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Commercial Break
Two Guys, a Girl, and Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 15, 2006   |   Episode 22 (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 ...
Starshot: Space Circus Fever (N64)
Picking the perfect location for your video game can be tricky. After so many years of games on so many different systems it's hard to be completely original while offering a world gamers will want to explore. Apparently the makers of Starshot didn't get the memo, because they decided to create an action game that takes place in a circus ... in space! Now that's a really bad idea, but it's this crummy piece of advertising that puts Starshot: Space Circus Fever way over the top.

This commercial is very confusing; it's the type of product that requires a lot of explaining just to have a little fun. For example, why do you need a circus out in the middle of space? Wouldn't it make more sense to feature a big top on a planet or even a moon? And how is it that our hero (the loser with the orange and yellow spandex) can breathe in space? And what does he have against clowns??

But it's the bullet points that make the least amount of sense. For instance, one of the selling points says, "Explore with total freedom as you travel through fantastic 3-D worlds in real time." Real time?? Aren't all games in real time? You're controlling a character, when you push a button your character does something, isn't that real time? And while I'm complaining about their text, maybe it's time to stop pretending to use the word "ass" by using a word that features an "A" and an "S" (in this case it's asteroid). It's not clever or funny ... but then again, we're talking about a guy who seems to be fighting at a space circus. Perhaps clever and funny aren't supposed to apply here!

C-3D
Okay, first things first, what is C-3D? Or is that even what this thing is called? I mean, if you look at the name on this 1995 advertisement it looks like it's called CIIID, which if we apply Nintendo logic it would be pronounced "Seed." But instead of making fun of the way Nintendo is spelling their Wii, perhaps we should focus on trying to figure out what this thing is advertising. The text certainly isn't very descriptive and their website no longer words (though, you have to admit, they must have stood in line early to get a domain like 3d.com).

It's not the name that makes this commercial so bad, it's those "mindblowing 3D" effects that the commercial touts. In order to impress you enough to buy their product (or look them up, or something, I'm still not sure what this is advertising) C-3D decided to show you two polygonal characters that should whet your appetite. But who is going to be excited about a giant blob creature and a bee that appears to be made out of water? Even the TV looks unconvincing in this terrible advertisement, the effects here are laughably bad.

But maybe I'm just too rough on C-3D and their revolutionary technology. Maybe if I just read what it said I would like it more, maybe even consider it to be "the bomb." "With the C-3D Imaging System that converts TV shows or video games into unbelievable 3D or watch the C-3D Television Network in Stereoscopic 3D." What? Is it just me or is that one long run-on sentence? And what the hell is Stereoscopic 3D and what does it have to do with me watching Donald Trump on The Apprentice? Oh screw it, this commercial failed the moment it called those 3D effects "mindblowing."

Intensor FX with VIBRA-KICK
When you look at a product like the Intensor FX with VIBRA-KICK you probably think I made it up. I mean, how on Earth could anybody make something like this and promote it in a video game magazine? This is a video game accessory that you sit on and you feel the impact of your video game. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a vibrator every young boy can enjoy!

"Get a kick right where you sit," this commercial suggests. It's almost as if the makers of the Intensor FX with VIBRA-KICK think there's a large market out there for people wanting their ass cheeks to vibrate. When was the last time you heard a gamer say that he wished his butt jiggled more while playing Halo? And with two-thirds of American males overweight isn't there some worry that this product will get crushed? It's one thing to get a kick, it's an entirely different thing to be pulling plastic shards out of your butt because you had to look like a fool and sit on this silly device!

Eventually the commercial simply devolves into listing off a bunch of home entertainment devices. Music, CDs, MP3s, TV, VCR, DVD, and DSS are all listed for what seems to be no reason at all. And if that doesn't sell you, maybe the ability to win a $100 gift certificate will sway you! A whole one-hundred dollars, where do I sign up? Couple this with one of the worst Photoshop jobs you will ever see and you have a disaster on your hand. I don't care how happy that kid looks, at the end of the day you're still having fun with the male vibrator!

Nyko Worm Light & Shock 'N' Rock
By now Nyko should be getting used to seeing their name associated with these Commercial Break articles, this is one company that has a whole lot of bad advertising to atone for. This commercial for the Worm Light and Shock 'N' Rock is no exception; in fact, it may actually be their worst yet. This advert is so bad that one has to wonder if they are even trying to sell their products at all.

In order for the text to make sense you need a picture of a frog, one of those species that isn't known for the ability to sell products. The problem is that Nyko could have used any animal, the reference to the frog's croak could have been replaced with just about anything else. Yet Nyko decided to give us a close up of a frog and make a pun that falls flat on its face. I would hate to meet the person that looks at this frog and says, "wowza, I really need to own that Worm Light and Shock 'N' Rock!"

And while we're at it, why would anybody want the Shock 'N' Rock anyway? It's a device that amplifies the Game Boy Color's sound. We're not talking about some CD here, I'm speaking of the Game Boy Color, the system that couldn't do much more than a few blips and bleeps and a whole lot of crappy repetitive music. Who wants to make that louder? If anything these accessories seem more like a punishment than well crafted add-ons, which may explain why they are using a frog to sell this crap. It just goes to show, if you're going to feature an animal in your advertising make sure it's some fluffy pet that everybody can get on board with!
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