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Masters of Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 20, 2007   |   Episode 39 (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!
Super Street Fighter II Turbo (PC CD-ROM)
There was this humorous time in the mid-1990s when every PC owner truly believed that their home computer could do everything a console could do (for what it's worth, we're going through the opposite of that right now). Ideal world of the 1990s: You were wrong! The PCs are amazing machines capable of doing just about everything you could want ... but they are not a proper substitute for a good old fashioned console. Especially if the console experience you're trying to emulate starts with the words "Street Fighter" and ends with the number "2". In the past we've made fun of PC companies who try to hawk high-end fighting games to their unsuspecting computer-loving audience. Well we're at it again, but this time it's Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Capcom's final version of the popular Street Fighter II series (unless you count the upcoming Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix).

There are a lot of reasons why it's a bad idea to port Super Street Fighter II Turbo to the PC, and it seems like every single bad idea is illustrated in this terrible commercial. Have you ever noticed that it's difficult to fit a bunch of people around a computer monitor? Heck, it's hard to fit two people around a computer monitor. Just look at what's going on here, there are seven people fighting to view the screen ... and at most only two are actually capable of seeing what's going on. It's also hard to see because they're playing on a 14 inch computer screen! And I love how everybody is around but nobody seems to want to play two players ... perhaps that's because you would have to buy two extra controls just to play this game the way it was meant to be played. So let me get the straight, it's on a dinky little screen, it's not economic and it's hard to get everybody around to see what's going on, why would anybody want to play this?

I find it ludicrous that so many people (six by my count) would be this excited to stand around and watch one guy play when there are two other fighting games (Mortal Komedy II and Dumb II) right next door. I don't care how much better Street Fighter II is, I would much rather play a two player game of Mortal Kombat ... er, Mortal Komedy II than watch some dummy use a six-button PC control play by himself. Speaking of ludicrous, the text states that you can now play the game in "your favorite comfy chair." Or you could just play it on a console (any console) and have everybody sit on a comfy couch and play multiplayer on a nice large screen. I don't care if you have a small TV, chances are it's going to be bigger than this computer monitor ... and a heck of a lot easier for people to crowd around.

The Glove (N64/PS1)
Remember the Power Glove? Oh, sure you do, it was that crappy NES control that Galoob made and was featured in that terrible movie, The Wizard. While I'm sure you thought that the days of the Power Glove were long past us, but you would be wrong. Since its inception the Power Glove has gone on to influence a number of crazy motion devices, from the Game Glove for the PC to the Nintendo Wii controller. But it's this Nintendo 64 Power Glove knock-off that is the most appalling, if only because this is the first time I've actually ever heard of it. I pride myself on owning every terrible video game accessory that sees release (from the Roll n' Rocker to the Turbo Touch 360 for the NES), yet somehow The Glove slipped right past me? The Cyril of today is not very happy with the Cyril of 1996!

This isn't just any glove, it's The Glove. While that is admittedly a terrible (and horribly generic) name, part of me loves the gutsiness of it all. How cool would it be to walk into a game store and just say, "Give me The Glove"? It's a shame Reality Quest couldn't have taken the same tact for their other controls, it would have been even cooler to own something called The Control. Or what about The Joystick? Oh, I know, maybe they could have come up with The Link That Lets Two People Play The Virtual Boy ... I mean, somebody had to make it, right?

For a device that is called The Glove, this thing doesn't look like much of a glove to me. It looks more like a brace or something, I'm actually afraid to put my hand in it because I fear that it's going to come to life and turn me into some sort of weird comic book super villain (which actually sounds cooler than a Power Glove retread). But I guess I shouldn't fear The Glove, because the six quotes at the top tell me it's perfectly safe. And just who are these quotes from? Satisfied customers? Store employees? Video game journalists? Nope, these quotes are from people who only gave their first name and only like to say the most generic comments. Heck, I'm pretty sure nobody actually said these comments, which may explain why they didn't use any last names and didn't have any professional quotes. I'm not sure why more companies aren't doing that, who needs a professional quote when you can get some dude named Steve to vouch for your product. "Big Rigs is the greatest racing game ever," says Steve. "You'll never see a better movie than Norbit," proclaims Steve. "Euro Disney ROCKS!" states an excited Steve. Why didn't I think of this earlier, Reality Quest you are a genius (says Steve).

