I hate advertisements. Can’t stand ‘em, especially when they are overtly splattered all over my favorite pieces of media like movies, podcasts, and most notoriously, football games. Hell, that’s why I don’t put advertisements on my own Youtube videos because they annoy me that much. You can’t escape them and they have even been infiltrating my favorite thing, video games! But sometimes, even I am helpless to the demonic power of ads and they do as intended and get me to buy their crap. Here are a few times where in game advertisements got me to cave in and OBEY.
Tonky Hawk Pro Skater 2 (PS1/N64)Huh? Where was there advertising in the Tony Hawk games? Well, I think this serves as a good example of advertising done in a way where it’s non intrusive and seems somewhat natural. In the game you choose one of many professional skateboarders. And what do skateboarders ride? Skateboards of course! All the skate decks you could unlock in the game were ones you could actually buy in real life. Being a young lad who was very into the Xtreme of the 90’s and early 2000’s, I was into skateboarding with my buddies. And you bet your ass that after playing THPS 2 I busted out my copy of CCS magazine and ordered one through the mail. Boy, what a sucker!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)Ok, so the Ninja Turtles TV show in general was just one big marketing ploy to sell mountains of toys to kids. Very obvious, but damn the toys were really awesome! (Going back to the 80’s show is just kinda meh) Now in the Nintendo version of the arcade game there was something else being advertised, not just the turtles themselves. PIZZA! Oh and not just any pizza, Pizza Hut pizza! On some of the levels there would be Pizza Hut signs hanging on the walls. And the turtles ate it to regain health. Again, this ad makes sense to put in because it’s canon from the show and movies that the turtles love their pizza. So sometimes they like to cruise on over to Pizza Hut and grab a pie! I really wanted to be like the turtles as a kid, they sparked my life long love for both the martial arts and pizza, so if the turtles say eat some pizza hut, then it shall be done. The game even provided you with a coupon for a free personal pan pizza! What’s not to love? Except for the part where I had to eat Pizza Hut…
You’re probably now thinking, “What a fool! How could Dom fall for such poor attempts at advertisements.” Sure I got, got a few times but for the most part I do not bow to any sponsor! So here are some games that couldn’t use their tricks to get me to pony up my cash. (Except, I guess they got me to buy the game…)
Pikmin 2 (GameCube)I love the Pikmin series so much. It can be both relaxing but also strenuous at times. In the sequel there was quite a bit of product placement and it was actually pretty lame. The goal of the Pikmin games is to capture and force the native inhabitants of a distant planet into slave labor and direct them to gather different treasures to power your space ship. Typically the treasures were fruits, foods, coins and other miscellaneous garbage. But in Pikmin 2 there are real world products. Duracell batteries, Snapple caps, and Skippy peanut butter. The ads weren’t particularly intrusive, but they annoyed me because now we know that the Pikmin planet, with all them little creatures and weird monsters, was at one point planet Earth. Why else would all these products be scattered about the planet if it wasn’t Earth? While it doesn’t completely ruin the game, it removes part of the unknown and mystery. It also in no way made me want to buy Duracell batteries. Does anyone actually buy batteries based on the brand??
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U/Switch)Again Nintendo!? Stop putting ads in your unique properties. It feels so damn out of place to play some Mario Kart 8 and have 3 Mercedes Benz cars as choices for your ride. I love Mario Kart but even if I had the money, I wouldn’t be buying a Mercedes because I saw one in the game. It leaves a dark little cloud on the whimsical feeling that this game is supposed to give you. Everything is out of the ordinary and strange, throwing turtle shells, driving upside down, Mario and Bowser having some good clean fun, but then a Mercedes speeds by with Toad and his ugly mug behind the wheel. It just leaves me scratching my head. Nintendo sure as hell better not pull this with Mario Odyssey.
Cool Spot (Genesis/SNES)This game takes advertising to the next level because the entire game is one big ad! Spot the anthropomorphic red dot, was the mascot character for 7UP soda. You know, that soda that no one ever asks for, the one where if someone hands you a 7UP instead of a Sprite you punch them in the face. (Lookin’ at you New Jack!) Well, some mucky muck over at 7UP got the ingenious idea to use their mascot character in a video game! You take control as the Cool Spot in this generic platformer and the goal is to gather up red dots to progress. Cool Spot rides a bottle of 7UP as a surf board, the special stages take place inside a giant 7UP can, and the 7UP logos are a free life. I actually got this game at FuncoLand in the bargain bin as a kid, and this did not make me want to drink 7Up at all. I loathed this game and it must have had the opposite effect because I can’t remember ever drinking 7UP. Oh and I forgot to mention, Spot uses soda bubbles as an attack to shoot at crabs, clams and other sea creatures to kill them. Which I think sends the perfect message. 7 UP will kill you.
There are a lot more examples of bad in game advertising, but these were the ones that left me the most agitated. What are some in game ads that pissed you off? Let me know in the comments below! And to all you advertisers out there, stop messing with my games! It’s like people only do things because they get paid, and thats just really sad.