Ahh, the '90s. The age that gave us Pulp Fiction, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, "fashionable" bandanas and the Budweiser advert with a load of lads shouting "Wazzuuuuup" into their oversized phones.
Check out this dated Crash Bandicoot commercial below:
But aside from the memorable games themselves, the marketing campaigns that accompanied titles like Crash Bandicoot, DOOM and Super Mario 64 were often more indicative of the age than the products. So let's celebrate this glorious decade through its bizarre attempts to drum up hype.
'90s Video Game Are Ads Were Simply the Best
1. Crash...and Burn
"Crash is back... And he's all pumped-up and ready to rumble."
I sincerely hope that the giant specimens in this magazine spread were not informed of their inclusion in this advert. Let's imagine that they just turned up to the shoot and tried to pull their best pose, only to be posthumously lumped next to a dude in a (terrible) Crash Bandicoot outfit. Let's face it though, he's got the hottest bod in the pic.
2. The Sonic Lane
While not particularly scandalous or strange, I love the simplicity of SEGA's advertising here. Sonic has a fast lane. It's confident, self aware and it speaks to the fans. I love it.
3. Sub-Par Advertising
Here's a bizarre image for the standalone Mortal Kombat title, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, which was incidentally the first side-scrolling game in the series' history. But can we talk about this dude's face?! He looks like a '90s version of Nosferatu! How on earth is this supposed to promote the fighting game? Your guess is as good as mine.
4. This Ant Ain't Doomed
Yet again: Confidence. id Software knew exactly how successful the DOOM franchise was and believed fully in the brand. With its arrival on the Super NES, id went about promoting the project in a really interesting way. Picture yourself as an ant. You're surrounded by legions more, of various sizes, and you're left to kill them. Oh, and this is all taking place in Hell.
5. And Why's That?
What do you mean "few live to finish this game"? Is it so difficult that the majority of us will die before we master it? Is the campaign so long none of us will actually have the time to complete it? Or will its brutality actually inflict physical damage on my own body? Troubling questions to say the least.
6. Head... What?
Head lube? Is this the stuff that makes me better at games? I like how you're marketing Mystic Quest as the most approachable game ever, but what the hell are you talking about? Oil change?! I'm confused.
7. You Won't Believe Your Eye Balls
Back in the '90s, marketing agencies relied heavily on shock factor to sell products (still do). In the case of Flashback: The Quest for Identity (who the hell came up with that title?) the most extraordinary aspect of its design was that it wasn't "a CD-ROM game." SHOCKING!
8. Is It Though?
Perhaps it's the dark part of my brain attempting to mess with Atari's catchphrase here, but "The most fun you can hold in your hands" would be a dangerous line to go with today. However, I gotta give it to that severed hand clutching at the portable console in the bottom right. It's really selling the experience.
9. We've Yet To Tick Off The First Two
"Hey, maybe you could use that money to save some humpback. Then again, maybe you could buy Streets of Rage 2. It's your dough."
So flippant about saving the planet and the whales. But the advert has a point.
10. Baywatch Never Looked So Pixelated
Baywatch's Marliece Andrada as Agent Xtra was certainly pushed(up) to the fore here. Look at how lustfully she's staring at that Gecko. And how terribly she's been photoshopped onto the car.
11. Speaking of Bad Photoshopping...
This is far too amusing. Yeah, it's damn funny that the dude's face has been replaced with a sticker awaiting your own. But can we talk about the terrible photoshopping of the cast, and mainly how completely off kilter the three characters in the front are? Why aren't they in the middle of the image? Everyone else is well positioned. They even seem to be tilting to the side! I mean I'm not complaining, it's downright hilarious!
12. Average Bears Suck
I really love how many times they had to include 'TM' in the written segment of this advert. Though I am confused as to why there's such a large blank space at the bottom left of the image. Did you run out of ideas after the bear one?
13. GET IT OFF
That kid looks like he's about to have an aneurism. His face on the GameBoy is terrifying. And why on earth does the fact that the cool printer is sold separately get a "WOW!"
14. Alright, Who Bought This?
Yeah, this kind of technology really took off, huh Konami?
15. And Then You Die
Like I said, Top Gear: "Respect."
16. I See What You Did There
And I like it very, very much.
17. "Got Ya!"
One of the more famous images in video game advertising, this gargoyle leaping from the kid's GameBoy is joyous. Though I doubt that anyone ever forgot this was a video game based on those graphics...