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Column: Game Ads A-Go-Go

Game Ads A-Go-Go: A Brief Guide to Gaming Diseases

April 27, 2006 2:54 PM |

vcg_logo_gsw.jpg['Game Ads A-Go-Go' is a bi-weekly column by Vintage Computing and Gaming's RedWolf that showcases good, bad, strange, funny, and interesting classic video game-related advertisements, most of which are taken from his massive classic game magazine collection.]

In a previous Game Ads A-Go-Go, I gave you proof that video game companies want you to die. This week we'll go a little bit more in depth with the same theme, examining one of the more subtle ways that the video game industry intends to do you harm. It's a fact: some video games spread infectious disease. Luckily, some brazen advertisers were kind enough to put warnings in their ads for us to interpret (snarkily). So get out your latex gloves, 'cause it's time to examine some particularly nasty games.

The Disease Guide

megamanx3_large.jpg

Disease: Repetitive Gameplay Syndrome
Spread by: Mega Man X3 (SNES)

Symptoms: Gives the infected individual the impression that he/she is playing the exact same game over and over again, no matter how many different games he/she buys.

Other Symptoms: Feelings of guilt and shame that the afflicted just bought his/her 20th copy of a game originally released in 1987.

Treatment: ONE (1) COPY OF "KATAMARI DAMACY" PLAYED TWICE DAILY FOR THIRTY (30) DAYS.

Prevention Tips: Nothing short of the absolute destruction of Capcom will stop the spread of this disease.


----

roadrash3_large.jpg

Disease: Road Rash
Spread by: Road Rash 3 (Genesis)

Symptoms: When operating motor vehicles on public causeways, afflicted becomes aggressive and attacks motorcycle riders with loose, hand-wielded chains.

Other Symptoms (see included literature): Acute burning sensation in the nipples, general scrape-like rash on 60% of the body.

Treatment: COMPLETE CESSATION of "ROAD RASH 3" PLAY FOR TWENTY (20) DAYS. THEREAFTER, PERMANENT AVOIDANCE OF MOTORCYCLES, CHAINS.

Prevention Tips: Wear leather chaps when riding.


----

zoop_large.jpg

Disease: Lacklusterpuzzleclonitis
Spread by: Zoop (Multi-platform)

Symptoms: Every two years, the afflicted produces another single-screen unit-manipulating puzzle game similar to Tetris.

Other Symptoms (see included literature): Loss of friends, loss of appetite, insomnia, excessive battery consumption, dreams about puzzle games, hairstyles that resemble pieces from puzzle games.

Treatment: EMERGENCY GREEDECTOMY RECOMMENDED. OTHERWISE, ONE (1) TESTOSTERONE INJECTION MONTHLY FOR TWO (2) YEARS, THEN DAILY FOUR (4) HOUR SESSIONS OF LIVE-ACTION "MORTAL KOMBAT II" ROLEPLAY THEREAFTER.

Prevention Tips: Regular psychotherapy towards the goal of the realization that you're not a game designer. Avoid bodily fluid exchange with Alexey Pazhitnov.


----

burncycle_large.jpg

Disease: Gonorrhea
Spread by: Burn:Cycle (3DO)

Symptoms: Burning sensation when urinating, strange discharge from the penis. Rarely, painful or swollen testicles (Typical patient reaction illustrated in picture above).

Other Symptoms (see included literature): Spontaneous head explosion.

Treatment: 300MG AMOXICILLIN TABLETS TAKEN TWICE (2) DAILY FOR TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS.

Prevention Tips: Avoid playing video games with your penis.

Bonus Disease

blockeye_large.jpg

Disease: Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)
Spread by: Blockbuster Video Rental Chain

Symptoms: Redness, irritation, watering of the eyes.

Treatment: FOUR (4) DROPS ERYTHROMYCIN IN EACH EYE DAILY FOR SEVEN (7) DAYS.

Prevention: Avoid rubbing infected Blockbuster merchandise directly onto eyeballs.

