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America's Got Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 16, 2007   |   Episode 37 (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!
Dragon Video: Import Games and Systems
In the past 36 episodes of Commercial Break we have had many good times making fun of video game companies and their terrible advertisements. We've looked at old NES games, current Xbox 360 titles and even a few ridiculous accessories, and I won't lie to you, I've had a blast ripping these companies apart. But there's one type of advertising we have yet to address, something that probably deserves a whole show of its own. I'm of course talking about video game store advertisements, the local TV commercial equivalent of video game advertising. There is nothing quite as cheesy as looking at an advert that is clearly done at some guy's home on his personal computer.

Let me introduce you to Dragon Video, a company that used to advertise in old issues of Die Hard Game Fan. From what I can tell from this advert they are/were a North Carolina company that specialized in import games and the Neo Geo. As far as I'm concerned this is a good thing, the more companies that sell rare and import titles the better as far as I'm concerned. But if you're going to advertise your store in a major video game magazine perhaps you should save up some money and give it to somebody that actually knows how to make a convincing advertisement. I know I said that there's nothing cheesier than a commercial made at home, but apparently I'm wrong. There is something worse, a commercial made at home on an Intel 486!

The problem with this commercial is that I don't even know where to start; this advertisement is all over the place. Are they trying to tell us something by slashing the 3DO? And why is there blood (and eyeballs) in the green water? And who is that polygonal man with a Neo Geo headband? And why are they calling the cat? And who knew that palm trees were able to grow out in the middle of the ocean? You know what; this commercial has more questions than the entire season of Lost! The only problem is that I don't care what the answer is, because I have a hunch it's all artistic license from some computer geek stoned in his mother's basement.

Flipfull (Game Boy)
Let's face it; it's hard to make a 2D black and white puzzle game look hip. This is especially true when you're forced to compete with big macho action stars, zombies and dragon slayers. Making a 2D puzzle game sound exciting may be tough but it's not impossible, just look at what Q Entertainment did with Lumines and Meteos. Unfortunately Flipfull was released long before anybody figured out how to market a 2D puzzle game, because this Taito advertisement is one of the worst I've ever seen.

So let's forget for a minute that Taito has made up a stupid new word, the problem with this commercial is that it lies to you. On the left side of the advert it says that if you "knock out enough cubes before the clock runs out you'll be a winner." Unfortunately nobody that looks at this commercial is a winner. That's right, you and everybody else that has click on this picture already knows that when it comes to Flipfull we're all losers.

Don't believe me? Just take a look at the upside down moron at the top of the advert. It's bad enough that Taito figured they could put some dumb looking kid in the ad and it would make Game Boy owners all over the country run to their local game store, but couldn't they have at least found a kid with good fashion sense. He's wearing neon green socks for crying out loud, you simply can't be cool with neon green socks. And that's completely ignoring those flip glasses, when I see somebody with flip glasses I just want to walk over to them and punch them in the nose. On second thought I'm fine with this kid hanging upside down, because it's only a matter of time before gravity takes hold and he lands flat on his head (and breaks those ugly ass flip glasses)!

Aura Interactor
Without even looking at this advertisement I knew that this would be perfect fodder for Commercial Break. How did I know that? Am I psychic? Do I have a sixth sense? Nope, I just know how terrible the Aura Interactor was ... and anything that bad can't have a good marketing campaign. And wouldn't know, this completely unnecessary device is sporting an obnoxious advertisement that will only appeal to those kids who think that MTV is too slow paced. This is the Interactor, a vest-like device that you wear in order to "feel" the music and sound effects. Sound lame? Trust me; it's even worse than it sounds!

But as bad as this accessory is, this advertisement is actually worse. You know you're in for a bad commercial when you see everyday objects used to replace letters. You think it's bad when people substitute numbers for letters, well that's nothing compared to a knife as a "T" or a space ship representing an "A". It's bad enough that you want to put on a vest that will make you feel the rumble of a gunshot, but do you really need to have a skull and a jet represent the alphabet? I mean come on, if you're the type of person who enjoys having the sound of bullets actually hit your chest then chances are you can't read and these shapes and symbols mean nothing.

Actually, forget the advertisement for a minute. Sure this is a stupid commercial; it's a big cross hair with a kid in the middle. But the problem with this advert isn't the words or the stupid "Cold War" talk that we see at the bottom of the page. Instead the issue is that this is just a stupid device that was ill conceived. I understand why people like rumble in their game controls, but are there really people out there asking for a device that you strap on to your body to make your entire chest shake? How will you know when you're having a heart attack? What if there's an earthquake? What's next, a game accessory that gives you a headache?

Game Fan's Virtual Boy Contest
We've been over this before; if you're going to promote a contest in your nationally distributed video game magazine you better make sure it's something people actually want to enter. The fact that you have free stuff to give away is not enough of a reason to hype up a contest, especially when it's something that you can't even pay people to take. This seems to be the case with our fourth advertisement, Game Fan's official Virtual Boy Contest, a competition that allows you to win Nintendo's very worst console (no, not the GameCube, the Virtual Boy silly).

In this commercial (which is really nothing more than a scan of the lame red and blue box art) Game Fan suggests that you can win big. Win big? Even if they gave away every single Virtual Boy game and a trip to Nintendo's headquarters some unlucky sap would still be stuck with a pile of terrible faux-3D games and a ticket to the rainiest place in the United States. You might as well trade in your ticket for a bus ride to your nearest dark alley and fight a bum ... or give him the Virtual Boy, it's not like you're ever going to use it.

Perhaps the funniest part of the entire advert is what you have to do to win this "great" prize. Apparently it's not enough to just fill out a card and send it in or maybe email the editors, instead you have to take a 3D picture of yourself (whatever that means). They say you can "draw it, shoot it, or just go wacky and be creative." How do I take a 3D picture with a camera? And if the winners are going to be chosen at random then why should anybody get "creative"? And to add insult to injury apparently you don't even need to follow those rules, because "there're really no rules." Yeah, great contest. The last thing it says is that it would help if you have played the Virtual Boy. Well, no offense Game Fan, but if you've actually played the Virtual Boy then chances are good you will want to steer clear of this lame contest. I think I'll wait until the Official Game Fan Mortal Kombat Advance Contest is announced.
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