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Aliens in Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 25, 2007   |   Episode 38 (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!
The Black Bass (NES)
Even though I've never been a big fan of the fishing game genre, I understand that there are a lot of people out there who are really into catching (and releasing) virtual fish. I personally will never understand the desire, but who am I to judge what people like? I mean, you're talking to the one man in the world that likes shrimp and smoked salmon on pizza. Having said that, advertising your fishing game can be a rather tricky proposition, especially since you're essentially selling your product to a very small niche audience. The Black Bass, Hot-B's 8-bit fishing game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, may be a great game, but due to this inadvertently hilarious advertisement it's hard to take it very serious.

In this 18 year old advertisement the kid seems shocked that there's a giant bass flying out of his TV screen. Then again, wouldn't you be surprised to see a huge fish flying right at your face? But why did it take this kid so long to be surprised? Long before the fish even showed up the kid's TV started to spray gallons of water ... is that not something to be a little concerned about? If my TV started dumping buckets of water into my hours I would be a little freaked up, a lot more freaked out than this kid was. This rocket scientist decided to sit there playing the game while water poured into his place. Talk about a stupid fishing game fan!

And let's be honest here, the black bass hurdling towards your face is the least of your worries. If I was this kid I would be somewhat concerned about all that water getting close to my electronics, from what I hear water and functioning electronic devices don't mix. And while we're poking holes in this advertisement, am I the only one who wants to know just how long that kid's NES control cord is? That NES system is a good ten feet away from him, and yet his NES cord is going straight towards the TV set. How realistic is that? Well, to answer my question I'll just quote this advertisement: "Realistic?! ... only seeing is believing!"

Taito's Heat Wave
If you've ever been to one of those drunken frat parties then chances are you already know that you shouldn't fart right into a burning candle. There's nothing worse than setting a beer-soaked rug on fire because you had to impress those drunken chicks with your flammable farting. Well, apparently this Nintendo playing kid didn't get the memo, because his flatulence literally knocked him out of the chair and probably destroyed is tiny 10 inch television! I guess it's better he learns these life lessons now than when he's drunk trying to impress women.

So this is an advertisement for Taito's "heat wave". So what game does Taito decide to showcase in their "heat wave"? None other than Hit the Ice, of course. Let's face it, I could spend the next three hundred words just making fun of how stupid it is to talk about how hot your games are (even illustrating your point by showing some dude's flaming farts) and then showcase a game about ice hockey. But what's the point in spending that much time talking about it? As far as I'm concerned it's low lying fruit, it's just not worth my time or effort. I can only hope that this picture was not drawn specifically for Hit the Ice.

But even if we take Hit the Ice completely out of the equation, this commercial is still left advertising games that are decidedly NOT hot. Panic Restaurant? When the description says that "these dirty dishes need to be cleaned up" you know you're in for a world of hurt. And what about Sonic Blast Man? It's almost as if he came late to superhero school on the day they were handing out cool names. And then there's On the Ball, which is so painfully punny that I've decided to ignore it. So all we're left with is The Flintstones and The Jetsons ... and we know how good games based on classic cartoons are. Looking at this line-up I'm stuck thinking that maybe this guy's flaming farts are more entertaining than any of these games!

Verdict TeleReviews
Before I start talking about Verdict TeleReviews I feel I should say that it's stupid to call 1-900 numbers and I hope that none of you reading this article will be tempted to throw your money away like this. If you absolutely must throw your money away, I suggest you toss it in an envelope and send it my way ... you'll get a lot more out of a site like Defunct Games than you would listening to some bonehead read you his thoughts over the telephone. Of course, I don't even think they have 1-900 numbers anymore, but just in case you live someplace where you can get tricked into spending your money over the phone, let me be the first to say: DON'T DO IT!

Having said that, this commercial for Verdict TeleReviews is one of my all time favorites. Who cares if they couldn't be bothered to come up with some flashy graphics, screenshots, or even a logo for your company? Who cares that this advertisement looks more like a classified ad in your local newspaper than something you would find in Electronic Gaming Monthly? All I care about is that this commercial tries its hardest to convince me that it's a good idea to give them money to listen to their views about games.

At one point in this advertisement they suggest that it's actually cheaper to pay this company money than to buy a bad game, completely ignoring that you could read game reviews in magazines (like the magazine this advertisement came in). Heck, if you're really desperate you can rent the game and try it out, and even if you don't like it you still have the satisfaction of actually playing a game. My favorite part is when they answer the person who is confused by the menu system. "We'll happily send you a VTR user guide that will lead you step by step through the entire service," Verdict TeleReviews says. I'm sorry, but if you can't figure out how to use a phone, then maybe you shouldn't be spending your time playing video games.

Spud's Adventure (Game Boy)
You know, eggplants get a bad rap! I'm sick and tired of all these classic video games trying to tell me that eggplants are some evil group that is dead set on ruining your life. According to classic video games the eggplant is the Nazi of the food world; it's a type of veggie that deserves to be annihilated from the planet! But eggplants aren't that bad. Oh sure, I'm not a huge fan of these purple vegetables, but who am I to judge one veggie from another? Maybe the eggplant is just misunderstood? Perhaps it's the tomatoes and potatoes that are the real jerks of the food world, we just don't know that because the potato lobbyists are more effective than those working for the eggplant.

Either way, Spud's Adventure is another propaganda piece where you play a pudgy little potato on a quest to save his tomato girlfriend from the evil eggplants. And this time around we learn that the eggplant isn't the only veggie jerk, because we see a carrot with a bomb and a sneaky green pepper. Wait, carrots are bad for you? How can something that helps my eyesight be bad for me? When I look at games like this I just get the feeling that I'm missing the context, why do I feel like twenty years from now I'm going to learn that everything I know about vegetables is wrong?

One thing this review tries to do is paint Spud's Adventure as some huge quest that will take you hundreds (if not thousands) of hours to complete. "Fight, dodge and run through a seemingly endless array of puzzles and mazes!" Seemingly endless? "Non-stop action!" Really? Non-stop?? Am I trying to bring peace to the vegetable kingdom or the Middle East? My favorite part of this advertisement comes in the screenshot, which shows the absolute least interesting picture of the game you could possibly take. It appears to be part of a cinema, but they don't even let the character say the full comment. But maybe they didn't need to finish the statement, maybe they are hoping that it's compelling enough for you to buy the game and see what the last few words of the comment are. As far as I'm concerned that's a
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