[RedWolf is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Computing and Gaming, a regularly updated "blogazine" that covers collecting, playing, and hacking vintage computing and gaming devices. He has been collecting vintage computers and game systems for over 13 years. He is also a big fan of bacon.]

Game Ads A-Go-Go: The Dirty Mind of a Gamer

April 13, 2006 4:51 PM |

vcg_logo_gsw.jpg['Game Ads A-Go-Go' is a bi-weekly column by Vintage Computing and Gaming's RedWolf that showcases good, bad, strange, funny, and interesting classic video game-related advertisements, most of which are taken from his massive classic game magazine collection.]

Your favorite wannabe snarky ad commentator is back, except this time without the snarky comments. "What?!" you say, "RedWolf, have you gone completely insane?" The short answer to that question is, "yes," but I'll explain.

Everybody knows that going way out of your way to turn an ordinary situation into some form of sexual innuendo is absolutely hilarious. There are people out there in the world whose sole method of communication is through sexual innuendo. We've done it to ourselves culturally by refusing to address sex directly, so all of a sudden anything could be a code word for a sexual act. This week I'll be taking a look at ads that are oozing with sexual potential. All that's left is to fill in your own commentary using your own dirty mind. Nothing I could write could be more entertaining than that. So let's quit jerking around and do it already.

Just Beat It

beatit_large.jpg

This is only one half of a two-page "World Blockbuster Game Championships" ad. But it's enough.

Jingle Ballz

ballz_large.jpg

This one has some intentional non-sexual innuendo, and yet it works so well for our topic.

He's on a Joy Ride Too

joy_ride_large.jpg

I'm not even touching this one.

If You Like it Hard and Fast

getrammed_large.jpg

Ouch.

[RedWolf is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Computing and Gaming, a regularly updated "blogazine" that covers collecting, playing, and hacking vintage computing and gaming devices. He has been collecting vintage computers and game systems for over 13 years.]

Game Ads A-Go-Go: Proof that Video Game Companies Want You to Die

March 30, 2006 3:42 PM |

vcg_logo_gsw.jpg['Game Ads A-Go-Go' is a weekly column by Vintage Computing and Gaming's RedWolf that showcases good, bad, strange, funny, and interesting classic video game-related advertisements, most of which are taken from his massive classic game magazine collection.]

At some point in the early nineties it became wildly fashionable for video game publishers to threaten your bodily health. Everything was "In Your Face!" and "Attitude!" and "Play it Loud!" which is exactly why I played it quietly. Unlike my other gaming brethren, I didn't want to die. And that, my friends, is why I am still here to bring you these next three examples of shameless attempts on gamers' lives.

"Kills Gamers Dead"

toxickonami_large.jpg

What at first seems to be a wonderful, helpful product from Konami turns out instead to be a deadly poison. As we saw last week, Konami clearly wants you to die. So they have no shame in putting out liquid video games with "toxic levels of excitement." That means, in plain terms, that they are trying to poison you to death. Their games also make you urinate uncontrollably ("32 Bladder Loosening oz."), but not because they're laced with diuretics. No -- it's just because you die.

This is Exactly Why I Don't Play Hockey

brethull_large.jpg

The ad doesn't spell it out explicitly, per se, but the game is actually about emergency dental surgery. Brett Hull, D.D.S. is a master in the field, and he wants to show you a few pointers on the trade (note the novocaine reference in the fine print). But he has a dark secret that you must discover over the course of your adventure: It turns out that the mad doctor gets his patients through rigged hockey games in which extremely pale Polish mobsters are dressed up as inconspicuous hockey players and paid to knock out your teeth.

Ok, you got me; I made most of that up. But I didn't make up the part about the Accolade-sponsored hockey player thugs that come to your house and knock out your teeth (while killing you) if you play this game. Apparently it's a great game, though -- you might just want to risk it. At the bottom, the ad proudly proclaims, "Any more realistic and you wouldn't want to play it." Presumably because, if it were any more realistic, you'd actually be playing hockey and there'd be no point. So right there, in ink, is concrete proof that the pinnacle of digital hockey simulation was achieved in 1995 with the game Brett Hull Hockey 95. Ever since, hockey game publishers have been working towards their inevitable extinction.

