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18 Years of PlayStation Launch Commercials
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on October 28, 2013   |   Episode 56 (Show Archive)  

We interrupt this episode of Commercial Break to bring you ... more commercials? With Sony's next generation console just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to take a break from the usual magazine ads and focus on two decade's worth of PlayStation TV spots. From the PlayStation 9 to the creepy baby, we're taking an exhausting look at the good, the bad and the truly baffling.

Our journey begins in the mid-1990s, when Nintendo was king and everything came on cartridges ...
PlayStation: You Are Not Ready (US)

Sony's first PlayStation commercial is everything you expect out of 1995. It mimics a pirate broadcast, like that time when the Christian Broadcast Network illegally blocked The Playboy Channel. Only instead of being told to "Repent your sins," gamers get bombarded with images of Ridge Racer, Battle Arena Toshinden and Mortal Kombat III. It's full of quick MTV-style cuts and a man gently explaining that, despite what you may have heard, you are not ready.

This is an oddity, as you will see as we continue our journey through several different hardware launches. Although the 30 second spot tries its hardest to obscure displayed games, it is worth noting that a lot of time is devoted to showing off the 32-bit titles. This will be the last time Sony does that.
PlayStation: S.A.P.S. (UK)

In Europe, Sony went an entirely different direction. There are no quick cuts here, just a suit warning the viewers of a new menace called "PlayStation." He's a spokesperson for the Society Against PlayStation (S.A.P.S.), and it looks like he just stepped out of the 1950s. He takes us on a tour of a traditional Ozzie and Harriet sitcom family (complete with the wife doing all the chores while the husband sits back and reads the paper), and warns us of the ills that will befall traditional values if we give in to the secular PlayStation agenda.

This is 1995, not long after American politicians waged a war against what they deemed inappropriate video games. This commercial shows just how ridiculous the hysteria was, suggesting that simply playing Sony's new console could make a mouse explode or turn a man into a monkey. S.A.P.S. message is simple: You definitely don't want a PlayStation.

The good news is reverse psychology often works. As cheeky as this spot is, it's also a lot of fun and even a little daring. This is, after all, a European commercial starring an American trying to sell a Japanese product. It barely shows any game footage, with only a second or two from Ridge Racer and wipEout. And at the end of the day, who doesn't want to play the game that caused a mouse to explode?
PlayStation: Banging on the Doors (Japan)

Either this is a PlayStation commercial or the beginning of a freaky home invasion flick. Nothing says video gaming like a bunch of color-coordinated men beating on a security fence. And don't forget the chanting, which really should have been the start-up sound every time you turned the PlayStation on.

This commercial reminds me of a series of Mervyn's advertisements from the early 1990s. "Open, open, open," the early bird shopper chants. This is her opportunity to be the first to snag all the great deals on men's shirts, jewelry and whatever else Mervyn's sells. These PlayStation cult members might as well be chanting "open, open, open." Either way, I would be scrambling to find a shotgun if I was the person inside that store.


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