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Commercial Break
I'm Bad Advertising ... Get Me Out of Here!
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 19, 2009   |   Episode 47 (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 Arcadian - Get Serious!
That's right, you better get serious. Because this advertisement isn't messing around! This commercial is going straight for the heart of anybody who loves Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat. And you can tell, because there's an arcade cabinet to prove it. If they weren't serious they wouldn't show you an arcade cabinet, right? Never mind the fact that there is no such thing as an arcade machine that plays both Mortal Kombat AND Street Fighter II, this commercial wants to be taken seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they decided not to even show you a real arcade cabinet. Instead they have this computer-drawn recreation of a fairly generic arcade machine. THAT is how serious KBM is about this control.

And it's not just the fake arcade machine that plays two of the biggest fighting games of the 1990s. Oh no, this commercial is definitely serious because it shows THREE identical controls circling that fake arcade cabinet. You don't get much more serious than repeating pictures of your control. It shows that you have serious skills at the copy/paste functionality in Photoshop. That's hardcore serious.

Wait a second ... those aren't the same arcade sticks. Even though they look identical to the human eye, they each have different names that makes them seriously different. Like the Arcadian SN, that's clearly different from the Arcadian dual. And both of those are seriously different from the original Arcadian, the one with the blue sticker on the front. See, clearly these controls kick serious butt. They don't tell you how any of them differ, so any serious gamer will need to pick up all three of these seriously expensive arcade sticks. And you can tell they are expensive by the fact that they don't have a start or select button. Serious gamers don't need those buttons ... except for the games that require pausing. But serious gamers don't need to pause their game, because they're serious. Seriously!

We Will Pay Top Dollar For Your Games!
Talk about a crummy way to advertise your trade-in store. Not only do you make the costumer jump through hoops just to get prices ("[c]all us with a list of your games in alphabetical order"), but they don't even tell you the company's name. I looked up and down this advertisement, and nowhere is there a store name. Is this just some dude out of his mother's basement, or is it a real store? Clearly they have enough cash to warrant an advertisement in GamePro, so why all of the secrecy?

What's more, if you're a real company, then why are you only open between 10 and 5? This advert is from the late 1980s, long before every kid on the block had their own cell phone plan. How are all of us West Coast gamers supposed to take advantage of your trade-in values when you close at 2 PM? This is from a national publication, yet this company closes long before most kids get home from school. Again, that doesn't make a lot of business sense.

But the real problem with this advertisement isn't the crummy hours, lack of a company name or the draconian rules. The problem is the fact that it looks like the person on the other end of the phone is a speed freak. And I'm not talking about a guy who likes to drive fast. With his bloodshot eyes and dazed look, I get the feeling that Mr. Top Dollar just got done partying with an eight ball. Maybe it's just me, but I would much rather sell my games to a guy who doesn't look like he's going to melt them down and try and smoke them. Maybe that's just me.

Blockbuster Video - It's the Mature Thing To Do
Oh Big Blue, you sure do know the way to a gamers' heart. You do this by not even trying to make a new commercial for your print adverts, instead taking screen grabs from your television spots and shoehorning them into a one page advert about being responsible. It's obvious that this is what GamePro tried to pull off, because the quality of those pictures is as crummy as ... well ... standard definition television. Heck, you can see scan lines in a number of the photos, which gives off the impression that they took pictures of their television commercial with a standard point-and-shoot camera. Who do they think they are, GamePro?

But I have a real problem with this premise. It says that you could help and old lady, mow the lawn or clean your room. Those would be the "responsible" (and "mature") things to do. OR ... you could rent the coolest games at Blockbuster. Talk about giving gamers a bad name. Why must we choose between helping an old woman and renting a game? Just because I'm a gamer, that doesn't mean that I automatically kick old women when they're down.

And who the hell is Blockbuster Video to tell me what responsibility is? This is the company that for much of the 1990s had a monopoly on the video rental market and strong armed their competition until all of the mom and pop stores went out of business. This is the same company that rallied against DVDs for years, until finally being forced to adopt it. This is the same company that lost several court battles over their return policies. This is like asking Gary Busey to be the poster child for sobriety. You want to play it that way, Blockbuster? Fine! But at least give us a commercial that is more than just you taking pictures of your crappy TV set.

Acclaim: Out of This World SuperPlay Action!
First and foremost, as somebody who has played every version of NARC ever created (including this crummy handheld version), nobody has ever had this much fun playing this anti-drug action game. In fact, I'm not even sure that he's having a good time. That face he's making could very easily be him in discomfort or him dying from the fact that he can't breathe in space! Seriously Acclaim, who thought it would be a good idea to have a kid surfing in space? What does that have to do with your subpar line of licensed video games? It's not like you're promoting a Silver Surfer game (yet), so what this has to do with NARC is anybody's guess.

And while we're on the subject of space surfing, am I the only one that wonders why he's wearing kneepads? Let's assume he falls off of his board because he's playing a game instead of paying attention, what is he going to crash into? Won't he just float there? Which brings up another point, how does a regular gamer go about surfing in space? There isn't any wind up there and you can't exactly ride the waves. What's the deal, Acclaim?

I would also like to briefly make mention of the advertisement's slogan: "Out of this world SuperPlay action." SuperPlay? What the hell does that even mean? SuperPlay isn't a word, and I've never seen any other companies use it to advertise their games. When I look at this NARC handheld I don't think "SuperPlay" ... I think SuperLame. I also think that everybody involved with this commercial is as high as the enemies in NARC. Oh wait, I suddenly get it. This kid is high, which is why it feels like he's flying through space. It all makes sense now. Perhaps the real message of this advert is that you need to be high to enjoy any one of these Acclaim games. Masters of the game, my ass.


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