Crispy Gamer

Crispy Gamer Presents: 30 Retro Game Ads in 30 Days

(Contributor: John Teti)

There's always been a distance between the people who create videogame ads and the people who consume videogame ads. Nine times out of 10, videogame ads are wide of the mark, and the rest of the time, they're even wider of the mark. Instead of prompting gamers to cry, "Sweet Jesus, I must have that game now," and burst through the walls of their mobile homes like the Kool-Aid Man to buy said game, the ads usually wind up only generating a copious amount of ridicule and derision.

I'm putting some of the blame on gamers. We're a fickle, fussy lot. (See Kyle Orland's recent editorial on hardcore elitism.) We like to piss and moan about pretty much everything.

But when we love something, oh man, no one loves the way we love.

So most of the blame should be placed squarely on the pinstriped suit-wearing creative types who thought these ads were a good idea. These are people were paid nearly unspendable sums of money to create hideous things.

How they live with themselves, I don't know.

To this day, I still get a little excited whenever I come across a game ad either in a magazine or on television. There's always a small, entitled moment when I think, Of all the crap that gets shoved into my eyes on a daily basis, this particular thing has been designed to appeal to me.

I study the ad. If there's a screenshot, I take in the screenshot. If it's a TV commercial, I study the gameplay footage. If there's a tagline, I read the tagline, and gauge the degree of cleverness. Then I make some assumptions about whether smart people or dumb people made the ad.

The 2006 Gears of War commercial featuring Gary Jules' rendition of "Mad World"? Smart people.

The Guitar Hero World Tour commercial featuring sports stars singing and dancing in their underwear ? la Tom Cruise? Dumb people. Very, very dumb people (who deserve to have old Game Boys thrown at them in the town square).

Exactly who are these ads for? With the borderline obscene popularity of the Wii, and with your mom playing Peggle right now, even as you read this, are we living in an era when game ads aren't really even designed with gamers in mind anymore?

For the next 30 days, we're bringing you a daily dose of retro game advertisement goodness. You will laugh. You will cry. Nostalgia will be induced. We've spent weeks combing through stacks of yellowed issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro; we've scoured the CG vault (read: YouTube) for the so-terrible-they're-awesomely-terrible videogame TV commercials from the '90s. If you're lucky, one prominent developer might even try to make you his bitch this month.

Let the cringing begin.

Go on to the next page to see the ads.