Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Commercial Break
The Bad Advertising: TBA
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on September 29, 2009   |   Episode 48 (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!
PER4MER Turbo Wheel
Nobody likes to be pulled over by the police. From the moment those lights come on that you're going to need to find your proof of insurance and driver's license. On top of that you'll have to put away the gun and think up a really good reason to have two people in your trunk. It can be an incredibly stressful time that can lead to hair loss, alcoholism and erectile dysfunction. If video games have taught us anything, it's that we should avoid the cops at all cost and never, ever get pulled over. Apparently the good people who make the PER4MER Turbo Wheet didn't get that memo.

Wait ... PER4MER? What the hell does that even mean? Is that leet or something? Oh wait, it's like license plate on the car. I get it. It's Per-Four-Mer, like "performer," only written for stupid people. "Any more realistic, you'd be doing time," the commercial tells us, right before suggesting that you "Get your ticket to ride." The thing is, there are ellipses after both quotes, as if there's more to be said. Are we supposed to fill in the rest of the sentence? This is a commercial for a steering wheel, not a Mad Lib.

Beyond the terrible name and the amateur stab at humor, I do have one important question to ask: What exactly is the steering wheel sitting on in this picture? It certainly looks like the PER4MER is floating in the air, or at least being held by the kid getting the ticket. But that wouldn't make any sense. For one thing steering wheels don't float, not to mention the fact that it's impossible to turn the wheel while holding it in the air. Everybody knows that this control needs to sit on a table or your lap ... well, everybody except for the guy that drew this advertisement. I don't need numbers or letters to tell you how L4ME this advertisement is. Oh hell.

CYBERPad (Suncom Technologies)
How good is the Suncom CYBERPad? So good that it will make your best friend throw his wimpy-ass control straight through your 15 inch television set. Your CYBERPad control is so much better than his standard issue pad that there's no way he'll be able to hold back his rage. And that's a good thing, because now you are the undisputed champion. You're the winner. Nobody can beat you. Everybody is going to know that you're the best. Newspapers are going to run your picture on the front page. School kids will be whispering your story to their friends for decades to come. You are the greatest. You got what you came for; even if that means that tomorrow you'll be making a trip to Video Only to pick up another teeny tiny TV set with your allowance.

But hold one second, because it's not all good news for you. When your friend threw his control and broke your TV, you discovered that there were human remains stashed away in that set. As you can tell from the picture to the right, there's a skeletal arm falling out of the broken (and red hot) television screen. As you dig deeper you find a full body, including a knife and a note that pins you for the murder. By that time your friend has already called the police and you know that you have to do something.

As you're spending the next twenty years of your life stuck in a prison cell writing poetry, you realize that all of this could have been avoided if you hadn't bought the CYBERPad. That damn control made you too good. So good that it made your friend expose your hiding place. If it wasn't for the CYBERPad nobody would have found when you hide the bodies of the people you kill. But no, because of the control's rapid fire buttons and slow-motion abilities, you just had to show off and get yourself arrested. Boy are you angry at Suncom Technologies. So what are you going to do about it?

Video Game Network
Want to know the easiest way to stand out in an issue of GamePro? Try being the one page that doesn't have heavily-armored warriors, cheesy light guns and artist renditions of the day's hottest game systems. Instead be the one page in that magazine that shows real people, or a nature short or, depending on how desperate for sales you are, maybe a pair of breasts. Be the one advertisement that shows kids at play and parents happy. Or go the other direction and use reverse psychology and tell kids that they definitely don't want to play the newest 2D platformer. Whatever you do, don't be like everybody else, that's the way you spell certain doom.

Speaking of which, have you heard about the Video Game Network? To stand out from the crowd the VGN decided to go with a heavily-armored warrior, holding two light guns and protected by a bunch of 16-bit game systems. Not only is this advert completely forgettable, but it also makes no sense. Why would you wear a bunch of game systems? They are made out of easily broken plastic, it's not going to stop a bullet or even a baseball bat. And what's that CD doing in front of your head, buddy? Is that there to reflect the image of your enemies or just limit your vision? Either way, it looks stupid.

The whole idea of having a Super Scope-packing warrior as your mascot is just stupid and unnecessary. People don't go to a game store to see a giant guy wearing a bunch of consoles, they go there to buy games. GameStop, Best Buy and Amazon don't need mascots to sell their products, they just need product that people want to buy. You're better off just focusing all of your attention promoting your (and I quote) "FREE!! FREE!! FREE!! FREE!! FREE!! FREE!! FREE!! PRICE CATALOG!" Usually I would spend a lot of time rolling my eyes at the use of seven repeating words, but when your mascot is wearing a Game Gear as a belt, I stop asking questions and just assume that you have no idea what you're doing.

Multi Game Hunter
I nearly fell out of my seat when I discovered this "accessory" in the back pages of a early 1990s issue of GamePro magazine. It's the Multi Game Hunter, a device that, well, allows you to illegally copy games onto a high capacity floppy disc. Okay, it also allows you to back-up your own games (which is what the commercial is suggesting you do), but there's nobody in this entire world that used the Multi Game Hunter to exclusively back-up their own titles. That's like suggesting that people only pirate movies they own and music they bought on CD. And did you hear that teenagers don't want to have sex and that women secretly hate chocolate? You get the idea.

If that's what people want to do with their free time then have at it, I'm not taking a moral stand against the idea of the Multi Game Hunter. What I don't understand is how this ad made it into the pages of GamePro. It feels wildly inappropriate, sort of like advertising condoms in Abstinence Weekly. It's like having a commercial for roller skates in Runner's World or a spread on vegetarian meals in Field & Stream magazine. I could go on for ages, I wrote down a ton of these things.

Beyond the legal and moral issues, this commercial does a horrible job of selling the product. The picture used is small and dark, making it difficult to fully appreciate what Soft Copiers Inc. is trying to sell you. It's not until you get to the bottom and read the awkwardly worded "facts" that you realize exactly what this device does, and even then it feels cryptic and awfully vague. So much of this commercial is used to spell out the words "Multi Game Hunter," yet that room should have been used to sell us on the idea of backing up any game in our library. And maybe they could have hired somebody to draw a better representation of the actual product ... or at least take a better quality picture. It's the little things that count.


Mario, Mega Man, Lolo & More!

The Best Reviewed 16-Bit Games!


Snake Pass


Little Nightmare

comments powered by Disqus