Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Commercial Break
The One With the Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 28, 2005   |   Episode 1 (Show Archive)  

While digging through all of my old magazines for inspiration and reference I discovered that there are a lot of awesomely great advertisements that have been completely forgotten. Instead of keeping this gold mine to myself I decided to talk about four of these old advertisements each and every week. And so was born the Commercial Break, a place where I can really let them know what I think of their adverts! Looks like we have four of them right here ...
Ikari Warriors III: the Rescue
I'm not sure what to make of this advertisement, is it promoting the upcoming Ikari Warriors sequel or are they making fun of Rocky V? SNK seems to be saying that their "movie" - Ikari Warriors: the Rescue - is more interesting than the real Hollywood production, Rocky V. Heck, even Rocky Balboa himself seem to be giving the nod to SNK ... either that or he's just roaming the street in another unintelligible, drunken stupor.

But what exactly does Rocky have to do with Ikari Warriors? Perhaps if it were Rambo - a movie about a one-man army who won't stop until he's killed a small army of enemies - it might make some sense, but Rocky was a boxer and has nothing to do with the war-torn theme of Ikari Warriors. Rocky V was a failed attempt to revive a once-golden movie franchise, not only did it not make for a good game, but it didn't make for a good movie! SNK, what the hell were you thinking??
Even more perplexing is the poster for the Predator off to the right-hand side of the ad (right next to the creepy old guy peddling candy to all the kids on the street). It's bad enough that SNK is using Sylvester Stallone to hawk their NES cartridge, but it's completely unnecessary to bring in an Arnold Schwarzenegger reference. These were the two biggest action stars of the 1980's; no single SNK advertisement could hold both and still successfully pitch the game. And ultimately that's the problem with this advertisement, it's like that kid's skateboarding - it's just bad!

Daedalion Opus
Wait a second, you mean to tell me that the same people that created the Light Boy are the people responsible for this hard to pronounce puzzle game? Could it be true? And is that really a selling point? It is if you think that it takes a rocket scientist to figure out a way of attaching a big bulky light to the top of a big bulky game system. Their device was large, distracting, and a waste of batteries ... so whose brilliant idea was it to make that their selling point on a game called Daedalion Opus.

Look, I'll be straight with you, the game is called Daedalion Opun, it's hard to spell, it's hard to explain, and worst of all, it's hard to pronounce! By my count the game is starting its life with a handicap; you would have thought they could only go up from there. But no, apparently the makers of this game felt like killing two birds with one stone, they want to sell their game and their useless, pathetic Game Boy accessory all at the same time.

Of course, you do have to give them credit for showing us how to pronounce it on the box, but it's hard not to notice that words like "Light Boy" are in larger text. And while using cover art is generally a good thing in a game advertisement, it doesn't help when it's a picture of a scary religious leader and his glowing crotch! Christ man, I just have nothing good to say about this advertisement, I wonder if they are the ones that have "gone soft on the brain"!

Krion Conquest
When it comes to making a successful print ad there are a few things you need to remember to do. For one thing, it's advised that you make sure and highlight the most important aspects of your game. You will also need to make sure and provide a few screenshots to entice the reader. If you don't have impressive graphics and your game doesn't have much else going for it, show us a lot of artwork and make your logo stand out for the look you are going for.

Krion Conquest manages to get a few of these rules right. They have the screen shots, there is plenty of information about the game, and it's hard to miss the giant-sized artwork. The problem with this concept is that it completely misses the most important part of your advertisement - the name of the game!

As you look this advertisement over you'll notice that the name Krion Conquest is not mentioned anywhere, you simply have to guess what product this is. Instead we get oval-shaped boxes showing off the Mega Man-style graphics and what can only be described as a Futuristic naughty nurse. (What are you doing with that wand, anyway?)

And just what kind of game starts with this quote: "Earth's skies are raining metallic men"?? I know that song, it's by the Weather Girls ... I'm not sure that's the right tone you should be setting when you're trying to get somebody to buy a game about robot warfare. None of this makes up for the fact that even if you wanted to learn about robot men falling from the sky you still wouldn't know what game to buy.

Valis III
Believe it or not, Valis was a fairly successful franchise that found its way on quite a number of game systems. The woman you see in front of you (and in the TV screen) is Yuko, the scantly-clad heroine of the Valis franchise. This would be the type of set up where an advertising firm might hire a hot model and dress her up in appropriate attire to attract your core audience. But that's not what Telnet did, they decided to get any old girl they could find and dress her up in the worst costume they could muster up. This advertisement is neither sexy nor compelling.

This commercial was a stern warning for the ills of cos-play, something that is struggling to gain acceptance in this country. But you and I both know that it's never the super model-types dressing up like Yuna, it's always somebody that looks more like this girl in the commercial. If this doesn't show you the evils of dressing up like mediocre game characters then nothing will.

But just as you're starting to find faux-Yuko you notice that either she's really, really short - or that's the largest television you've ever seen. I know the game is packing 8-meg of power (that's 1 megabyte, gang), but do you really need a TV that large to appreciate the power this game is going to deliver? And really, do you think those 8-bit graphics are going to look that good when the screen is 5 feet tall? This advert gives off the feeling that they just didn't have a lot of time left to bother with an ad campaign. Perhaps that's why you don't remember the series.


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