ByTim Horton, writer at
Business Development Manager at Universally Speaking. @TimHortonGame | Email: [email protected]
Tim Horton

I know it is difficult but picture a time before the Internet, before social media and before video game websites. A dark and torrid time I know, what would you do without Moviepilot!?

Before the invention of such technology, games companies had to advertise their products in other ways. The most effective platforms at the time were television, magazines and road-side billboards. All three of these avenues still exist today however games companies prefer to focus on online based campaigns. Makes sense - you’re reading this aren’t ya?

The following ads will take you on a journey back through the mullets, shades and tash's - past that time where you might have enjoyed that advert a little too much and brings you back out into the modern era with some of the best gaming ads around today.

Enjoy our collection of some of the cheesiest video game ads ever conceived topped with enough nostalgia to have you rooting around for that 'Frankie Says Relax' T-shirt you keep locked away.

10. 'Mortal Kombat,' 1992

So real it hurts! In truth, the original Mortal Kombat arcade game hurt my mother’s purse more that it hurt me - that is if you don't count the claw for a hand I have now. Check out Raiden and Kano attempting to steal those poor boys colorful '90s clothes!

9. 'Doom,' 1993

OK, so the logo is the same but check out that write-up!

"64 Bit, Ultra-real textured map, a bottomless pit of high action play options."

Whoever wrote this is a game writer God. To be fair, though, this game was and still is great - with this being one of the games first ever ads - it is evident why the game is still so popular today.

8. Sega '90s

Hmmm, they are clearly referring to level progression and depth of gameplay that the new Sega system offers - nothing else can be implied here. This campaign comes from the time of Sega's Genesis and the Game Gear development. Playing to a filthy minded gamer here I’d say.

7. Nintendo Game Boy Pocket '90s

So it turns out that Nintendo ads in the '90s weren't exactly family friendly. Apparently this ad in particular received the most complaints - I am not surprised, though, there seems to be a Game Boy in the way of a half naked lady!

6. Xbox 'Life Is Short' 2002

This brilliant advert was banned worldwide after audiences were appalled by seeing a woman give birth to a baby boy who then shoots out of a window and enters into a surreal but beautiful sequence of human aging which ends up with him landing in his own grave. The point being that life is short, so we must jump into life and into gaming. I like it!

5. 'Ajax,' Konami, 1987

I am sensing a theme here - in the '90s they liked to use girls to sell products. This game is obviously so good that we don't need to know anything about it. We have a girl holding a big gun, this must mean that the game is good... I guess?

4. 'Virtua Striker,' 1994

I genuinely remember playing this game! I always lost - apparently taking the ball out wide and crossing it in makes it easier to score. Did you know that this game features a hidden team called FC Sega, made up of the game's developing staff? The hidden team would play against the player in special matches after the player wins the final match. Of course, I would never know how that feels.

3. 'Guitar Hero,' 2009, Heidi Klum

Who doesn't remember this? This could be the one I referred to earlier - the video game ad you accidentally bookmarked on YouTube. Back in 2009, Heidi Klum took to the living room to rock out to Activision's new Guitar Hero game. Again, another ad that I think is brilliant - celebrities getting involved and acting crazy is what I love to see!

2. 'Gears of War,' Mad World, 2006

The ad that made me want an Xbox. The song 'Mad Word' performed by Gary Jules perfectly depicts the atmosphere of Sera and gives the game an extremely haunting quality. Did you know that the song actually features in the game, albeit an instrumental version. A fantastic trailer for an even better game - a classic series brought to life on the Xbox.

1. Playstation, 'Micheal,' 2011

Number one because it celebrates us the gamers. Guaranteed to send chills down your spine and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Yes, there are others similar but this for me was the original player-centric trailer.

'Michael' represents us the gamers - I know that many of you reading this will not be called Michael but don’t worry, it is metaphorical. The ad came out as part of Sony's 'Long Live Play' campaign and within days of release was hailed as pundit’s choice for best video game trailer.

This trailer is rivaled only by Sony’s other great masterpiece, 'Double Life.' Another incredibly rousing video that puts us, the players, at the centre of premise. Directed by David Lynch, this trailer made me feel great about being a gamer. If only I could have shared the top spot. Wait, I can - Check out Sony's 'Double Life' trailer and decide for yourself which you prefer.

There you have it, ten of the craziest, cheesiest and occasionally a little sexist bunch of classic video game ads out there. It was a real treat looking back through the years at the games of old - seeing where we have come from - to where we are today. The gaming industry today is booming and it is only set to get bigger. It really is a great time to be a gamer.

What was your favorite video game advert of old? Let me know in the comments section or even create a post yourself.


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