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"Welcome to Dictionarium, the video game that's pretending to be a book!"

A physical release or copy of something is designed to look like it's from another medium; for instance, a DVD case that looks like a comic book cover (pictured). Comic book covers and movie posters are especially popular subjects for this trope.

Sometimes it's a specific homage to something or other, but it's this trope if the image has the trappings of a typical cover for that other medium, such as credits at the bottom of a 'movie poster' cover for a game.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The English version of the manga [STONe] has covers that present it as a movie poster, "presented in Mangascope", with the writer/artist getting a production credit and the characters listed as actors at the bottom.
  • Funimation has a couple examples:
    • Their release of Armitage III has a sci-fi pulp inspired case, including blurbs for stories inside.
    • Funimation's Blu-ray release of Pop Team Epic indulges in the show's Kaufmanesque style of comedy with the disc art: the first disc is perfectly fine, but the second is designed to look like a homemade BD-R, complete with faux handwritten sharpie on the label. Time will tell if this results in another Borat situation among buyers.
  • The covers of collected volumes of Btooom! are based on Xbox 360 game cases.
  • ADV's English release of the Kekko Kamen OVAs has a cover based on your typical EC Comics Vault of Horror cover.
  • My Hero Academia occasionally makes its chapter title pages look like the cover to an American comic book.
  • A variation, as it's not the outer packaging but the discs themselves: some releases of Cowboy Bebop have had the label side of the discs resembling vinyl records.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 
  • Gen13 vol. #1 shipped with 13 different covers; of these, five fit this trope. Two were based on magazine covers (one Rolling Stone, the other Heavy Metal), one on a movie poster (that of Pulp Fiction, complete with a real live model), one on an ad for a TV show (namely The Brady Bunch), and the last one on a Victoria's Secret catalogue. Whew!
  • Every issue of The Intimates (except #6 and #12) has a cover made to look like that of a magazine for teen superheroes, with headlines either to that effect, or about characters or events in the comic.
  • The short-lived Thunderbolts revamp that ran from #76 to #81 featured covers styled after men's magazines like Stuff, FHM, and Maxim. For instance.
  • The cover of X-Men Legacy #10 looks like a pharmaceutical print ad or pamphlet promoting a mutant cure, as you can see.
  • The covers of Fearless Defenders #2, Batman: Gotham Adventures #3, and Angel & Faith #26 are all designed after action figure cards. The Fearless Defenders cover is the most dedicated to the illusion, as artist Mark Brooks wanted to make it look as real as possible.
  • The cover of The Just #1 resembles the kind of celebrity-interest magazine sold at supermarket counters.
  • Some variant covers for the IDW Publishing miniseries Revolution (2016) are modeled after action figure cards, with two or three of the characters on it (using their toys if possible- all the characters are based on toys from Hasbro). IDW's also done this with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, which continues from the Marvel series and is an Alternate Continuity from the Hasbro Comic Universe.
  • After Marvel regained the Star Wars comic license, most of their output has received an action figure variant cover, making them appear to be toy packaging reminiscent of the original Kenner line.
  • Marvel had many variants inspired by hip-hop album covers.

  • The packaging for Borat made it look like a cheap, foreign bootleg rather than a polished official DVD release. The disc itself looks like a blank disc that was recorded over, with the movie's title written on it in marker and the logotype & slogan parodying those of Memorex (i.e. "is live? No. Demorez," in place of "is it live or is it Memorex?"). The DVD menus also look like they have been whipped up in five minutes with no budget. It serves to highlight the film's Mockumentary status. This infamously resulted in a swath of confusion among consumers who weren't in on the joke, leading to retailers receiving a number of complains from buyers who thought they had purchased an actual bootleg.
  • Like Borat, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also styled its DVD release after a bootleg, but with official Sony iconography; this also led to confusion and complaints among buyers who mistakenly felt as if they were duped into buying a phony copy of the movie.
  • The poster for Pulp Fiction, and by extension the cover for its DVD and VHS releases, is designed to look like a worn pulp fiction book (including the 10¢ price).
  • From The Criterion Collection:
    • The disc case for the DVD and Blu-Ray of Videodrome is designed to look like (and be the exact same size as) a Betamax tape, as a Mythology Gag.
    • The disc art for The Grand Budapest Hotel is designed to look like a drink coaster from the titular hotel.
    • Fittingly for a movie focusing on The Beatles, I Wanna Hold Your Hand's disc is designed to look like a Capitol Records 7" record from the 1960'snote .
    • The essays and reading material for Dr. Strangelove are packaged in a miniature envelope designed to look like the top secret documents seen in the film.
  • The DVD releases for The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions were designed to look like aged books. This was taken Up to Eleven for the Middle-Earth Limited Collector's Edition that included The Hobbit trilogy, which had the discs of each film in literal books that were grouped in a wooden bookshelf.
  • The poster for Wave Twisters is based on Atari 2600 game packaging, specifically Pitfall's.

