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Commercial Break
You Bet Your Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 08, 2006   |   Episode 15 (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 ...
War Gods (Nintendo 64)
It's no exaggeration to say that by the time War Gods hit the consoles we had already seen hundreds of fighting games. Between Capcom, SNK, and dozens of other companies, gamers everywhere had seen their fair share of fighting game characters. From the silly (Dhalsim), to the cool (Baraka), to the downright pathetic (Dan), fans of fighting games figured they had seen just about everything. But Midway decided to go a different route, instead of making a game with a lot of characters people want to play as, they decided to make War Gods. Kind of like Dead or Alive in reverse.

Want a perfect example of this? Check out this terrible character to your right, a kabuki warrior that is only a few rungs below a clown. Actually, with all that make-up on he kind of looks like a clown ... but who am I to judge. Even if you get into the idea of a kabuki fighter in a video game, it still doesn't explain why he's a God. If this is a game full of War Gods, then is the kabuki fighter the rodeo clown of this little competition?

But this advertisement is not just about showing you a line up of characters you don't want to play; it tries to do it as a personal ad. You know, the kind of personal ad you might see in a newspaper or online. But like everything else about War Gods, this falls flat on its face. Were they going for humor here? I've seen better humor at a Carrot Top show.

Cliffhanger (Super NES)
Am I the only person that deep down wishes that Sylvester Stallone would just fall off that cliff? Talk about a movie with no suspense, even with dramatic music and camera angles I can't shake the feeling that it wouldn't be all that bad if Sly fell. Just think about all those good things; we wouldn't have to worry about another Rocky movie and that Rambo sequel he plans on making would be forgotten (or given to Vin Diesel). But it's not my job to openly wish death on Sly, instead I'm here to rip apart one of Sony's worst games.

Chances are you've never played Cliffhanger; it's the type of movie game that even fans of the movie don't want to play. Climbing cliffs is hardly the most exciting video game subject, its right up there with speed walking and going on a hike. You might think that I am mean for wishing death on this once beloved action star, but this advert makes light of not one, not two, but FOUR other deaths. So who's the evil one now?

And then there's that joke, "I hope they don't hit my jeep." Hey dumbass, why would you park your jeep directly under a giant cliff?? Aren't you afraid of little rocks and stuff falling off ... especially when you're climbing it?? And what's that "Sure, It's Just a Game" slogan? It's just a game, a really terrible game. Maybe if Sly fell we wouldn't have to suffer through games based on bad movies.

Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition (Genesis)
Oh Street Fighter, how could you possibly be in this section of bad advertising? This was the biggest game of the 1990s; it single-handedly created a brand new genre of games that is still alive and (for the most part) well. But this advertisement doesn't help its cause, it's truly a terrible advert and I'm ready to back it up. You know it's bad when the company decides to go with the lame "American" artwork, the kind that makes all of the characters look even sillier than they do in the game.

But forget that horrible "realistic" artwork; this advertisement is bad because it makes no sense. "Now Genesis Players Can Kick Some (Blank)," it reads. I guess they are looking for us to fill in the blank, but what bad word is 17 letters long?? I counted 17 little dashes where you fill in the blank, 17!! Even the foulest words are only 13 letters long, and that's including a hyphen! What word could they possibly want us to spell??

And while I'm tearing it apart, is it just me or does the name Special Champion Edition make it sound like it's a little handicapped? The Super NES got Turbo Champion Edition, but the Genesis gets "Special"? This isn't a Johnny Knoxville movie, this is Street Fighter II, one of the biggest selling games of the 1990s, give it a little more respect!

wipEout (PlayStation)
Before we rip into wipEout and its makers, I want it to be known that I'm a huge fan of this series. I have fond memories of this game and its many sequels, including last year's amazing wipEout purE for the PSP. It pains me to talk ill of these great games; they deserve my love and promotion, not scorn and sarcasm. But it's because I love this game that I need to tell it like it is, and frankly, this advertisement is terrible.

I've said it before (and I bet I'm going to have to say it again), but bodily fluids are not a real effective advertisement for a racing game. Other racers have used vomit, but wipEout one-ups the competition by using blood. Both of these two models are thing and dazed, they have blood flowing from their noses and stained on their shirts. This is not a good look, and feels more like an anti-drug advertisement than anything. It's like the Trainspotting of video game advertisements.

With all this news lately about models and cocaine one has to wonder if this picture was staged or if this was just a candid moment between these rail-thin twenty-something's. How embarrassing. Also, is there a reason those symbols are pointing up to her skirt? Is it not enough that her legs are crossed? But don't be fooled, this commercial is not about sex ... it's about all that blood coming out of her nose. I mean, gross!
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