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 ...
Double Dragon (NES)
Double Dragon is one of most beloved arcade games of all time, single-handedly influencing an entire genre of brawlers that include Final Fight
and Rockstar's recent game, The Warriors. Although it feels archaic by today's standards, Double Dragon has touched millions of gamers in ways they will never fully understand. But who knew Double Dragon was so, well, gay??
As you can see in this commercial from 1990, our Double Dragon heroes (Billy and Jimmy Lee) were harboring a love the kind you rarely see in modern video games. The way they look in each others eyes, the way their lips salivate at the mere thought of the other's tight embrace, the way that they knew that they are the most important person in each other's life. Billy, I can't quit you! In this world of non-stop fighting it's clear that this is a love story that cannot be torn apart, these are two lovers who can't help but share their big gay love for each other.
But wait a second ... aren't Billy and Jimmy Lee supposed to be brothers? And not just brothers, but twin brothers?? I never knew that the original Double Dragon took place in the backwoods of Arkansas. Oh goodness, what would Roy Blunt think of the situation these two have gotten themselves in?? But as Tradewest's slogan says, "We Put You In the Action." The hot, sweaty, man on man action, that is.
DJ Boy (Genesis)
Oh no, Maria's in trouble ... somebody needs to save her!! Wait, I have an idea, let's head over to the local nightclub and find somebody that will save her, the type of hero that will know how to get the job done. But who do you pick? The bar manager? Nah, he's too busy keeping the conversations flowing. How about choosing the bouncers? After
all, these burly guys are paid to look mean and intimidate, and they almost always get the job done. But we can't use them; they're already busy breaking up fights. Oh wait, I know, let's choose the DJ ... after all, it's not like anybody is going to miss him!
This must have been the thinking when Kaneko decided to make DJ Boy. They could have chosen the go-go dancers, the wait staff, the bartender, or even the people on the floor getting drunk and dancing ... but they chose the DJ. The DJ, the one guy whose only job seems to be taking song requests and making sure he doesn't get too drunk to push the play button. Perhaps it's the stupid choices like that which kept Kaneko from putting their name on this advertisement.
Also, did I miss the trend of DJs and roller skates?? Since when was it hip for DJs to skate around? I thought that's what waitresses did in 1950s pull-up burger joints. And Kaneko, are you sure this DJ was the best choice?? He's wearing green pants and a matching shirt. A MATCHING SHIRT!! And to make matters worse, he's wearing elbow and knee pads, just like all the cool kids do. What's going on here? Couldn't you find a geekier DJ to base your character around? Who is this guy, DJ Pocket Protector?? Maria, I hope you're making the best of your new surroundings because I have a hunch it's going to be a long time before anybody comes and rescues you (and when they do, boy are you going to be disappointed).
Clasch at Demonhead (NES)
Hey dude, I hate to be the one to tell you this but there's a creepy dinosaur headed your way and you might want to do something about it. I mean seriously, forget about that skeleton guy in front of you, what good is a laser gun going to do against a skeleton anyway? If I were you I would be focusing my attention
on that dinosaur who is breathing down your neck. Don't feel bad about throwing your coveted blow-up sex doll to the side and addressing the real problem ... you're in the middle of what appears to be the stupidest fight of your life.
Why is it that everybody's vision of the future consist of stupid fashions that nobody would want to wear? Our hero appears to be sporting a metallic Laser Tag vest and some of the biggest boots since Battlefield Earth! Couple that with the fact that he has a mullet and a 1980s headband and you know that whoever envisioned this future will likely commit suicide long before anybody has to battle skeletons and dinosaurs. I know I would if I had to wear such stupid fashions and prey for the Ambiguously Guy Duo to show up on their flying devices.
Unfortunately what you cannot see in these scans is the text off to the right. It gives you a bunch of bullet points about the game, but before each one of them it yells "CHALLENGE" at you. For example, "CHALLENGE! Defeat the grotesque and vile keepers of the medallions!" And then when you've done that there's, "CHALLENGE! Solve the riddle of the medallions!" Unfortunately "CHALLENGE! Try your hardest to keep from laughing at how stupid this game looks" was left on the editing room floor!
Super Street Fighter II (PC)
Street Fighter II is one of my favorite games of all time, despite its age it still remains one of the best fighting games of all time. I try my hardest not to pick on Capcom's 2D fighter out of respect for what it did for our industry, but I can't keep quiet any longer ... these Street Fighter II adverts are simply atrocious! There are a lot of bad advertisements I can stand, but this PC port of Super Street Fighter II is one
of the worst. It decides to feature no artwork, small (and extremely unexciting) pictures, and one of the worst commercial models you ever will see. It's a train wreck in every sense of the word.
The real problem here is the idea that you're going to play something like Super Street Fighter II over the standard 56K dial-up phone lines. I have a speedy broadband connection and find myself running into trouble playing Dead or Alive 4, I can only imagine how smooth it would be set over a dial-up connection. Combine that with your standard PC game pad and you have a disaster quickly approaching epic levels. The idea is sound, but there's just no way that something like this could be pulled off with the technology of the time ... which might explain why nobody remembers the PC version of Super Street Fighter II.
And to make matters worse we are forced to look at a guy trying to plug a standard telephone cord into his head. What good is this going to do? No matter how many telephone cables you drill into your head you are still going to need the computer connected to the internet to play this game. And how stupid is this guy going to feel when in a couple of years nobody is using dial-up to connect to the net? Hopefully there's an Ethernet jack somewhere on his body (or better yet, a wireless card). Either way, it still doesn't explain why he has that stupid ass look on his face, if that's what Neo looked like before jacking into the Matrix I can guarantee that there wouldn't have been any sequels!