

GD2: (Devours human infant)

If you ignore the absurd jersey-clad werewolf seductress (impossible I know) this box isn’t horrible. It’s got the green thing going along the bottom edge to show that the card is from Nvidia (as if any rational non-hermit would care), and the color scheme is fairly pleasant. Not so sure about the wavy black sunburst thing in the back though. It looks more like the background to a “Footprints in the Sand” religious clock that someone’s grandmother might have in their basement than somewhere a foppish wolf would hang around.
Grade: C+

Final Words:
Dear XFX: If you want more actual adults to take your company and its products seriously it might be a good idea to stop putting goofy pictures of what look like Bucky O’Hare action figures on the front of your boxes. Just a suggestion though.



Gigabyte 5950 Ultra
Giga 5950
Theme: Cyborg Fairy Princess
It seems I may have spoken too soon when I said that a unicorn was the most emasculating thing you could put on the front of a video card box. A fairy princess? Really, Gigabyte?

Yeah, I see you’ve tried to make it cooler by giving her mechanical wings (and a mechanical bra?) but there isn’t much you can do to cool up a fairy. But, if you really must insist upon using a picture of a fairy, here’s a suggestion about how you can make it more appealing to nerds: Give her a gigantic rack. It may seem like crude lowest-common-denominator pandering (and it is) but putting some huge sweaterhogans on the package really is a great way to get your product noticed (and purchased) by lonely freaks. Because hey, who else is really buying 450 dollar video cards? (Editors note: I have, on numerous occasions purchased video cards at or near this price point.)
Grade: D

Design:
You’ve got your fairy princess with arms spread wide as if to say “I am an empowered woman; watch me soar!”, pink newborn baby girl background, chocolate foil wrapper gold Gigabyte logo, and the card’s features displayed inside what appear to be four little Midol pills. Cute!
Grade: B+

Final Words:
I realize that there are perhaps one or two women out there in the world who buy high-end gaming video cards, and even they would look at the effeminate box for this card, roll their eyes, and toss it back into the bin.



That's that for video card box reviews for now. If anyone out there finds a ridiculous box, send in the link so I can add it here.
Done.