  • Frequently used by author Grady Hendrix:
    • Horrorstör is about a haunted Ikea knockoff built on the site of a horrific prison, and is thus packaged as a chichi furniture catalog.
    • My Best Friend's Exorcism looks like a yearbook in the hardcover edition (complete with signatures and messages on the inside covers) and like a VHS tape as a paperback and audiobook.
    • In We Sold Our Souls, the protagonist is a heavy metal guitarist, so it's packaged to look like a parody of Rolling Stone magazine, complete with headlines that hint at the plot of the book.
  • Several editions of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay have cover art reminiscent of a battered old comic book, with the back cover resembling the ads.

    Live Action Television 
  • The limited edition DVD release of Stranger Things is packaged like an old 80's VHS release, right down to the cover being artificially aged to look like vintage cardboard.

  • Album covers that look like advertisement pages:
  • Album covers that look like art objects, paintings that mimic a particular famous style, galleries, etc.:
  • Albums covers that look like book covers:
    • Some of Blackmore's Night's albums are made to look like books instead of CD cases.
    • Joy Electric's The White Songbook. Externally, it looks like a standard CD jewel case, but the liner notes were designed like an actual book—complete with a book-style page of copyright and printing information, and a table of contents.
    • Elvis Costello and The Roots' collaborative album Wise Up Ghost has cover art modeled after the cover of Howl & Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg, the fourth book in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. And the Special Edition of Wise Up Ghost actually is a small paperback book, with the CD tucked into the back cover.
    • Pearl Jam's Vitalogy is styled after an old book.
    • Radiohead's Amnesiac is made to look like a forgotten old library book. The front and back covers are of the front and back of an actual book; the back cover and the back of the CD booklet both feature mock-checkout cards on them (complete with the back of the booklet having a "spine damaged" notice); the liner notes are made to look like pages of a book that have been torn up, scribbled on, and yellowed out; the second page is made to look like the title page to 18th-century writer and politician Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume II; and the last page features instructions for stripping the book. This is taken to an even greater extent in the special edition, which actually is the book pictured on the cover, complete with more faithful replications of library checkout cards.
    • Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain is supposed to look like the dust jacket of a circa 1982 "important" Lit Fic novel.
    • While not exactly inspired by traditional books, Roxy Music made it a tradition to have every one of their album covers look like a fashion magazine, hence the bold logotypes and scantily-clad women. The practice was successfully kept up from their first album all the way up to their last, and continued to inform the direction of frontman Bryan Ferry's solo album covers as well.
  • Album covers that look like they came from a comic book:
  • Album covers that look like postcards:
  • Album covers made to look as if they were a different musical genre or different musical artist:
    • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles has a cover that makes them look like some kind of fanfare band.
    • Meet the Residents by The Residents is an exact replica of The Beatles' Meet The Beatles only with all kinds of doodles scribbled over it.
    • The clean version of the cover of Beggars Banquet by The Rolling Stones makes the album appear as a classy record, which it isn't.
    • Omaha! by Stan Freberg is done in the style of a Broadway musical album, but is in fact a parody of it.
    • Another Monty Python Record looks like it was originally a Classical Music album, with the title and images crossed out.
    • The Miracle Of Sound And Motion by Noise Rock band Steel Pole Bathtub is designed to look like a "demonstration record" from the 1960's - in other words, a record designed to demonstrate the capabilities of a high fidelity record player. They actually licensed an image that was originally used for one such record, titled The Sound Of Sounds.
