Videogame advertising should be almost impossibly simple: all anyone needs to hear is that it's a videogame, it's fun to play, and that's it. "Videogames are fun, you should buy this one because look how fun it is!" Nothing more is necessary. But maybe it's because of the utter simplicity needed that marketing for videogames gets so weird to set your videogame apart, maybe the ad should be a surreal journey into a bizarre, trippy, nonsensical world?
The answer to that question is "no, really you shouldn't do that, that's just confusing", but don't tell the gaming industry that, because they're pretty committed to it. Here are the worst videogame commercials of all-time.
20. Sega CD
You know when you're watching TV and a guy comes on and starts berating you about something and you have an IQ of 35 so you're incapable of speaking other than grunts and
well, relatability is probably not the goal here. The goal is to show how the weird, bad graphics of the Sega CD will cause a wind tunnel in your home and briefly turn you into a skeleton and finally turn you into the Joker. "Sega CD" is a pretty disappointing answer to how he got those scars.
19. Sega Saturn 21st Century
To be fair, the commercial is worse than it should be due to hindsight bias: we all know what an awful debacle the Sega Saturn turned out to be, so when the evil gray mystery face asks us if we're "ready" for it, it's hard not to laugh a little. Luckily, some goofy douchebag in a Twilight Zone-esque void starts dancing around a television set, babbling nonsense and giggling to himself, which makes it really easy to laugh at this commercial. Really, it looks more like an experimental student film more than a commercial for a major videogame console release. And the saddest thing of all? The whole commercial hinges upon the Saturn as being a glimpse into the 21st century, when in fact the console would collapse in on itself by 1998.
Also, "Twenty Spleen-Busting Games At Launch"
maybe don't promote your system by claiming it will cause major organ failure, Sega.
18. Link's Awakening Rap
There's a lot of things about the Legend of Zelda series that are iconic. One is the music. I'm pretty sure it's bad early 90's rap, right? Oh wait, no, nevermind, I was thinking of "things that are not Zelda." You can barely make out what's going on in the game, as it's being projected on the barren walls of some post-apocalyptic ruins, as lights briefly flash and the sole survivor of the human race drops some rhymes.
17. Panasonic 3DO
When describing the mind-blowing graphics of your videogame system (that very clearly are probably not going to blow anyone's mind), it's probably best to not have really, really terrible special effects going on in your commercial. Also why does the inmate of this future asylum/prison have a backwards beret on for one take? C'mon 3DO, I expected better from
actually, this is pretty much what I expected.
16. Hey You, Pikachu!
Nothing sells games like showing how they can help you cope with your negligent family and idiot friends, right? There's something so unbelievably depressing that the kid is so enamored by the concept of someone who "actually listens to you" to the point of repeatedly describing the virtual Pikachu as his "best friend." The commercial's essentially saying you should buy this game, assuming you are the loneliest person in the world.