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The Best Bad Advertising I Ever Ate
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 09, 2009   |   Episode 49 (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!
Kickle Cubicle (IREM)
Quick: What do you think of when you hear the name "Kickle Cubicle"? When I first heard the title I envisioned a crazy office worker who, after being passed over for a promotion by a young kid fresh out of college, he decides to get even. The whole thing would be an overhead puzzle game where you kick your co-workers (and their cubicles) into different goals. You would work your way up through the corporation until you're at the head quarters kicking the CEO and CFO. Man, that game would rock. Unfortunately we get this piece of crap game about kicking ice. Whatever.

With a terrible catch phrase and an even worse name, Kickle Cubicle wants you to "discover why Nintendo Game Counselors rated [it] so highly." Damn straight, because the Nintendo Game Counselors are the final word in what's good, right? I wonder if the Nintendo Game Counselors are as afraid of using the words "puzzle game" as Irem seems to be. At one point in this advertisement the copy writer notes that Kickle Cubicle is a "strategy-action game," for your NES. Strategy-action? Where I'm from we call that a puzzle game.

But that's not even the most offensive part of this commercial. Take a look at the cool hero we get in the advertisement. He's a tall, blonde kicker who doesn't mind wearing a onesie and long socks. But wait a second, who is that on the box cover? On the box the character is a short, fat bald kid. And is that an apple tree on the cover? This commercial makes it look like the game is all about cold climates and Frosty the Snowman, but it's sunny and happy on the box cover. What gives? This commercial makes me want to discover what drugs the Nintendo Game Counselors are smoking.

Castle of Dragon (Seta)
I learned a lot from this Castle of Dragon advert. For example, without this commercial I wouldn't have known that the "most powerful weapon" is the mace. All this time I thought it was the nuclear bomb or love or something, but no, it's a simple mace. I also learned that "the trick to destroying Medusa is to keep away from her." Yeah, I never would have guessed that I would want to stay far away from a woman who can turn people to stone. Thanks for the heads up. Do you know what I should do after avoiding the hot snake chick? Use the mace, of course! After all, it is the most powerful weapon.

What you may not know is that this Castle of Dragon advert is attempting to look like an editorial inside of the magazine. See, Seta wants to trick you into thinking that GamePro wrote this and not some savvy marketer who has their finger on the pulse of what's cool. Unfortunately this "S'more Hot Hints" section doesn't look anything like the rest of GamePro, making it painfully obvious that this is an advertisement. In fact, this commercial is so bad that it actually makes GamePro's horrendous layout look good in comparison.

But the really confusing part of this advertisement is at the very bottom, right in the coupon section. Because I'm a gentleman I'll ignore the fact that most editorial content does not come with a free offer and a cut-out coupon. This coupon suggests that if you purchase a copy of QBillion and any Try Soft store you can get Parez Hilton's Velcro wallet. Wait ... QBillion? That's right; this coupon is for another Seta game, a Game Boy puzzler named QBillion. I can certainly understand putting this coupon alongside a commercial for QBillion, but Castle of Dragon? Apparently Seta figured that all they needed to do was throw a few teeny tiny pictures, write some snarky hints and feature a weird picture of an old guy and the game would sell itself. I guess Castle of Dragon didn't need the bottom of its page, with a name like that it's hard to imagine anybody denying its charm. Even with the faux-giveaway, this advert didn't make me run out and buy Castle of Dragon. As a kid I was savvy enough to hold out for Castle of Pie, because ... mmmmmm pie!

Toys "R" Us - Get a Grip
AAAAACCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!! Look out kid, there's something on your head!! I can't tell what it is, maybe a rat or a raccoon or something, I don't know. Shoo it away, roll on the ground, DO SOMETHING! Seriously, put down that NES Advantage and find a better hair piece, because that thing isn't convincing anybody. This image of you and the joystick will haunt my dreams for the rest of my life. Thanks a lot, Toys "R" Us, this creepy kid is going to keep me from ever having children of my own. I hope you're happy!

Alright, I'll look away. I'm sure it won't be there when I turn back around. I can just sit here watching infomercials and completely forget about the creepy kid in this advertisement. I promise not to look directly at it, that will just ... AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Dammit, I accidently looked at him again. His piercing eyes and unnatural smile, it's enough to make me want to swallow a large bottle of pills.

Okay, I'm not going to fight it. I'm going to look at him (her?) again and try and resolve my fear. This is what Dr. Phil would want me to do - face my fear! Getting past the hideous looks and road kill for hair, I see that this kid is wearing a turtleneck sweater. Who does that? I don't trust anybody wearing a turtleneck sweater. I'm also a little concerned by the hard grip he has on that joystick, it looks like the only way to separate the two would be chopping the hand right off. On second thought, if we cut off one of his hands how will he play Dueling Banjos?

Soccer Mania (Imagesoft)
Screw you, swine flu! Out of my way, Pac-Man Fever! Apparently there's a new illness in town and it's called Soccer Mania! I hate making fun of the sick, but get a load of this box art! Apparently this is a soccer game full of Robert Crumb characters who don't seem the least bit interested in playing real soccer. The goalie appears to be a zombie, rushing at the three other athletes wanting to eat their brains. And then there's the guy mugging for the camera, because that's how you sell people on the idea of soccer. There's really only one person on this box who is actually playing real soccer, and he's so bad at it that he can't even score a point on a zombie goalie.

The truth is, I don't trust Soccer Mania. For one thing it suggests that the game is "fun for the whole family" and that you get to "hear crowds cheer." Hear crowds cheer? THAT'S what you choose to highlight? Hearing crowds cheer is lodged between "the game turns on" and "grandma needs a sponge bath" on a list of thrilling bullet points. You might as well advertise that the game is about soccer.

What gets me is that this Soccer Mania illness appears to be spreading. Ignore the goofy artwork and how Imagesoft chooses to reuse the guy mugging for the camera twice within inches of each other, my concern is with those screenshots. Since when is the Game Boy screen that shade of blue? Also, why do the screenshots make this game look more like a baseball than soccer? And forbid I ask a pressing question that saves a few lives, is there some short of shot so that I don't get infected with Soccer Mania. Seriously, I hate soccer, just give me a shot of anything and I'll be good.
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