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Retro Gaming Ads: They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To


Retro Gaming Ads: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Remember when video game ads had very little to jack squat in common with the actual game you’d end up playing? Adventures in Poor Taste remembers.

Come, reminisce:

Master Your Skills of Social Awkwardness (InterAct)


Dave: Advertising Tip #1 — Do not name your product after a term that has any relation to venereal diseases.

Sean: “Wow, look at how many different types of STDs I have all over my handhelds, Aunt Gertrude!”

Russ: “I love playing with my STD! Especially while Aunt Bessie hugs up on me and whispers sweet nothings in my ear. Heck, who do you think gave me my STD in the first place?”

Nothing Else Matters (Sega Saturn)


Dave: What? Nobody else noticed the luscious, silky blue sheets first?

Sean: Growing up and looking at this ad, I always remember wondering if this was a cyborg woman — because something about her face just doesn’t look right. Uncanny valley or not, I’d still finger her buttons.

BJ: I’m surprised they managed to find a copy of this ad that wasn’t stuck to the prior page.

The Game of Choice for Filicidal Maniacs Everywhere (Street Fighter 2010 — Capcom)


Dave: This is the game you buy your least favorite kid. Because… you know, the economy is bad and you don’t really like him that much anyways.

“Honey where’s little Jimbo?”

“I gave him Street Fighter 2010 of course. Little bastard won’t be complaining about ‘raking the leaves’ or ‘taking out the trash’… unless it’s six feet underground!” ::canned laughter::

Sean: Do I even have to bring up the lack of discernible street on the cover?

BJ: I managed to forget all about never remembering this game, weird.

Nom Nom Nom… Contra (Contra Operation C — Ultra Games)


Russ: So to stave off any future alien invasions, all we need to do is feed the fuckers a bunch of Gameboys?

… No deal. I have over 100 hours logged onto Pokemon Crystal and not even the subjugation of Earth will take that away from me.

Dave: Stupid alien. The contrast is turned all the way down on the screen.

BJ: Sepia toned graphics — satiating hunger for many, many years.

Russ: Also… what sort of fluid emanates from that extraterrestrial nipple?

Really Ugly Basketball Players Foul the S--t Out of Each Other. AKA, Arch Rivals (Acclaim)


Russ: So dude on the top right is taking a s--t in the net; dude on the bottom left is presenting his sweat-laden ass like a submissive dog; and then there’s Kirsten Dunst-toothed dude yanking down on #3’s gym shorts and enjoying the view of the resulting fruit bowl way too much.

Dave: So this was Acclaim’s semi-precursor to NBA Jam? That blonde guy on the bottom doesn’t look like he’s knocked out on anything but roofies and wish fulfillment. Not that I’d know or anything.

BJ: It’s a 3v3 match between previous coverboys of MAD Magazine, and I still laugh at the top right guy who’s impregnating the hoop or as Russ put it, taking a dump at the bottom of the key.

“Surprise, Bitch!” (Gargoyle’s Quest — Capcom)


Dave: At what point does messaging move from false advertising to outright lie?

BJ: Who can forget Gargoyle’s Quest, the only game ever packed and sold with pure, unadulterated LSD.

Sean: “Aha. F--k you, human adolescent! That stuff just totally kicked in!”

Got a Crappy, Unoriginal Slogan? (Panic! — Data East)


Russ: And the award for “Shittiest, Most Tenuous ‘Got Milk’ Parody’ goes to…

Dave: When did Michael Keaton get into advertising?

BJ: That’s NOT milk. As a man that would most certainly induce Panic in me 12 out of 10 times.

Female Rambo Loves Contra (Konami)


Russ: Ironically the one and only time that camouflage on the arcade cabinet casing has ever been useful.

Dave: Those are the fakest distractions I’ve ever seen. I mean just look at those plants!

The Family That Plays Together (Nintendo)



Kid in black and yellow ’80s shirt: “Do your creepy-ass parents usually hover over your shoulder and stare vacantly into space while you play Mario, Mikey?”

Mikey: “Do you want your second controller privileges revoked, Kenneth? And for the last time, yes this is a two player game. Even though your controller isn’t… plugged into a damn thing. Now, keep controlling those Goombas and Koopa Troopas like I showed you.”

More Fun than a Ferret Down Your Trousers (Game Boy)


BJ: Speaking from actual real-world experience here — there is absolutely nothing fun about putting a ferret down your pants.

Dave: This isn’t normal…but on meth it is.

Russ: “What Pee Wee Herman does in his leisure time should be of no concern to us,” said no movie theater owner ever after July 1991.


Jump to Part Two of our Retro Gaming Ads Retrospective

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