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My Babysitter's a Bad Advertisement
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 27, 2011   |   Episode 54 (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!
Sega: 6-Button Controllers
Nothing says must-have video game controller like a bunch of severed arms flying through the air. And if that image isn't creepy enough, the sicko who cut these arms off went to the trouble of dying them different colors. Not even the Jigsaw Killer sunk to those levels. But apparently Sega didn't see a problem in using these disturbing ads to highlight their 6-button game controllers. Not the first thing I would have gone with, but I'm sure Sega wouldn't do anything to jeopardize their firm-grasp on the video game console market.

There are three different controllers in question, including two 6-button game pads (one wireless) and an arcade stick perfect for Super Street Fighter II. The fact that these severed limbs are flying away with Sega's controllers is unacceptable, it's that kind of rude conduct that likely got them separated from their body. The only thing worse than flying arms is one that steals your video game controller. How else am I supposed to play Time Killers?

I'm fine with weird imagery to sell your video game controllers, but Sega crosses the line with their subliminal threats. "Look for these," the commercial tells us. It's not like I don't have enough to worry about these days (debt ceiling, getting run over by an SUV, killer cats, etc.), but now I have to spend the rest of my days watching the skies for killer arms with outdated game 6-button Sega controllers just looking to attack. No wonder I'm so afraid to fly.

Columns III (Vic Tokai)
Selling a puzzle game can be tricky, especially when your game isn't named "Tetris". But that doesn't excuse Vic Tokai for using a balding fat guy as their Columns III spokesman. It's bad enough to put him on the box, but this advertisement goes overboard with him in six different positions. He's sitting on his fat ass, standing on his hands, carrying gems, picking up gems and having back pains associated with him lifting and carrying large gems. It's positively baffling.

I'm not completely against intermixing real humans with falling gems, but must it be a bald dude in a yellow shirt? It wouldn't take more than an hour to find a good looking girl at the mall to make all of these poses, and you better believe she would work cheap. Or maybe you don't want to go with a hot girl, I can appreciate that. But maybe go with a better looking guy? There's no logical reason to stick with somebody that looks like ... this.

Even more baffling is the description, which seems to suggest that Columns has always been a "private habit." I can understand trying to sell your crazy five-player sequel, but let's not lie about the past installments. The very first Columns allowed two players to fight it out simultaneously. What's more, even when you played a single-player game, you would still see the second-player's screen. The multiplayer was one of Column's big advantages at the time, mentioned in reviews and advertising. It's always a shame when game companies have to rewrite history to sell your crappy sequels.

Psychopad K.O.
There are several things wrong with this advertisement. The first is their numbering system, which I've decided to adopt in order to make all of my points about the Psychopad K.O. 1. Much like making fun of different races, religions and genders, it's not cool to make fun of the mentally ill. But let's say you're going to do it anyway, at least make a joke that somehow corresponds to the "Hyper programmable 10 in 1 gamepad" you're trying to sell. Instead of making a joke, Act Laboratory Ltd. decided to make him crazy in order to justify the horribly titled Pyschopad K.O.

2. Even if you're joking, don't spread the idea that your pad (and games in general) is addictive. You might as well tell the whole world that this device will keep you from going to school, holding a job or be a productive member in society. And besides, it's not the controller you're addictive to, it's the game.

3. As I mentioned before the Psychopad K.O. is a "Hyper programmable 10 in 1 gamepad." There's just one problem, it's not a game pad. I don't feel that I'm parsing semantics when I say there's a difference between a game pad and an arcade stick (or joystick). One is a little pad you hold (usually with a D-pad and face buttons), the other is a large controller with a protruding joystick. If you can't tell the difference between the two, then you probably shouldn't be making video game controllers in the first place.

Pilot Pen Company Presents "Music You Wanna Have"
While not a video game commercial, I did find it in a 1995 issue of GamePro. It's hard to tell if this Pilot Pen commercial wants to be taken seriously or not. Nothing about this commercial suggests that anybody associated with Pilot thinks that this is a CD you would actually want to have. The proof? In the description they put quote marks around "music you wanna have," a dead giveaway that somebody is being sarcastic.

The track line-up is a who's who of "who's that?!?" You get Bizarre Inc., The Connells, Culture Beat, Rozalla, His Boy Elroy and October Project. Perhaps the biggest name is Kriss Kross, who is a band I most definitely don't wanna have. And don't forget, these songs aren't just randomly assembled for this sampler -- they are "high volume hits." You heard me right, apparently His Boy Elroy had a high volume hit. Who knew?

Perhaps the most baffling part of this commercial comes when you carefully investigate the cover art. I know it's hard to take your eyes off of the unwashed hipster totally stoked about the "awesome, totally cool" Kriss Kross song, but divorce your gaze for just a moment. Instead look at the bottom right of the CD and cassette. There you'll see a red ribbon, presumably there in support of some charitable cause. But what cause? Nowhere in this advert is this mystery solved. I hope the charity goes to that dude in the Columns III commercial, he could use better clothes!


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