Push Your Friend Over The Edge (Really)

brainwash_large.jpg

So far we've seen that most video game companies don't pussyfoot around when it comes to murder; they just want to come out and kill you directly. But STD (the inventor of sexually transmitted diseases) and InterAct take a more subtle approach -- they want you to do the dirty deed yourself. Using the innocent-looking "Handy Boy" device shown in the lower right portion of the ad, they slowly and continuously brainwash you over a period of three to four weeks. You don't think anything is wrong at first and keep playing Tetris until 4 AM every morning. But one day, an arbitrary InterAct employee nonchalantly flips a tiny black switch in their corporate headquarters. You black out, and the next thing you know you're at a dangerous construction site pushing your best friend to his death in a wheelbarrow like a murderous zombie. Meanwhile, your other friend, who is not yet done with his murder training, just starts freestylin' off to the side -- rapping about your nasty grandma and how he rode the bus that day -- somehow adding a stomach-twisting Reservoir Dogs-style senselessness to the brutal-yet-carefree peer-on-peer violence.

I'm not sure how many of these Rube Goldberg murders InterAct pulled off, but in a twisted way I have to admire the sadistic ingenuity of their plan. Why they would advertise it and ruin the complex scheme, I don't know. Somehow, evil geniuses cannot resist bragging about the brilliance of their work, and as we well know, it always brings their downfall in the end.

...Except in the U.S., of course, when that end meets teenagers, who, (apparently) according to thorough focus group studies in the mid-1990s, thought life-threatening game companies were cool. It seems they were just giving gamers exactly what they wanted all along.

blowear_large.jpg

[RedWolf is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Computing and Gaming, a regularly updated "blogazine" that covers collecting, playing, and hacking vintage computing and gaming devices. He has been collecting vintage computers and game systems for over 13 years. Check out the new VC&G Forum!]

Game Ads A-Go-Go: Guys Freakin' Out

March 23, 2006 2:50 PM |

vcg_logo_gsw.jpg['Game Ads A-Go-Go' is a weekly column by Vintage Computing and Gaming's RedWolf that showcases good, bad, strange, funny, and interesting classic video game-related advertisements, most of which are taken from his massive vintage game magazine collection.]

Welcome back! This week I present to you the official GameSetWatch guide to guys freakin' out. The commentary this time should be thinner than usual, as I'm currently studying hard for my Official Snarky Commentator Certification (OSCC) exam (officiated by Seanbaby of EGM). That, and I just got a new cat that insists on eating my magazines. But have no fear; the guys freakin' out should mostly speak (or scream) for themselves. And at least you have the pretty pictures to look at.

Konami Hates You

gsw_handygear_small.jpg

This particular guy is obviously just now returning to Earth after a long stint of freakin' out in deep space, but he ran into trouble on the way down. I would be freakin' out too if I were shot down viciously by Konami and in the process of burning up on re-entry to the Konami Homeworld (natch). As if I really wanted to invade their dumb giant video-planet anyway. Flames and smoke aside, the human-sized Konami game boxes alone are enough to drive a man insane with a stray glance (especially the "A...JAX!" logo).

The primary message of this ad is clear: "Don't #%@& with Konami, or we'll kill you."

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHhh!

freakout_2_large.jpg

This deal is just absolutely insane. There's nothing more to say -- I'm speechless.

Our Free Cleaning Kit WILL MAKE YOU FREAK OUT

freakout_3_large.jpg

This ad is actually a two-page ad, but the other page is nearly useless, aside from the fact that it conveniently explains the terrible illustrated visual pun on the left side of the page. The heading reads "Summer Screamers." I agree wholeheartedly; SNES Street Fighter II Turbo for $79.99 is definitely cause for some serious freakin' out. Ha! And they say PlayStation 3 games will be expensive. Try time-travelling back to 1995 and buying SFII Turbo, you pansies! Adjusted for today's inflation rates, that price comes out to actually being somewhere around $1307.50.