    • The layout of Elio e le Storie Tese's orchestral covers album Gattini was identical to the covers of the Deutsche Grammophon records. It was hastily changed, probably in fear of a lawsuit.
    • Cunning Stunts by Noise Rock group Cows is designed to look like an old jazz record, specifically one released by Blue Note Records: It features a blue-tinted photo of the artist, all-caps text, and a list of individual band members on the cover, all of which are frequent elements of that label's distinctive design style - the font choices and placement of the text specifically seems to be a nod to Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch!. The fact that Shannon Selberg is depicted playing a trumpet adds to the jazz record concept, but actually is accurate to the album's contents: Selberg is primarily a vocalist, but also plays discordant trumpet on some songs.
    • Sound Affects by The Jam is made to look like one of the many records of sound effects released by the BBC: Such records tended to have an identical collage of stock photos for cover art, with only different colors and a volume number under the title to distinguish them. The Jam used different stock photos, but formatted them in a very similar way, rendered "JAM" in the BBC font, and put the text "No. 80" after the title, probably referencing the fact that it was released in 1980.
  • Album covers that look like newspaper articles
  • Album covers that look like 7" singles or, in the case of a CD, look like an LP:
    • Mini LP CDs are CD reissues that exactly replicate the original pressboard LP packaging, shrunken down to CD size. A lot of them are made for the Japanese market, though they have risen to prominence in the west in recent years as a cheaper alternative to jewel cases and digipacks. Other releases will mimic the layout of an LP from the '60s or '70s for a Retraux effect but with a standard jewel case and booklet.
    • Starflyer 59's album Gold (specifically the original edition). The pages of the liner notes had fake gramophone record labels for every song on the album, as if they were all 45 rpm singles released by a variety of fictitious record labels.
    • Diablo Swing Orchestra's Pandora's Pinata was sold in a CD digipak which was meant to look like a record album. Every panel of the package had fake ring wear, and the inner panels resembled paper sleeves with fake record labels visible through center holes.
    • Some really esoteric examples can be seen here. Of particular note are the packages that look like a concertina and a full size boom box.
    • The cover art of The Bee Gees album Their Greatest Hits: The Record looks like an LP. The same theme continues on the actual CD discs themselves.
    • The cover for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings' 100 Days, 100 Nights looks like it came out of The '60s. This could really be said for any of the band's albums - or anything from Daptone Records, for that matter.
    • Similar to mini LP CD covers, some reissues of albums on CD from the vinyl era will replicate the LP label on the CD label from the original release. Some examples include remastered albums on Atlantic Records from Yes and Led Zeppelin, as well as the reissues of The Doors on Elektra Records.
  • Album covers looking like common day objects:
    • Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space was designed to resemble medicine. The packaging has a minimalist design of blue text against a white background. The liner notes list the musicians under the heading "Active Ingredients" and includes information about the intended dosage and possible side effects. Some of the Special Editions go a step further: the album is divided into 12 mini-CDs (one for each song) and each is in a medicine-style blister pack.
    • The cover of Captain Beefheart's Strictly Personal looks like a letter.
    • Bob Marley's Catch a Fire is designed to look like a lighter.
    • The original LP cover of Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones looks like a pair of pants, complete with a real zipper. Their cover for Emotional Rescue looks like a series of X-Ray images.
    • Similarly, the banana on the original cover of Velvet Underground's breakthrough album can actually be peeled.
    • Public Image Ltd.'s Metal Box was originally packaged in a 16mm film canister; CD re-issues manage to translate the original packaging to the significantly smaller disc size by using an identically-designed 8mm canister.
