Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Commercial Break
Bad Advertising and DynaGirl
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 21, 2006   |   Episode 20 (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 ...
SNK Neo*Geo
If it wasn't for the Neo Geo I'm not sure there would be a Defunct Games. Even though we cover a dozen other systems, it's the life and death of the Neo Geo that gave me the inspiration to start this website. Thankfully five years ago I didn't remember advertisements like this, as it would have certainly made me think twice about putting the time and effort into a project like Defunct Games. But it's five years later and I'm a different person, these days I am more willing to accept the faults of video game advertising ... and make fun of it.

As bad advertisements go this SNK spot is pretty tame, it doesn't feature any of the clich?s I rally against each and every episode. Instead we have a game system being thrown into what appears to be the world's tackiest front door. How else do you explain that tragic tile and the cactus? Seriously, this advertisement has a cactus! And even though that system was durable (with controls build to withstand a bullet), it still shouldn't be thrown through an open door only to land on a hard floor. That just seems like a bad idea, no matter what system it is.

And what's up with that logo? That dog sure does look angry, but what does it have to do with the Neo Geo? And then there's a half page of text, most of which is technical information dumbed down for the layman. One thing does trouble me, though. This advertisement claims, "Neo Geo is the only video game imachine in the world capable of the processing 330 megs of sheer undaunted power." The figure they are talking about is the amount of memory is capable of being on the cartridge, yet they must be forgetting that the TurboGrafx-CD features a lot more than just 330 megs of information. And the "7 tracks devoted to REAL VOICE speech allow you to listen in on "live" play by play action" seems like a load of crap, too. Just thought I'd be the one that mentions it.

ThunderFox (Genesis)
Ladies and gentlemen (actually, pretty much just ladies), I give you the one thing that the terrorists of this world are scared of, the one thing that is going to make them shake in their caves ... shirtless steroid queens! I'm not sure whether this is a picture for a video game or the sexiest romance novel about terrorists Strapless Publishing has ever released. Who knew going after Ayman Al Zawahiri would be so damn sexy?

The one thing that troubles me about this advertisement is the guy in front, the shirtless guy in the middle holding two extremely large guns (over compensating?). I look at him and I see Jeff Daniels ... if the dude decided to get on the same fitness plan as Barry Bonds. It's a shame ThunderFox wasn't a bigger hit, perhaps Jeff Daniels would have had a reason to be in an action film (well, except for Speed).

Perhaps part of the problem is that silly slogan, "Lightning Strikes." Yeah, I know the name of the game is ThunderFox, but that doesn't mean you have to get all punny on us now. And just incase "Lightning Strikes" and "ThunderFox" don't do the game justice, off to the side this advert reminds you that there will be "Explosive Action." And don't forget those "14 Different Foes to Fight," because 13 is too few and 15 is too many. Thank god Taito's slogan isn't accurate; if this really was "The Only Game In Town" you can bet I would have committed suicide long ago.

Klax (TurboGrafx-16)
NEC's TurboGrafx-16 is one of those systems we haven't made a lot of fun of here on the Commercial Break, we usually reserve the harshest comments for other systems (like the Neo Geo, which we've featured more than once). But the days of ignoring the TurboGrafx-16 are over, today is the day we get around to talking about the bad advertising that can be found on NEC's 16-bitter. Today I introduce you to Klax, one of the worst advertisements you will ever see.

In theory this Klax advertisement is nothing more than a couple screenshots and the cover of the game. The problem here is that this cover art is so bad it makes ICO look good. Forget for a moment that this guy is moving so fast that you can see three of him, the worst thing about this cover is that the guy is just plain ugly. He has a wicked sunburn right on his face, terrible fashion sense, and appears to be overwhelmed by his job ... in other words, he's a loser! Ladies, run, this is not the guy for you. Not that you would be suckered in by that face, why did Tengen have to make this guy so ugly?

Even this advertisement seems a little confused, at one point it asks, "And now it comes to you for play on the TurboGrafx?" Hey, don't ask me, you're the one writing the advertisement. And if the final line doesn't say it all ("It's a tic-tac-toe test of your hand-eye-brain coordination") then I don't know what will. They can say what they want about Klax, but it doesn't keep it from being just another puzzle game that is fun, but not so much fun you'll forget about what's going on in the outside world (that's reserved for really good puzzlers, like Tetris and Lumines).

Camerica Games - The Gold Series
How is this the first time we've talked about Nintendo World Champion Thor Aacherlund? You would have thought with all the advertisements we've poured over Thor would have come up before now, but it turns out this is his very first appearance on Defunct Games. In case you are unfamiliar with Thor, this is the kid that won that Nintendo Would Championships tour Big N did back in the early 1990s. He raced faster in Rad Racer, scored higher in Tetris and beat the first level in Super Mario Bros. faster than anybody else ... and now he's advertising Camerica's wares in a series of bad advertisements.

I'll give the guy credit, there were a lot of people in a number of cities looking for that crown, but this skinny little nerd is the one that walked away with the gold. And wouldn't you know, thanks to these advertisements we now have more than one reason to have this kid. "Go for gold" he says, suggesting that you buy games from Camerica, a company that was not an official license of Nintendo. Can't Nintendo revote your trophy or something? This seems strangely akin to that time Vanessa Williams posed nude and was shunned by the Miss America Pageant.

The classic gamer will probably notice that this commercial advertises Micro-Machines, one of the best party games ever made. But notice how that's the only game you've ever heard of. The Fantastic Adventure of Dizzy? Sounds like the subtitle to a Conker sequel. The Ultimate Stuntman, I suppose it couldn't be worse than that PS2 Stuntman game. Oh, and Big Nose the Caveman? Look, this was the early 1990s, video gaming wasn't that old and not all of the cool names were taken. There's just no excuse for a name like Big Nose. And you know what? There's no excuse for putting the same picture of Thor Aackerlund in your adverts and using different quotes he probably didn't say. "Setting a new standard in game play"?? How stoned was this kid when he won that golden cartridge?


Did Critics Like Duck Tales in 1989?

From Night Trap to Corpse Killer!


Thimbleweed Park

Persona 5

Delicate Duplicates

comments powered by Disqus