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 Double Dragon Trilogy
Sometimes when I rip apart a video game advertisement I feel bad. I know that deep down there was some low-paid artist spending his lonely, loveless nights scribbling up what he thinks is an epic illustration for SNK or Streets of Rage. But I don't have a problem making fun of the Double Dragon trilogy on the Nintendo Entertainment System (and Game Boy). By the
time we arrived at this advertisement Acclaim had already milked the franchise dry, the only thing worse would have been teaming them up with the Battletoads ... oh wait. Regardless of what you think of Double Dragon, I think everybody would agree that this franchise is not above taking a few well placed hits.
So this is a Double Dragon explosion ... ewww! Apparently this is the story where Billy and Jimmy take on Scorpion, who has turned the entire city upside down. No really, look at what's going on behind our heroes. We have a dozen people punching, kicking and choking to get ahead. And yet our heroes refuse to do anything about it. Instead they stand there posing for the camera. Uh, guys, there's some action going on right behind you, maybe you should save the photo op for that victory lap you'll do right after kicking everybody else's ass.
Oh, and this should be common sense, but if you're a wanted felon, then maybe you shouldn't stand in front of your own wanted poster. I know the Double Dragon boys are not the sharpest saws in the tool shed, but you don't see real criminals doing this, do you? I mean, when was the last time you heard about one of the FBI's most wanted getting nabbed because he couldn't resist posing in front of his wanted poster? You don't hear about that, because it doesn't happen. Then again, if the Double Dragons were actually smart they would quit posing and run away from whatever is going on in the background, because that looks mighty nasty!
Software Toolworks - Gamers Speak
Quick: What is this advertisement selling you? No need to answer right away, take a closer look at the advertisement, read the text and come back to me when you're done. Done? Oh, you need a few more seconds. Fine, I'll wait. Okay, that's about enough time. This advertisement is selling you on the amazing Mindscape catalog of PC games. I'm talking about Chessmaster 2100, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, the Miracle Piano Teaching System and more. The reason you wouldn't know it from this advertisement is because this is nothing more than a bunch of "real" letters supposedly written to Software Toolworks. I hate to be completely cynical, but considering no names were used, I'm going to
say that there's a good chance that these letters are completely made up. It's not hard to make up a fake letter for your advertisement, just check out this letter talking about Defunct Games ...
"Dear Defunct Games. I would like to let you know that Defunct Games is the funniest and most original site on the internet. I would like to say that your hard hitting articles and silly historical features are a lot of fun. I would like to tell all of my friends about your reviews, both new and old. I would like to do all of these things, but I can't. You see, I can't because Defunct Games is easily one of the worst sites I have ever been to. I would rather stick my hand up a donkey's ass than have to listen to you prattle on about how terrible everything is. Get over yourself, you guys suck!"
Yikes, even when I write my own Defunct Games endorsement things go wrong. I guess there is some skill to making a completely terrible advertisement that is nothing more than your own fake letters. Who would have thought? Also, shouldn't it be "Gamers' Speak"? I don't know, something just doesn't sound right about Gamers Speak. Then again, there's something not right about this whole advertisement. When you're making an advertisement for a bunch of products, maybe you should spend a few minutes and include the logos. Instead we have an advertisement where you actually have to work to find out what it's for. Marketing 101 says that you always want to have your product front and center. Apparently that's another one of the classes Software Toolworks failed out of.
Crazyland - The Ride of Your Life (NES)
I know I shouldn't make fun of kid's games, but after 42 episodes I can't ignore Crazyland any longer! So this is Crazyland, a wacky (but ironically not crazy) action game that nobody remembers. The reason nobody remembers it is because it's total trash, just like this awful advertisement. This is one of those loony (but again, not crazy) games that figures that if they simply throw
everything at you that you'll think that it's lots and lots of fun. But having a weird (but not crazy) mishmash of irrelevant characters and levels isn't fun, it's just annoying ... and definitely not crazy.
But here's what strikes me as odd about this advertisement. In more than one location this commercial states that your task is to "rescue Dewey's girlfriend." Wait ... what?? Rescue Dewey's girlfriend?? From the picture Dewey looks to be about five years old, and let me tell you, that name isn't helping him any. You don't run into too many adult business men named Dewey. I don't care how good or bad the gameplay is, I'm against this game simply because I don't believe little kids should be having sex. Couldn't Dewey at least wait until he hit puberty? Maybe then I'll actually care about his plight.
The other thing that annoys me are the levels. Here's what the advertisement says: "Join Dewey through Carnivals, Safaris and Rollercoasters." Okay, carnivals and safaris I understand, but isn't a rollercoaster just another part of the carnival? I'm surprised they didn't go one step further and talk about the amazing cup ride level or stage where you have to swing a mallet as hard as you can. And don't forget about the amazing merry-go-round and Ferris wheel stages, I'm sure that's the kind of thing that will make you run out to your local game store and buy Crazyland. But don't, you're better off spending your life savings at a real carnival. Or better yet, Carnival in Brazil ... now THAT is what I would call Crazyland.
The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants (Acclaim)
Okay, I chose this advertisement not because of the crazy doctor with huge eyes and solar-powered calculator. I didn't decide to make fun of the four licensed games released by Acclaim. I didn't even choose this advertisement because of the ridiculousness of the product. No, instead I chose this advertisement because I hate it when game advertisements
suggest that they have an "ultra real feel." Obviously that can't be true with this product; it's an LCD display that gives you 1 frame of animation, so the idea of an "ultra real feel" seems to be thrown out the window.
But let's dig a little deeper. Do we really want an "ultra real feel"? Wouldn't that mean that you wouldn't be able to jump real high in Super Mario Bros.? And wouldn't that spell the death of double jumps, throwing fireballs, and taking three dozen bullets? An "ultra real feel" would ruin every game ... well, every game except sports games. And heck, even sports games aren't as realistic as they could be. Nobody really wants that "ultra real feel" in their games, because it would make everything boring and lame.
Speaking of boring and lame, is there anybody on the planet that actually wants to play LCD versions of T2, Smash TV, WWF Ready to Rumble and Bart vs. the Space Mutants? These games weren't even good when Acclaim ported them to the far superior NES, so why would anybody want to play them as a crappy LCD title? Also, how exactly does Smash TV work? The game was all about using two joysticks to shoot hundreds of small attacking enemies. But now it's just a D-pad and a button. I guess that's what passes for the "ultra real feel" these days.