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Skating With Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on September 11, 2006   |   Episode 28 (Show Archive)  

Join us on our continuing mission to seek out and expose the worst video game advertising of all time. Over the past twenty years we've witnessed a lot of terrible advertising, and it's our job to point it out and let you know what we really think! Nobody is safe when you tune into another episode of Commercial Break, your best resource for the worst video game advertising you ever will see!
WWF Pinball Contest
Dude!! This contest is totally "In Your Face"! How can you argue with such an extreme advertisement? And it's not just in your face, but it also wants your face to appear in the advert. That's just one of the extreme, totally over-the-top prizes you could win in this contest that, dare I say it, is in your face. But don't get too excited, this is just a contest to win some WWF Pinball machine, not even something useful. At least if they were giving out the Clapper or a subscription to GamePro this would be worth entering, but who wants their face on an advertisement that is promoting a WWF Pinball machine? And it's not even doing a good job of that.

And the terrible prizes don't stop there. The second place winners will receive two Data East games of their choice. You can't complain about two free games ... unless you remember how bad the Data East games were back in the early 1990s. To illustrate this fact just look at the games they are promoting in the top corner, Panic and Side Pocket. Getting a copy of Panic is not what I would call "In Your Face," it's more like "In The Garbage."

So far we've seen a contest that could net you a crummy WWF Pinball machine, copies of Panic and your face in an upcoming Data East advertisement, what could be worse than that? Well Data East manages to find a way of sinking even lower it decides to give out two Sega 32X machines. Talk about adding insult to injury, with prizes like this the best you can hope for is the third prize: the sports bottle!

Ghouls 'N' Ghosts (Atari ST)
Ghouls 'N Ghosts is one of the best games ever made, it was one of those early Capcom titles that convinced gamers to upgrade from 8-bits to 16. I still regard it as one of the best 2D platformers around, it's a truly challenging game with a lot of imagination and cool enemies. But with advertisements like this one I find it incredibly hard to love Sir Arthur and his outrageous adventures.

This advertisement is horrendous, it takes everything that is cool about Ghouls 'N Ghosts and turns in into something that GamePro wouldn't even use. Let's start with Sir Arthur. At least, I think that's Sir Arthur ... it's hard to tell considering the artist gave the dude some breasts. In fact, the whole set of armor seems very odd, certainly nothing like what we see in the actual game. But I still need to know, why is he wearing women's armor? Was the other kind on backorder and he has to settle?

Thankfully U.S. Gold pulled together some of their best writers to come up with a short and sweet catchphrase, something that would stick in people's minds and help seal the deal. That's when their best writer stood up and shouted out: "If Ghosts 'N' Goblins Scared You Out of Your Mind ... This'll Scare You Out of Your Skin!" The only thing scary is how terrible this artwork is, this is the type of advertisement that makes me embarrassed to have recommended Ghouls 'N Ghosts to people.

Atari Jaguar - Unbelievable!
Leave it to Atari to come up with an ad campaign that is even worse than "Do the Math." This thumb-centric Jaguar advert is wrong on too many levels to count. Perhaps the only good thing about this commercial is that it could have been worse, the headline could have read: "Thumbelievable!" Sometimes a little restraint goes a long way ... especially when your advertisement is so ugly that it hurts to look directly at it.

I'm sorry, but the person that decided that it would be a good idea to make a commercial out of a severed thumb needs to be fired. And not just fired, he should be blacklisted from all future employment. No fast food, no sales positions and thankfully no jobs as a sitcom writer at Fox. In this commercial we see that severed thumb welcomed in a parade, interviewed about his records (which include NBA Jam T.E., Super Burnout and Val D'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding), and explain why the Jaguar is the system to get. But there's nothing in this advertisement about it shriveling up and turning blue, it seems like that would just be inevitable.

But forget the thumb for a moment, the real problem with this advertisement is that very little of it is about promoting the games and system. There's one small picture of the Jaguar at the bottom of the commercial, and the four covers and four pictures of the games make up around 30% of the total page. The rest is there to look at a severed thumb and have somebody write some fake news. It's all very confusing, but then, almost everything Atari did back then was very confusing.

Street Fighter: The Movie Collector Cards
This colorful advertisement is for Lazlos' Leap, just one of the many Game Boy puzzle games that wasn't worth your time or attention. The Game Boy might have been black and white, but that didn't stop DTMC from using nearly every color in the rainbow in the worst way possible. The reds clash with the blues and yellows, the greens don't go with anything, and the yellow and green sky is just weird. I'm not sure what it is, but something about this advertisement makes me feel like I need to throw up. And I blame Professor Lazlos for that.

Lazlos' Leap has at least one characteristic that sets it apart from the rest of the bad advertisements we've looked at in the past 27 episodes. Lazlos' Leap is the first advertisement that actually voids out a screenshot. Believe it or not, there's a picture of the game on this advertisement that has a giant "VOID" marker over it. Is that the way to sell your product? I know the picture isn't very good, but wouldn't it just be easier to replace it with something more interesting?

You can tell that the people creating this advertisement were just phoning it in. The very last line of this commercial mentions, "Look for Sumo FIGHTER in this magazine!" The description has even lost interest in Lazlos' Leap, perhaps that's a sign that nobody else cares either. The advertisement asks, "Do you have what it takes to beat Professor Lazlos' toughest puzzle?" Perhaps the real question is, "Do you have what it takes to pass this piece of garbage game and buy something better?" I know you do.


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