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I Didn't Know I Was Bad Advertising
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 22, 2010   |   Episode 51 (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!
Hagane (Hudson)
Comedy is hard. The rub is that most comedians make it look easy, which is why it's so frustrating when you fall on your face trying. Comedy takes skills and practice, and most people aren't consistent enough to pull it off. I have to assume that's what is going on in this painful Hagane advertisement. Somebody in Hudson's ad department must have gone to the Laugh Factory or Giggle Barn and wanted to take a crack at it. The saying "don't quit your day job" has never been more appropriate. This advertisement tries very hard to make you laugh, but all it does is make me feel bad for a company who failed to drum up interest in what sounds like a genuinely fun game.

Hagane is said to be the most brutal cartridge in all the land, so obviously Hudson decided to hire the cast from Perfect Strangers to lay down the multilingual funny. "Our prayers have been answered," says Balki. "Hagane has come to save the day!" Cousin Larry agrees, "Oh yes, my brother ... The Koma Clan is no match for Hagane's masterful Ninja technique and spectacular cyborg form." Cue the canned laughter and you have the perfect sitcom to add to CBS's Monday night line-up.

Except, that wasn't actually funny. The set-up looks like it's supposed to be humorous, what with the goofy looks, translated text and the "Contains No MSG" sticker stuck to Balki. But no, instead it's just a couple of guys saying something generic about whatever Hagane is. The only thing I get out of this advert is that the game is about revenge and stars a cyborg ninja ... or something like that. Either way, what could have been a memorable commercial is ruined by unneeded gimmicks that only distract from the otherwise awesome looking game.

Tecmo Secret of the Stars: A Fantasy (Tecmo)
Did you hear? Tecmo is "making history - again!" This time around it's with Tecmo Secret of the Stars: A Fantasy. Wait ... really? That can't be a real name, can it? Sure enough, this poorly laid out advertisement really does introduce us to the crazy world of Tecmo Secret of the Stars: A Fantasy. And best of all, the company best known for Ninja Gaiden proudly states (in large lettering) that it is their "first role-playing game!" Tecmo has got a secret for you ... and apparently that secret is that they hired a bunch of action game developers to make a role-playing game. I mean, how hard can making a role-playing game actually be?

Who knows, maybe this is secretly the best role-playing game on the Super NES. What I can't overlook is the terrible, no good, very bad name. Tecmo Secret of the Stars: A Fantasy sounds suspiciously like ABC's Battle of the Network Stars. When I close my eyes I see Robert "The Pickaxe" Conrad going head to head with Wonder Woman's Lynda Carter. Except, with a name like Tecmo Secret of the Stars it's probably more like Ryu Hayabusa going head to head with Bo Jackson.

All joking aside, I do seriously question why a company would not only put their own name in the title, but also add a ridiculous subtitle. Isn't Secret of the Stars enough? If you're just going to add stuff, why not go all the way and call it Tecmo Secret of the Stars: Role-Playing Fantasy Game That Nobody Is Going To Buy Because Final Fantasy III Is Out! At least that would be accurate. Is it necessary to put the word "Tecmo" in front of every game you make? You don't see other game makers doing that, so get over yourself, Tecmo. Go on young warrior, save the world in this adventure of questionable quality. But whatever you do, don't forget who made it!

Tempest X (Interplay)
Tempest X is awesome. While it's nowhere near as cool as the Jaguar-exclusive Tempest 2000, this Saturn and PlayStation port still holds up remarkably well. This commercial, on the other hand, is so old and outdated that I'm a little surprised it hasn't already come back in style. If you didn't know anything about the old arcade game Tempest, then you sure aren't going to glean much from this terrible advert. Is this a game about licking? Couches? Why does this look more like a page out of Martha Stewart's Living than Electronic Gaming Monthly? With its pastel colors and sofa-inspired background photos, it's no wonder that Tempest X killed the franchise dead.

This commercial attempts to liken Tempest X to having sex for the very first time. It reads: "The first time you did it you were excited, frustrated and you lasted about 10 seconds. It's back. Will you be any better?" Gee, you sure do know how to make a kid feel good. That doesn't sound anything like my first time. I mean, this advertisement doesn't say anything about the three hours of pleading that preceded the event and the thirty minutes of crying that came afterwards. And don't even get me started on the Phil Collins music. Seriously, this commercial gets it all wrong.

There is even more excitement and destruction in Tempest X, the commercial tells me. It contains "more killing than ever before" and features "all new weapons, badder bad guys and a stickier web." And just because they aren't done talking about your miserable experience losing your virginity, the commercial mocks you by concluding with "but that would be a little premature, now wouldn't it?" That's big talk for a game whose slogan reads, "All new. All you can handle." That might make more sense if this wasn't a port of a Jaguar game!

Metal Morph (FCI)
Boy can I agree with this advertisement, enough IS enough! I'm sick of all of these generic science fiction-based commercials with the same looking aliens, the same looking heroes and the same looking laser guns. Where is the originality? We're talking about video games here; a medium where the potential is only limited by the designer's imagination. We can do anything we want and be all sorts of different people, that's the magic of a video game. Yet the best you can do is come up with a character that looks like Kano from Mortal Kombat and an alien with a beak? Enough is enough!

I hate to pick on Metal Morph, after all the idea seems unique enough. Even modern games are guilty of this. Darkest of Days, last year's mess of a first-person shooter, told the story of a time traveling warrior who is getting thrust into some of history's most depressing moments. It's a game where you can literally go anywhere in time, and so the developers decided to base it in World War II. Talk about pulling a Metal Morph.

Oh sure, there were a lot of creative ideas back then, just as there are many great ideas now. However, we're still locked into the me-too mentality that got us games like Metal Morph. How many different high fantasy-based MMOs do we need? How many times have we fought back soldiers in a mostly brown environment? How many Grand Theft Auto clones does this world need? Enough is enough. It's time to demand something more creative than a simple revenge drama. This should be a call to action. There's no reason why we can't have more creative games. Get up, call your friends and family, bang on doors and yell from the roof top ... ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! The time for these generic action games is over, give me Noby Noby Boy. Okay, maybe not Noby Noby Boy, but at least try to come up with something original. Or don't, the choice is yours. Regardless of what you decide, one thing is for sure: I am the last person that will ever talk about Metal Morph.
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