1-900 PSM
We've been over this a million times, when you go about designing a one-page advertisement you want to make sure to keep it simple. Yet time and time again I'm forced to look at these commercials that are full of head ache-inducing text and no clear message. This seems to be the problem with this 1-900 number for PSM, which I can only assume is the PlayStation Monthly magazine. Of course, that would be more obvious if this advertisement was in a copy of the PSM magazine ... but instead I had to pull this from a competitor's magazine. PSM or no, this commercial is annoying, hard to look at and a bunch of other terrible things.

Beyond the problem that the commercial is entirely too wordy (clocking in at around 150 words), this 1-900 PSM advert is made that much worse by the seemingly random font colors, size changes and uppercase words. Worse yet, it's all on this bright red background. And if that wasn't enough, the words take center stage, the four pictures (which include a ninja from Tenchu, a naughty maid from Thrill Kill, Tomba, and some dude who looks completely out of place) almost seem like an afterthought. How else do you explain why they look like they were just thrown on the page where there were a few blank spots?

Of course the most hilarious bit comes close to the bottom of the page. While going through some of the reasons why you should call this 1-900 number, PSM states that you could "get the complete moves list for Thrill Kill." You don't say, you mean the full list of moves for Thrill Kill? Too bad nobody will actually be able to play it! Oh, and while we're on the subject of unintentionally funny quotes, am I the only one that chuckled when I read that you could "get PlayStation news as it really happens from PSM's very own Blake Fischer"? I guess the news in the magazine is all made up and not actually how it happens. It's always nice for a major magazine like this to show a little candor and let us know that their news in the print magazine is full of crap. Thanks PSM, you saved me from spending a lot of time trying to figure out what is real and what is fake.

Pretzel Pete (PC)
Some game concepts are so bad that no matter how terrible the advertising is it won't get in the way of the actual game. Take Pretzel Pete for example, now here's a game where you play a hero named Pete who is armed with a powerful pretzel net and a mighty mustard cannon. He's here to rescue humanity from, you guessed it, pretzel purgatory. Say what?? What is a pretzel net and why does this guy have a cannon of mustard? Do pretzels hate mustard? And am I the only one that doesn't think that pretzel purgatory is such a bad thing? I've always said that if you have a choice between pie heaven and regular heaven you should choose pie heaven. It may not exist, but if it does ... mmmmm pie.

Getting beyond those crazy questions and the thought of yummy pretzel purgatory, there's actually a crazy stupid advertisement to go along with this crazy stupid game. Should you be afraid? Actually, yes. At least, that's what the tagline says: "Be afraid! Be very afraid!" The only thing I fear is that somebody actually looked at this terrible commercial and said, "Hey, I need to run out to the store and buy this Pretzel Pete game."

Maybe it's just me, but this commercial reminds me of the old Dunkin' Donuts cook who knows that it's "time to make the donuts." Only this time around, it's some crazy old pretzel maker who apparently bakes his pretzels in kryptonite. Who does this guy think is coming to battle him, Superman? From the box art Pretzel Pete is nothing more than a Archie's comic character who has a butterfly net (and a busty girlfriend who isn't wearing many clothes). Then again, I don't actually know how to make pretzels, so maybe that green glow is natural. I'm not sure what I should be afraid of, I usually don't eat food that is glowing green ... so it's not like I'm going to accidentally start chomping on this radioactive pretzel. Who would be afraid of a pretzel? Oh, I know. "Pretzel Pete is the scariest game of all time," states Steve. Man, I'm sure glad I reviewed The Glove!


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