Tech #19: More Video Game Ads

"So Real It Hurts"

Does it not amaze you that, not too long ago, you could make that claim for a game like this?  I did doodles on my Trapper Keeper that were more realistic than this.  How in the name of all that is holy, could we have thought this was realistic?  That is one thing you can always count on technology to do - it will always make you look like a naive idiot decades later.

You kids who haven't lived long enough to experience the effect, just wait.  You'll look back on how excited you were to get that new Assassin's Creed or HALO game and smack yourself in the forehead for being so easily duped. Games today will look like this crummy football game within the next decade or so.

So, let's get some perspective and look at some vintage video game ads.  I look forward to reading your comments...

This game came with a digital comic book.  That was kind of a neat idea at the time.  Plus Spidey was no longer just a glob of blue and red pixels.  This ad is from 1989, so things were progressing markedly from the Atari 2600 days.

This is what you call 'overselling your product'.  The ad promises games so real, it's like being transported into a virtual reality where the game and the real-world meet.  Sadly, the product itself would deliver VGA graphics so poor, you'd be frantically searching for your receipt.

Ummm. No thanks.  Not even in '89.

Isn't it hilarious how they always over-extended the capabilities of technology in eighties movies?  It seemed like every other movie had a talking robot (Deadly Friend, Short Circuit) or a waaayyyy overpowerful PC (WarGames).  I think we are much more realistic with tech predictions in movies today - we've at least stopped with the anthropomorphous robots and making standard PC's be able to create life (Weird Science) and fall in love (Electric Dreams).

Is this the most late-eighties ad you've ever seen?  Is there something wrong with me that I laughed maniacally when I saw this ad?
All red hot rappers wear cool dark shades.
It's the way to look.  It really makes the grade.
You're a guaranteed winner struttin' down the street
With the right pair of shades and a rappin' beat.

"Some characters actually talk.  This spectacular effect is achieved by synchronizing digitized animation with REAL SOUND"

Back in '88-'89 I had the D&D game "Pool of Radiance".  I'm not ashamed to admit that I played the hell out of it.

Aragon is just like Tolkein's Aragorn.... except it's awful.  Where's J.R.R.legal team when you need 'em?

And speaking of Tolkein....
"You opportunity to live a few hours of your life as a Hobbit is here!"

What the hell are they talking about? That doesn't even make sense.  Why would it be just a few hours and I don't think it's about pretending to be a Hobbit.  If I'm going to be anyone in LOTR for a few hours it's going to be Angmar the Witch King..... him or Tom Bombadil.

"No I.D. required for half-elves." WTF? An attempt at humor, I guess.

Mr. Bard wants to know what rhymes with 'ogre'?  How about, "Ogre? Not me. I didn't even know her!"
Heh-heh.  And that was my attempt at humor.

I never really cared for those simulator games where the control panel was more complicated than an airline cockpit.  And for all the gadgets, the simulation was still rather weak.

For all its accolades, I have no memory of The Manhole.  Here's a few more games I've never played...

Am I going insane, or is there a horse with a hat and cape in the background?  I think I need to rest.


  1. a horse with a hat and cape - a cigar in its mouth and no legs. wth? that's bizarre.

    I never owned a pair of Ray Ban's. Looking at that kid above, I can see why. They were a little douchey. They remind me of an era when everything was "Totally Rad!"

  2. Black people rapping is already stupid. Why the hell would white people want to do it, especially nerdy white people who might play video games like those mentioned?

  3. The Bard's Tale was a heck of a game. The sequels weren't very good.

  4. Mr. Windwalker looks like he's about to flash his tits.

  5. I think you're being a little too harsh with some of these titles.If you spent $32.95 for BUGS by Data Age for the Atari 2600(Which I did)you know the pain of buying a reallybad game.only 5 or six years later these games mentioned above were like beyond infinity.I could go back further and mention that my family upgraded our Telstar marksman to an Atari 2600 and were amazed by Activision's Freeway! I look back at these images with a sense of nostalgia instead of being embarrased,it was what it was.

    1. I'm all for nostalgia and sentimentality, God knows I spend enough time on Retrospace sounding like a Luddite, but the games in this post largely sucked. There's a few exceptions here; but, for the most part, they weren't even good when they were brand new.

      I wore out my Atari 2600, and you won't hear me say much negative there (of course there were duds - i.e. the ET and Journey games); however the ones in this post I think have earned their ridicule honestly.

    2. Fair enough.Ironic though,I will actually play a round of E.T.on a cold Dead of Winter night occasionally.It really takes me back.With the exception of actually buying the game,1982 was aces for me.Apollo's Skeet Shoot was so bad I couldn't play it sober.one of my faves today.Go figure...

  6. Is it just me, or is the ad for "Mean Streets" trying to get as close to the "Bladerunner" movie poster as they can without getting sued?

  7. I am amazed to look at this huge collection, it is awesome.