    • The initial copies of Body Count's debut album Body Count were shipped out in black body bags.
    • German pop punk band Die Ärzte's album Jazz ist Anders is styled like a (CD-sized) pizza box.
    • Plastikman's Sheet One had a perforated cover made to resemble a sheet of LSD tabs. This actually ended up getting a fan arrested - He was pulled over for speeding and the officer mistook the CD case in his car for the real thing.
    • An unusual example occurs with the soundtrack album for The Flintstones: the CD is packaged in a plastic clamshell, which would be more of a common-day object in the Flintstones universe than in the real world.
    • Steve Taylor & The Danielson Foil's Wow to the Deadness EP is available as a digital edition, pre-loaded on a USB stick. It's packaged inside a miniature coffin (made of real wood), and the USB stick itself is shaped like a flower.
    • Primus' Greatest Hits Album They Can't All Be Zingers is designed to look like a package of processed cheese slices. This extends to the track-listing and credits on the back, which are formatted to look like the "nutrition facts" on the back of food packaging, and the CD case comes wrapped in cellophane like a cheese package would be.
    • All releases issued by digital-only electronic label Allergy Season run with the label name by using cover art in the style of over-the-counter medicine packaging. Some even go so far as to list what the "drug" should be administered for - for instance John Barera and Paul Morse's Pantheon EP is "fast acting" and "numbs away pain", while the charity "protest compilation" Physically Sick is said to "alleviate symptoms of fascism, bigotry, violence, and demagoguery".
    • The Rod Stewart compilation Sing It Again Rod is designed to look like a glass of whiskey, complete with the sleeve being die-cut in the glass shape. It still included Rod's Face on the Cover - he's seen through the other side of the glass, as though the listener were seated across from him at a bar.
    • The layout of Toy-Box's Fantastic album is made to look like a PlayStation game case.
    • Juice WRLD's Death Race for Love has a cover that resembles a PlayStation game.
    • Soccer Mommy's Color Theory is a downplayed example, but still goes for an early 90's video game console feel, which is further enhanced by the fact that the first part of the liner notes is styled like a console instruction manual.
    • Blind Melon's Soup is designed to look like a diner menu.
    • The inner sleeve of Supertramp's Breakfast in America is also laid out like a diner menu.
    • The cover for the 7" release of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was designed to look like a tombstone. Infamously, this didn't become apparent to the cover designer, longtime collaborator Peter Saville, until after frontman Ian Curtis killed himself.
    • Flipper's Gone Fishin' is laid out like a paper model of the band's tour bus— the record sleeve actually functioned as such, and packaging included a free mail-in offer of a second, empty cover; this way fans could cut up and fold together the tour bus model and still have a functional cover for the album.
    • The cover of New Order's "Blue Monday" 12-inch single is designed to look like a 5.25-inch floppy disk, complete with die-cuts for the holes.
  • Steal This Album! by System of a Down is styled after a CD-R, complete with a total lack of liner notes. Unlike the Borat and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo examples, however, the disc art made enough deviations from actual CD-R labels to ensure that consumers understood the joke.
  • Pere Ubu's CD reissues on Rough Trade were styled to look like a classic Apple Macintosh program.
  • Future Bible Heroes' Memories of Love looks like a children's activity book - this is down to the liner notes, which make the listener have to solve simple word puzzles to find out song lyrics, credits and even the album title and artist name.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Fantasy Games Unlimited's (FGU) game Daredevils. The covers of the game and its supplements were designed to look like old pulp adventure magazines. There were even fake price markers reading "NOT 10 Cents". Also, some supplements had wording like "Vol. 2 #3" as if they were magazines.
  • Not exactly another medium, but the supplement on Kolat, secret society in Legend of the Five Rings was released under a title Merchant's Guide to Rokugan.

