10 of the best old video game commercials ever
Okay, so some aren’t that old, but we still love ’em
For the most part, they’re easy to ignore, but a lot of them are down-right annoying. Not to mention that the humor, captivation and cleverness of today’s ads are pretty lacking compared to decades of the past.
I remember growing up and loving the video game and toy commercials. What made commercials from the eras of old so fun was the catchy jingles, the action-packed scenes (and the missiles shooting down walls of plastic that were never included with the toys) and the over-the-top announcer who made it sound like if you didn’t buy that toy right then and there, you were going to die.
But as cool as the toy commercials were, I think the video game commercials were even better. Toy commercials today feel uninspired, but video game commercials, for the most part, still have a lot of untapped potential. I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best video game commercials ever created. Enjoy and be sure and share with us your favorite game commercials, in the comments section.
10. Blur – Race like a big boy
I remember almost peeing myself when I first saw this commercial. The ending is hilarious and it was bold of Activision to take on Nintendo’s première cart racing series the way they did with this ad. Unfortunately, the ad didn’t help the (greatly underrated) game sell very many copies, probably because it’s light on in-game footage (see: none), but still the commercial is quite entertaining.
9. PlayStation Move – Kevin Butler “Buttons”
When Sony launched its PlayStation Move peripheral for the PS3 in 2010, competition was hot. The Wii was at the height of its game and Microsoft’s Kinect was hot on the trail of Sony’s Move. Sony used the already popular Kevin Butler to promote the Move and it produced some of the best ads in gaming history. Taking shots at both the Wii motion controls and Kinect’s controller-less gameplay, this ad delivers on the humor, creativity and entertainment value. It also gave the Move some excellent mainstream exposure.
8. Crazy Taxi – “That was some big air!”
The ill-fated Sega Dreamcast left a legacy of some amazing games. Though Crazy Taxi was eventually rereleased on just about every system under the sun, the original Dreamcast version remains in our hearts as the best version. At the time, the ads for the Dreamcast showed a futuristic (and later called ahead of its time) system and games that looked better than anything seen on a home console to date. Crazy Taxi was one of those titles gamers just had to play, and this ad was a big part of the reason for that.
7. PlayStation – “Michael: Long. Live. Play.”
Sony’s “Michael” ad released in the fall of 2011, which was a time when rumors of a Smash Bros.-like Sony fighter (See: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale) were rampant on the Internet. Though everyone thought the ad was for the game, it really had nothing to do with it. According to G4TV, the ad took five months to complete and has references to approximately 20 games or characters. Not only is it an awesome gaming ad, it’s probably one of the best commercials ever created.
6. GTA Vice City – “Ran so far”
Back in 2002, gamers were itching for more GTA. Hot on the heels of the epic accomplishment and gift to gamers that was Grand Theft Auto III, gaming lovers everywhere wanted more car theft, explosions, and open-world, hour-killing, havoc-causing gameplay. GTA Vice City delivered, and for me personally, it remains to this day as my favorite entry in the series. The ad was awesome because it showed how well Rockstar Games had captured the 80s, and of course, it showed off all the fun stuff gamers were waiting to spend countless hours experiencing.
5. PlayStation: Kevin Butler – “Grandma won’t stop watching Blu-Ray movies”
In 2009, when the PlayStation 3 finally saw its first price drop, down to $299, Sony launched one of the best ad campaigns in the company’s history when it unleashed the Kevin Butler “Dear PlayStation” ads on the world. This one was one of the best, though they’re all great.
4. Xbox 360/Halo 3 – “Station”
Microsoft’s 2007 “Station” ad campaign was awesome. Not only did it help Microsoft secure top-notch sales that year, but it was also a lot of fun to watch. With a catchy song, that feeling of “everyone should be playing Xbox” that it conveyed so well, and eye-catching, curiosity-raising visuals, the ad campaign was a big hit. The subtle inclusion of a Halo 3 shot on the TV screen was also a nice touch, which shows why Microsoft dominated much of this generation of gaming when it came to advertising.
3. Ratchet and Clank – “Gary’s a chicken!”
The Ratchet and Clank games are a classic part of Sony’s library of exclusives, but they had to start somewhere. Though I didn’t get into the games back in the day, I certainly remember these hilarious commercials.
2. Super Mario Sunshine – “Clean is better than dirty”
So this one is borderline embarrassing, but that’s what makes it so great. Super Mario Sunshine definitely took a different angle on the Mario universe and the commercial reflected that well. It was just cheesy and silly enough, with a great balance of gameplay shots that it intrigued gamers to go out and buy Mario Sunshine. Though the game is rated on the lower end of the list of Mario games, it holds a special place in our hearts.
1. WWF Smackdown! – “Smackdown Hotel”
Of course, my number one is a wrestling game. Duh. But don’t think I chose it just because I love wrestling games. I also chose it because it’s an awesome ad. The Smackdown 2 ad was great too and the series has had some other fun ads as well, but this one is by far the best. I’ll let it speak for itself though.
Keep it locked to Sac City Gamer for more installments of our favorite gaming commercials, and as always, all of your other gaming goodness.