Advertisement is a very powerful tool. When used effectively, it can generate great interest in one's product. When used poorly, well, you get a terrible ad that people reflect on just how awful it was. For any TV watcher, commercials are easily the bane of their existence. But one thing that always catches my attention whether they happen to be good or bad are game commercials. In this new special feature, we're going to be taking a look at some game commercials. I was originally gonna title this feature, "Awesome Game Commercials" but I realized that every commercial listed may not fit that criteria. To keep from overloading the this post with videos, all you have to do is click the title to see said commercial. This is a feature I wanted to do for quite some time but due to the amount of commercials I have to list, I wasn't sure how to go about it. Then I discovered the joys of making multiple part posts.
Kirby's Dream Land
The American TV ad for Kirby's first game is radically different from the Japanese version. Kirby is being compared to Dashing Super Guy, your over the top manly figure that just screams "trying too hard." Different as it is from the Japanese commercial, I think it does a wonderful job of conveying what type of character Kirby is and what he's all about. Kirby literally chews up Dashing Super Guy and spits him out, proving that you don't need mountains of muscle to be awesome. This and the gameplay shots, one showing the defeat of iconic Kirby boss Wispy Woods was all it took to sell me on this game. Just like the North American box art, Kirby was white in this commercial because Nintendo of America wasn't sure of what color Kirby was due to a dispute between Shigeru Miyamoto and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai. Sakurai wanted him to be pink, Miyamoto thought he should be yellow. Considering the color limitations of the Game Boy's black and white monochrome screen, I find Kirby being displayed as white ironic.
It was on the SNES with Super Bomberman that my friends and I discovered the joys of blowing each other to kingdom come in the game's multiplayer mode that cemented by love for Bomberman. Naturally, I was stoked for the N64 incarnation of Bomberman. The single player campaign was very challenging had two endings, requiring you to collect all the hidden gold cards to see the true conclusion. I found the single player mode to be the strongest aspect oft he game while the multiplayer was lacking. What I love about Bomberman 64's commercial is the song that's attatched to it. Does it seem as if you've heard that tune somewhere before? Of course you have. Bomberman 64's commercial song is sung in the tune of the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon theme song.
Metal Gear Solid
After reading numerous extensive previews and hands on articles about Metal Gear Solid, it was quite surprising to see such a comical commercial for such a serious game. I mean, the tests they present to this solider are so simple, my two year old nephew could figure them out. The look on his face when he finds out what kinda mission he signed up for is priceless.
Excitebike 64 - Cliff / Seesaw / Boat
I read very little on Excitebike 64 before making a decision to purchase it. In the end it wasn't previews or reviews that helped convince me to buy the game (back then, reviews were my guide). It was the TV commercials that made me want to own Excitebike 64. Excitebike 64 has three different commercials and each one is laugh out loud hilarious. The first one I saw was where a motorbike driver slammed into a mountain. The second shows a toddler playing by himself on a seesaw get launched sky high after a driver lands on it. And the third shows a lone man enjoying the tranquility that comes with fishing. All that comes to a screeching halt when out of nowhere a motorbike splashes into the water. A few seconds later, the driver comes right down after it. Just what kinda ramps were these guys on? The tagline on Excitebike 64's box art reads "catch BIG AIR!" In the commercials and in the game itself, the line was clearly not blowing smoke.
Super Smash Bros.
I read up on Super Smash Bros. before it was released and it sounded like my kind of fighting game. Nintendo character's slapping each other around variously themed stages? Sign me up. While I wasn't shocked at the sight of Nintendo stars beating down on each other, I can only imagine the looks of disbelief on the faces of those that had no prior knowledge of this game's release. The commercial starts off innocently enough. Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Pikachu are all walking together holding hands in a flower field. Out of the blue, Mario turns and kicks Yoshi in the leg. From there on, everyone is beating the crap out of each other. To anyone that didn't know about this game, this commercial had to be a jaw dropper. I love how Mario is the instigator of the fight. This commercial still makes me laugh hysterically.
You generally want to show your hero doing good. You know, looking cool, doing some sweet moves. The TV ad for Super Punch-Out!! shows none of this. Instead, it shows your in-game persona taking more hits than Jabby Jay and Glass Joe combined. Poor kid looks like he was used for a speed bag. Meanwhile, on the live action side of the ad, the boxer gets progressively worse after each barage of punches that the in-game boxer takes. All the while his coach goes on, telling him he's the greatest, even when he's in a body cast at the end.
Final Fantasy VI
Originally released as Final Fantasy III on the SNES, this was actually the sixth game in the FF series. Mog was one of my favorite characters and considering FFVI's complex cast, that's saying a lot. In the US ad for FFVI, Mog is holding monster auditions. Some of the scariest beasts you can imagine come through the door, growling up a storm, and Mog stays as cool as a cucumber, zapping them into oblivion, yelling "Next!" A great commercial for what is my favorite FF.
Sonic the Hedgehog
The Genesis had a two year head start on the SNES in the United States but it was still missing something. If SEGA was truly going to compete with Nintendo, it needed a mascot. With Sonic the Hedgehog, they got a mascot and then some. Sonic had an air about him that just screamed cool. SEGA of American knew this and they exploited it in their first American TV ad. Sonic was certainly not like "that nice boy, Mario." And I'm pretty sure the "lady" in the ad is Andy Dick in drag.
NiGHTS into dreams...
Just as they did with Nintendo in the 16-bit era, SEGA took potshots at Sony in the 32-bit era. The Saturn was quite the machine. NiGHTS showed off some incredible 3D visuals and effects for 1996 and SEGA was more than happy to point out that the Saturn was packing more power under it's hood than the PlayStation. In what had to be one of SEGA's most memorable moments in smear tactics, a PlayStation is dropped off a building and called "Plaything."
Donkey Kong Country
For years, Nintendo had played second fiddle to SEGA thanks in large part to Sonic the Hedgehog. Not only that, The Big N had endured wave after wave of aggressive ads from SEGA, slamming their games and their consoles. Then Donkey Kong Country stormed onto the SNES, boasting unbelievable 32-bit prerendered graphics. Nintendo was proud to proclaim that DKC couldn't be played on SEGA, 32X adaptors or CD-ROM, but only the SNES. It was a very lovely take that to Nintendo's rivals and it was quite nice to see that they weren't above aggressive marketing.