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Commercial Break
In the Heat of the Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 15, 2006   |   Episode 16 (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 ...
STD Handy Gear
This is not the first silly commercial we've ridiculed from STD, the makers of video game accessories. So I promise, I won't spend the whole time making fun of a company whose name reminds most people of herpes and the clap. Instead I'm going to focus on the liquid all over the Game Gear. With a company like STD it makes you wonder if having an advert with all that liquid is such a good idea. I think not. And really, if your Game Gear makes you that excited, I'd hate to see what you do when you get your hands on Sony's PSP!

But beyond the tasteless jokes, this commercial is extremely confusing. It says that now you can take your Game Gear anywhere! Of course you can take your Game Gear everywhere; we're talking about a portable game system for crying out loud! Just as long as your batteries don't run out you should be able to do just about anything with your Game Gear ... but thankfully nothing that will get you an STD.

Of course, what this commercial is advertising is that you can now take your portable Sega Master System "to the beach, by the pool, or out on a rainy day." Seriously? I can play games while it's pouring outside? I don't care how much fun the 8-Bit game is, I'm still going to notice that I'm sitting out in the middle of a downpour! Go ahead and make your device as water proof as you want, but if given a choice between being inside or out in the rain, how many people do you think will choose the monsoon?? About as many people who would knowingly by an STD.

Mario's Time Machine
This commercial sucks! I can get on board with a quote like, "Mario's Way Cool." I mean, he is. I may not like every game he's in, but his adventures were among the first games I fell in love with. I can also get behind "Time Machine!!!" Time machines are cool; they open your story up to a lot of exciting twists and turns. But when you combine those two things to make "Mario's Way Cool Time Machine!!!" I can't help but feel sorry for that Italian Plumber. A time machine? Mario's world is exciting and filled with dinosaurs already, why on Earth (or wherever he is) would he want to go back in time? And why would anybody want to take this adventure? Oh, that's right; nobody did ... that's why this game is not in your library!

But ignore for a moment that Mario doesn't need to go back in time, just take a look at this commercial. In fact, click on it and take a good look at it up close. I'm not sure about anybody else, but the very first thing that I notice is that the dinosaur could not look any worse. Now, I know, dinosaurs have been long extinct for millions of years, but if they are going to go as far as to draw Mario and a time machine couldn't they go that extra step and draw a dinosaur too?? Take a look at that thing, it's clearly made out of plastic and taken out of some kids toy cabinet. You can practically see the marks from some toddler chewing on it. That's not the way to sell your game ... which might explain why nobody owns this product.

But the real reason that nobody owes Mario's Time Machine is not because of the fake dinosaur or the silly slogan ... the reason people don't own this game is because it's a learning product. Don't believe me? Take a look at the advert; it clearly states that you can "Travel With Mario In A Learning Adventure Through Time." How lame is that? And how about those screenshots? Instead of exciting 2D platforming action, you get pictures with text and school-like things. When was the last time you heard the phrase "way cool" used in connection with learning? And why would I want to learn with Mario when I can turn on Mario 3 and just have fun with him? Yup, that's the real reason nobody owns this game.

Inindo (Super NES)
In all honesty, I actually kind of like this commercial. It's not enough to make me recommend the product, but there's something about its cheesiness that brings a smile to my face. Also, am I the only one that thinks that the name "Inindo" sounds like a young kid trying to say "Nintendo"?? Oh, what am I doing, I hate kids ... that should be enough for me to hate this advert. Maybe I'm finally growing up. Oh Inindo, you're starting to make me feel sick.

Let's forget that name and focus on every other aspect of the commercial. The subtitle is the "Way of the Ninja," which is certainly a good thing by all accounts. Unless you have big cartoon-y bubbles over your head with words like "Hi-Ya!" It's bad enough that this commercial features those silly bubbles, but "Bam"?? What is this, Emeril: Way of the Ninja?? Not enough room for "kick it up a notch"?? And is it a good sign that the last word seems to be "Ouch"? I thought Ninjas were only supposed to jump in fights they know they can win. Or at least hide emotion. Either way, "Ouch" seems strangely out of place.

To make matters worse Koei has decided to pair this ninja game up with ... an airline simulator?? I know companies like to save money and advertise more than one game on a page, but shouldn't the games be a little similar?? Do Inindo and Aerobiz have anything in common? You might as well pair up Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with Nintendogs. And while the ripped page effect is well done, it's the only thing in this commercial that stands out. Perhaps that's the reason nobody owns this game ... oh wait, that was Mario's Time Machine. Sorry.

STD Handy Boy
By now I think just about everybody is getting sick and tired of the STD jokes; it's low-lying fruit, entirely too easy to poke fun of (no pun intended). So no matter how tempting it is, for this Handy Boy review I'm going to deny myself the satisfaction of trying to compare the accessory maker with VD (and I don't mean Valentines Day). Thankfully the name STD is the least funny part of this terrible commercial, and I think you'll agree with the time I'm done ripping it apart.

STD wasn't going to settle for making your everyday Game Boy accessory, they decided that they had to go to the extreme and give you the ultimate video game accessory. This add on does almost too many things to talk about here, it's almost easier to talk about the things it doesn't do. For example, it won't make you look cool. It won't help you snag any hot girls. And it's probably not going to fit in your pocket. But it does do one important thing; it adds about 50 pounds to the original black and white Game Boy!

And that's not all; if you're really extreme it doubles as a terrible golf ball tee. "Other Game Boy accessories leave you with nothin' to say," this commercial states. Of course they do, because no matter how big and noticeable you make your add-ons, it's still all about the games. If you're having a good time then there really isn't much to say, you're just content having a good time playing your video game. The Handy Boy, on the other hand, makes you proclaim: "Holy crap! Why is there another portable game system mating with my Game Boy? Get off! Get off!!" Oh the humanity.


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