  • Two box sets featuring Bumblebee from the Transformers Film Series were packaged as "Retro Rock/Pop Highway Vol 1/2." These exclusives were packaged as giant cassette tapes, fitting the 80's setting of Bumblebee's solo film, the fact that each set came with two microcassette transformers, and the fact that both versions of Bumblebee were vintage automobiles.

    Video Games 
  • The Halo: Reach Legendary Edition box is designed to emulate a metal UNSC crate.
  • The House of the Dead: OVERKILL has a cover meant to look like a movie poster. The whole game is presented as a movie, with each level having its own poster (complete with credits) and a "missing reel" in the final boss fight.
  • Freedom Force is an homage game to the golden age of superhero comics. This is plainly apparent from the comicbookesque cover, storytelling (complete with comic book boxes and narrative style) as well as the loading screens which portray the 'issue' of the next level, often in the misleading way of comic book cover gimmicks to boost sales.
  • Meta-example: In the opening video of Brütal Legend, shot in Real Life, Jack Black presents the game to the players as if it was on an old-school LP rather than DVD.
  • Through the Looking-Glass, being inspired by the book of the same name, came packaged in a Book Safe.
  • An alternate cover for BioShock Infinite is designed to look like the cover of a cheap dime novel from the era. Unfortunately, the logo is identical, somewhat ruining the effect.
  • The alternate cover on the DVD version of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People is designed in the style of an Atari 2600 game cartridge box.
  • The English release of Comic Party did this to look like manga, complete with the "You're reading the wrong way!" warnings.
  • Sonic Mania Plus has a reversible cover that mimics the packaging of a latter-era Sega Genesis or Mega Drive game (depending on region).
  • Bandai Namco released a trailer and a printable alternative label for Dark Souls III that makes it resemble a low-budget direct-to-VHS horror movie from The '80s.
  • The PC versions for The Elder Scrolls games (starting with Morrowind) each feature a symbolic emblem from the game in question and the title as though it were printed on the cover a leather-bound book. The Elder Scrolls Anthology, a Compilation Re-release of the first five games in the series, also follows this pattern and even opens up like a book to reveal the disks within.
  • While they're digital-only, The Jackbox Party Pack had individual games in the first 3 packs appear as board game boxes in the main menu. However, they got more creative afterwards:
    • Party Pack 4: Fibbage 3 is a 70's vinyl record cover, Monster Seeking Monster is a wooden coffin, Survive the Internet is a CD-Rom in its jewel case, Civic Doodle is a spray paint set, and Bracketeering is a Nintendo 64-esque game cartridge.
    • Party Pack 5: Split the Room is an old analogue TV, Mad Verse City is a toy robot package, Patently Stupid is a recruitment poster with stubs where the phone number goes and Zeeple Dome resembles the box of an Atari 2600 game from Activision. Averted with You Don't Know Jack: Full Stream, which is the Jack Head mascot in a Binjpipe-branded space helmet.
    • Party Pack 6 does this on top of a bathroom theme: Trivia Murder Party 2 is a bottle of pitch-black complimentary lotion from the Murder Hotel, Dictionarium is an actual dictionary with bat wings, Push The Button is a bathtub drain with alien tentacles slithering through, Joke Boat is a toy replica of the S.S. Sea Minus, and Role Models is an inflated rubber glove.
  • Inverting the practice of album covers imitating other media, early Electronic Arts games used LP-style sleeves complete with gatefolds to stress that they considered their game designers like "rock stars."

  • The Dinosaur Comics book Your Entire Family Is Made of Meat is meant to look like a package of fresh steaks, with the book title written on the fake price sticker.

    Western Animation 
  • [adult swim] loves this trope.
    • The DVD case of Titan Maximum is based on a comic book cover, including top left corner inset. It seems specifically inspired by 1980s Marvel toy/TV cartoon tie-in comics.
    • The second Sealab 2021 DVD's case is styled after a comic cover, in this case one in particular, Uncanny X-Men #100.
    • The Venture Bros. third season DVD is presented like an Atari 2600 game box. This extends to the DVD menus, which feature Atari graphics.
    • The Robot Chicken DC Comics special DVD has a cover in the style of a 1960s DC comic, complete with the checkered bar on top.
    • The DVD cases for Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law are all made to look like legal texts.
    • Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 doesn't do the "credits at the bottom" thing, but its DVD cover is non-specifically a movie poster.
    • It's only natural that Minoriteam, with its comic-inspired art style, would get a comic-style DVD case (at least in Australia), complete with a parody of The Comics Code approval stamp.


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