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America's Next Great Bad Advertisement
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 14, 2011   |   Episode 53 (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!
Power Rangers Zeo Full Tilt Battle Pinball
"KA-CHING" is right! That's the sound of easy money being made on this cynical cash-in by Bandai. I've heard of truth in advertising, but this is ridiculous. It's as if the commercial is there to point out how painfully obvious it is to everybody that there shouldn't be a Power Rangers Zero pinball game. This from a company that couldn't turn the Power Rangers into a compelling fighting game franchise?

Pinball is what you do after you've failed at everything else. This is Bandai giving up. It's a sad sight, especially given how much potential this license had. Full Tilt Battle Pinball is the type of product you make at the end of your license, as you're trying to move on to bigger and better things. But Bandai missed a step. There's no reason to skip down to a pinball game when you can make a perfectly mediocre kart racer.

From the boring use of the cover art to the silly incorporation of faux-3D, even this advertisement has given up. The unusually long copy seems to know that you're probably too cool to play a game called Saban's Power Rangers Zero Full Tilt Pinball. But don't think that stops Bandai from trying to convince the reader otherwise. Even with "5 eye-popping 3D modeled playfields, awesome SGI rendered cinemas and texture mapped graphics," you're still left with pinball game based on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. And believe me; EVERYBODY is too cool for that nonsense.

Open Ice: 2 on 2 Challenge
Once upon a time NBA Jam was the biggest game in the world. Over the last twenty years the brand has lost some of its luster, but it wasn't that long ago that Midway's arcade basketball game was at the top of the heap. Not only was it one of the most profitable arcade machines, but NBA Jam made millions of Super NES and Genesis owners rush out and buy 4-player adaptors. The game was a fun mix of over-the-top action, great graphics and a blatant disregard for the rules of civilized basketball. NBA Jam was huge!

In the midst of the excitement, Midway decided to release a number of blatant knock-offs. While they found success with the NFL Blitz franchise, other sports didn't come as naturally. This is an advertisement for one of Midway's many attempts at cramming NBA Jam into a hockey rink. On paper the game succeeds. Open Ice: 2 on 2 Challenge had the same disregard for the rules and crazy, all while adding a roster of hockey players with complicated names (Messier, Robitaille, Lemieux, etc.).

All this leads me to the million dollar question: Considering the game is so over-the-top unrealistic, why is Midway trying to sell the game's realism? This advertisement suggests that the game is so real that you can see the nose hairs. Besides being gross and taking away from the merits of the game, it's factually inaccurate. This game isn't about realistic shooting, passing and checking ... it's about arcade action that will melt your face. If this game is so realistic, then why is my character on fire? Midway, you're sending me some mixed messages.

Tombstone Pizza: Score a Killer Job
Where do I even start on this confusing advertisement? Perhaps it's best to nail down what exactly this one sheet is trying to promote. At first glance this is a commercial for Tombstone Pizza, the makers of the world's fifteenth most popular frozen pizza. But wait, what's with that Activision logo? It turns out that Tombstone Pizza is sponsoring a contest where the winner will be flown to some Activision studio and forced to put to work. Best of all, you'll get to play Tony Hawk sequels and eat frozen pizza. Yay!

But who cares about any of that? The reason this advertisement shows up in Commercial Break is because of that bizarre control. Seriously, what is that thing? It looks like an Xbox 360 control, but why would anybody put the D-pad on the right side? What kind of masochist designs a control like that? And the face buttons are under the right analog stick. That's MADNESS!!

Perhaps the most troubling part of this control is how the Tombstone Pizza logo is facing away from the gamer. What good is it going to do anybody if it's facing towards the television? It's distracting and a terrible way to get your brand out there. Now anybody standing directly in front of you will crave the world's worst frozen pizza. Mission accomplished. If I had anything to do with it, I would pay the contest winner $10,000 to make a better ad campaign. They couldn't possibly do a worse job.

Teen FX: WOW!
I know I say it every episode, but this may be the worst advertisement I've ever seen. Oh sure, the constant fart gags and booger art is probably worse, but at least I know what they're advertising. This is a commercial for, well, a website called Teen FX. Knowing the internet (especially the internet of the early 2000s), there's a good chance that Teen FX isn't even the name of this particular website. This could be advertising something completely different for all I know.

So I have just one question: What the hell is Teen FX? Apparently it's something so impressive that the website's own advertisement says "WOW!" Is that a suggestion? Was I supposed to be really impressed by the effects on this curious website? I'll tell you right now, that wasn't my reaction. When I saw this page in the magazine I made a "HUH?" sound, followed by "WHO CARES?" Oh, and I think my stomach gurgled. But that was probably unrelated to my reaction to Teen FX.

Before you ask, I already tried going to this website. It seems to have been shut down, so maybe I'll never know what Teen FX was. In the mean time I can only guess what horrors awaited me on the other side of this website. Is this the website Catherine Hardwicke used when filming Twilight? Could it be a TV channel where all of your favorite FX shows are remade with annoying teenagers? Perhaps it's one of those obnoxious websites that tries to cater to teens but comes off looking eager and creepy? I guess we'll never know, but I guarantee pimple cream will be involved.


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