Bonus Guys Freakin' Out

freakout_bonus_large.jpg

It's so easy to make fun of people and status-quo-breaking behavior when you have the benefit of time, distance, and the absolute destruction of context -- so it's not really fair. Therefore, I will just let you look at these pictures and think about exactly what humanity means to you.

[RedWolf is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Computing and Gaming, a regularly updated "blogazine" that covers collecting, playing, and hacking vintage computing and gaming devices. He has been collecting vintage computers and game systems for over 12 years. Check out the new VC&G Forum!]

Game Ads A-Go-Go: Strange and Devious Peripherals

March 16, 2006 12:16 PM |

vcg_logo_gsw.jpg['Game Ads A-Go-Go' is a weekly column by Vintage Computing and Gaming's RedWolf that showcases good, bad, strange, funny, and interesting classic video game-related advertisements, most of which are taken from his massive vintage game magazine collection.]

Welcome back to the sophomore edition of "Game Ads A-Go-Go." This week we'll be looking at ads for strange video game peripherals and accesories, and I'll be telling you nearly nothing about them of technical or factual value, but instead will ramble on about how strange and poorly conceived they are. If you're just here to leech the ad scans (now watermark free, by the way), you might want to get it over with now and save yourself from my attempts at humor. Otherwise, on with the show!

Is That a Handy Gear in Your Pocket?

gsw_handygear_small.jpg

From the foremost expert on STDs comes the Handy Gear, the all-encompassing Game Gear prophylactic of the future. Why Limit Yourself? With the Handy Gear safely encasing your unit, you can freely play casual games with total strangers, tossing aside all worries about possible (cartridge) insertion problems or undesirable fluids (such as water, Coke) getting all over your Game Gear and possibly jeopardizing your ability to play games again in the future.

Why, the Handy Gear is even shock-resistant, so you can now throw your Game Gear firmly against the wall any time you want -- with no ill effects to the unit.


Now You Can Play One Game at a Time!

gsw_videojukebox_small.jpg

One of the supposedly funniest ways to generate snarky comments on something is by taking the material you're satirizing literally. For example, here we have a man with six Sega Genesis-shaped cartridges impaled into his vertically extended cranium. You would be correct in thinking that this would be a painful experience for any man -- even one with an abnormally large forehead. And as we can see, this man is no exception to the laws of pain, considering the severely aggravated expression on his face.

As we dig further into the imagery, we have to take a less literal approach to our interpretation to have fun with the ad. The cartridges in the man's head are not games...as we know them, anyway. They are labeled with various retail store chain names. What sort of commercial deviousness are these stores up to? Are they reprogramming his mind to say "BUY BUY BUY," turning him into the ultimate mega-consumer zombie? And which chain of the ones listed gets control of the man at any given time? Perhaps the man's brain is available on a rotating, bi-weekly basis, with all members of the Commercial Retail Syndicate (CRS) getting their fair chance to influence the man's purchasing habits. And as an extension of this hypothesis, I would surmise that the LEDs in his forehead, when lit, indicate which company has control of the man at the moment (when this picture was taken, Best Buy had the helm). The companies have also messed with his eyes, somehow modifying them to emit a piercing red glow.

I have the feeling that ASG (or should I call you...CRS!?) didn't sell too many of these poorly-designed brain installations.

Edwin Sedgefield's Use of Barcodes as a Metaphor for Social Transcendence in The Clocker Tippets

UPC barcodes, as we all know, are an ingenious method of keeping tabs on the movement of humans (and will be tattooed on your neck at the time of the Apocalypse) developed by Satan/the Government/the U.S. grocery industry in the 1970s. It took a staggering 20+ years for this evil technology to be adapted to keeping track of video game playing habits as well, and you can see the results of this development before you now.

gsw_barcode_small.jpg

But I digress. The origin of this device probably actually went something like this:

Marketing Executive #1: How can we convince people to buy more products? People are just not buying enough products. We need more sales!

