ºThe Best (and Worst) Console Commercials Ever
The hits and misses of console advertising.
Video game console advertising has come a long way during the past two decades. Here's a look at the best and worst those scotch-swilling games industry mad men have come up with over the years.
This ad got a lot of people talking. It's a simple idea executed masterfully, rolling multiple recognisable characters into a single ensemble ad like no other.
Stuffed to the gills with fan service wherever you look it's a commercial that understands its audience in a way many do not.
There's a common misconception that this ad was banned by the powers-that-be, and that's why it was never seen on TV. It's not quite the case.
"Well, it wasn't banned," Peter Moore told The Guardian back in 2008. "I couldn't get it through Microsoft – one of the greatest video game commercials ever. I thought it was brilliant."
"I showed it one morning to the head of corporate marketing at Microsoft and she said, 'over my dead body will you ever run this spot on TV'," Moore continued. "I went ballistic – it's cops and robbers, it's cowboys and Indians, it's what we did as kids! But we never ran it... we didn't need to because it's been seen millions of times on YouTube..."
It is a brilliant ad, one that perfectly illustrates that it's fun to pretend – and isn't that what gaming's all about?
The Kevin Butler character has been a real win for Sony and the series of refreshingly self-aware commercials he's featured in have gained a lot of traction with gamers, particularly on the internet.
Some of the later Kevin Butler ads are even better than this one, but this one really kicked off the Director/VP of Something Ridiculous theme that has been maintained throughout the campaigns.
This 1999 Sony Europe ad needs little introduction, gaining cult status long ago. Simple yet rousing, it's a message that speaks to gamers everywhere and stirringly communicates the power of fantasy.
Another exceedingly clever and supremely well-executed take on the world of make-believe. A great ad with a great twist.
On the back of a few years worth of dark advertisements designed to primarily appeal to young men and art school dropouts, 'Mountain' was a radically different approach.
It was huge critical success, the second-most-awarded commercial of 2004 (after the ingenious 'Cog' for the Honda Accord).
Segata Sanshiro was fond of beating up teenagers and shouting at kids but, most of all, he loved Sega Saturn. His ads only ran in Japan; we wonder how much better the Saturn would've gone if Sega had let him loose on the whole world.
This one's our favourite, if only for the implication that Segata Sanshiro has straight up killed and skinned Santa into order to steal the Saturn jolly ol' Santa was planning to gift to these children and deliver it personally.
This one's hovering on the brink. On the one hand it does have a certain Monty Python-style brilliance to it; the idea of a huge herd of golfers trying to cross a river infested with hungry porn stars would not have been out of place on a show like Monty Python's Flying Circus. The straight-laced commentary is equally inspired, giving this great African golfer migration a true Discovery Channel vibe.
Still, this ad couldn't have less to do with the PS2 if it tried.
Before Call of Duty vs. Battlefield, before PS3 vs. 360, before any of this present-day fanboy rubbish... we had '90s fanboy rubbish.
Sega's advertising campaign for the Genesis, or the Mega Drive as it was called outside of the US, was pretty firmly focused on bashing Nintendo.
Never mind that blast processing was just a marketing buzzword that actually meant very little; they're using Super Mario Kart as an example of why you should avoid the SNES.
Can you imagine the reaction if either Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft we're to make an identical ad to this today? If the tantrums online these days are any indication we'd anticipate a global spate of rage aneurysms from fanboys far and wide.
Sony's Golfers vs. Porn Stars doesn't make any more sense than this ad, but at least it has a certain sketch-show sense of absurdity to it. This one is just way too off-the-wall.
The considerably less safe for work version is even longer and even more bizarre.
As far as short films go it's certainly quirky. You might even go so far as to say it's entertainingly odd. As far as video game console advertisements go though? It's dumber than a bag of hammers.
"Welcome to Introduction to Flame Wars 101.
We hope you brought a calculator 'cause we're all about numbers up in here.
Buy a Jaguar, or you're an idiot."
Listed as one of the worst inventions of all time by TIME Magazine, the Virtual Boy was a gigantic flop. In its short lifespan (it was released in 1995 and discontinued in 1996) Nintendo only managed to shift 800,000 of them.
Commercials featuring the Virtual Boy as a sentient killing machine stalking and subjugating young humans for their eyes probably didn't help.
Luke is Games Editor at IGN AU. You can track him via MyIGN or chat to him and the rest of the Australian team by joining the IGN Australia Facebook community. Think fast, look alive and, above all, die hard!