Marketing Executive #2: I don't know...I think.. Wait! I've got it! We could take a piece of otherwise worthless-to-the-consumer printing that is located on every product label, and turn it into something of value that people actually want to buy -- just because it's there! And moreover, we will also make them buy the device that gives this piece of printing its value! No longer will people buy products for their material content or inherent utility -- they will buy them because we printed a couple parallel lines on the label!

Marketing Executive #3: I can't possibly think of a way that this could not succeed.

And so the Barcode Battler was born, the fruit of industry collusion. Back in the day when this device was still only available in Japan, there was a story floating around about a particular can of soup always being sold out because its barcode gave your in-game character really awesome powers. It makes me wonder if Campbell's Soup execs ever said, "Well, Chunky Bergola Soup sales are slumping this month. Better call the Barcode Battler people...again."

[RedWolf is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Computing and Gaming, a regularly updated "blogazine" that covers collecting, playing, and hacking vintage computing and gaming devices. He has been collecting vintage computers and game systems for over 12 years.]

Game Ads A-Go-Go: Dumb Ads of the '90s

March 9, 2006 4:12 PM |

vcg_logo_gsw.jpg['Game Ads A-Go-Go' is a weekly column by Vintage Computing and Gaming's RedWolf that showcases good, bad, strange, funny, and interesting classic video game-related advertisements, most of which are taken from his massive vintage game magazine collection.]

Hello, folks, and welcome to the first episode of 'Game Ads A-Go-Go' on GameSetWatch. I've dredged up all my early 90s gaming mags from the murky depths just for you, and I'll be going through them every week to show you interesting ads of the recent gaming past.

This week we'll be looking over a few ads from classic game mags that feature dumb marketing copy. And If you didn't know, "copy" is the "writing part" of the ad -- that is, the words. I'll also be throwing in some snarky commentary to go with them (everybody seems to love "snarky commentary" these days). So, on with the show...

Feed me Bullets

First off, we have an ad for the Super Nintendo game The Untouchables, which daringly proclaims "They've got a bullet with your name on it."

untouchables_small.jpg

Sure they do -- that is, if my name is "Untouchables." This just in: Suicide rates among the Untouchables at an all-time high.

This Sounds Dangerous

Next on the block, we have an ad from NAKI for their rechargable Game Boy and GameGear batteries. Apparently they're explosive. In fact, they're "ALMOST NUCLEAR."

naki_nuclear_small.jpg

The statement in the slanted box to the left reads: "WARNING:NAKI battery packs cause extended play which has been known to result in mind melt!" If that weren't bad enough, the ad goes on to talk about their batteries creating a "gaming explosion," and also about how you can "nuke your Game Boy or Game Gear" with their "totally nuclear" rechargable batteries. So to sum up the capabilities of this product: their batteries scramble your brains, destroy your $100 gaming handheld, then proceed to explode in your face. But you'll find no pansy conventional explosives here -- it's a nuclear explosion, so it takes out not only you (the owner of the device), but at least the whole block as well. In other words, this is a horrible product. Where can I get one?

All-You-Can-Eat War Buffet

The Gulf War in the early 1990s caused a huge merchandising explosion unknown to any war since, well, ever. Quick to capitalize on how totally awesome wars are (especially when we overwhelmingly crush a tiny army that is outfitted only with 1960s-era military technology), game developers jumped on board and created opportunities to reenact this time-honored human tradition.

super_conflict_small.jpg

The red tagline near the bottom reads: "Super Conflict is all the war you'll ever want."

Which is, what? None?

[RedWolf is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Vintage Computing and Gaming, a regularly updated "blogazine" that covers collecting, playing, and hacking vintage computing and gaming devices. He has been collecting vintage computers and game systems for over 12 years.]