Video Game Commercials of 1994 – Sonic & Knuckles, X-Men & More! / MY LIFE IN GAMING


it’s an unlikely team quad-band damn raúl juliá streetfighter rated pg-13 starts Friday recently I was digitizing some old off-air recordings of an MTV show called headbangers ball a late-night metal centric music video show that aired in the u.s. from 1987 until 1997 these tapes in particular were recorded in 1994 since most of these were a solid two-hour block recording they included all the commercials many of which worked for video games I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to put high-quality versions of these old commercials online well about as high-quality as an AVI or VHS recording could be so let’s check out some of the video game commercials of 1994 [Music] 1994 the Clinton years were well underway in the US while my Buffalo Bills lost yet another Super Bowl and Green Day set at Woodstock 94 made them my favorite band for the next couple of years of course outside of this I was oblivious to most of the other goings-on in the world I was 15 years old and fully embroiled in the world of 16-bit gaming in 1994 brought some of the all-time greats Donkey Kong Country Sonic 3 freaking Super Metroid it was during this year that Nintendo thought it was time to shed their perceived Kitty persona and began to ramp up into their play out loud period this edgy and in-your-face makeover was an attempt to appear as cool as Sega but ended up being a misguided effort and let’s be honest super annoying even for the target audience like myself that’s not to say these commercials were all annoying super punch-out was a long-awaited follow-up to the NES hits and didn’t need to be crazy to get people interested to anyone the game looked gorgeous the huge character sprites made it look insanely graphically impressive especially in the short bursts we see in this 15-second spot while super punch-out may not be one of the consoles most essential games it was an excellent follow-up to the original when was the last entry in the series until 2009 yuuna racers on the other hand a game where you took control of a sentient unicycle to pull off some crazy tricks had to lean into that coolness factor a little bit harder this week on lost hands on table appended daredevil discusses you narration only for super it’s like single warning down the track double role why how did you find the trooper Action Man I was hauling pinion on the parole usage it’s time to action triple flip bacon in the pan what did you feel thing to be totally slap make me doing triple flips without tossing your compass good time let’s not fool ourselves despite being unique and interesting universe hers wasn’t exactly a looker and honestly it’s kind of surprising that guy is elaborate commercial as it did in the end it got lost in the mushroom cloud of the Megaton bomb that was Donkey Kong Country which released just before it the unicycles themselves have a sort of CG look to them not that you’d be able to tell with the quick cuts in this 30-second spot but the look did prompt the pre Toy Story Pixar to go after developer DMA design and Nintendo because of a similarity to an animated short of theirs called Reds dream this prevented the game from getting another print run and the game faded into a relative obscurity [Music] just as Nintendo was starting to get in your face with their advertising Sega thought it was time to get a little bit weird the Genesis and Sega CD was driven to success on the shoulders of amazing advertising the Sega scream and my personal favorite welcome to the next level [Music] for those who purchased something other than a Sega Genesis yeah that’s it our sincere condolences what a waste when you start with the Genesis you can always add a Sega CD and new genesis 32x everything else is cold and stiff barrier permission second never had a problem talking smack against other console makers although they were oddly unspecific here the game’s advertised were a curious choice Jurassic Park rampage edition was a revamp of the popular game based on the movie which was just then seeing a home video release and echo the tides of time a well-regarded sequel that added some cool 3d on rail segments on the Sega CD front you get the requisite FMV games and Batman Returns whose 3d driving segments were still among the most impressive graphics on the system and the last segment brought us the ill-fated 32x which was scheduled for release that November this add-on also got a dedicated commercial for its launch since the beginning of time mankind has striven to double and redouble his power mysterious machine has appeared in homes across America increase the power of the unit 1413 am I crazy or did this be the start of Sega getting weird and obnoxious with our advertising some games are quickly represented with the most emphasis on doom the popular PC game was starting to appear on every console and this version may have been one of the best if not the best port at the time of course the 32x wasn’t the only thing that Sega had on their plate for the holiday season that year the second half of Sonic 3 was on the way in that October from the North Pole to renegade elves leave on a mission to deliver an amazing new game that will change every Sonic game ever created for Genesis maybe I guess since I wasn’t too huge of a fan of Sonic 2 the release of 3 and subsequently Sonic and Knuckles passed me by I never realized that the lock on Kart was released the same year as Sonic 3 this holiday centric spot wasn’t the main advertising campaign for the game and it doesn’t even mention the then revolutionary feature of the lock-on technology as we all know Sonic 3 locked on the Sonic and Knuckles went on to be what many considered the definitive sonic experience and for the most part it still regarded as such today but did you know that Sega also released this in 1994 [Music] communication is pathetic here’s the IR 7000 from Sega send messages back and forth to your hoodlum friends without getting busted so get the message get the IR 7000 man I never knew that the IR 7000 existed until I saw the commercial for it on these tapes this portable communicator device was created by Casio and released by Sega send messages fight battles cheat on tests I’m surprised that this thing wasn’t more popular in a time before cell phones it seems like it would have been a great device for kids in school huge thanks to Sean long at our GT 85 for hooking me up with a unit to take a look at but unfortunately I couldn’t get the screen to work he has a deeper look at the device and its history on his youtube channel check it out so Sega and Nintendo battling it out for superiority over the console market but they weren’t alone Sega Genesis is 16 bits 3do was 32 bits the Atari Jaguar is 64 bits so with 64 bits and 3d graphics that you can only get with Jaguar which is more advanced Clifford Atari’s 64-bit jaguar console had been on the market for just about a year in 1994 a tower made the pitch with the do the math campaign which made it seem like an enormous jump in power over even the 32x which was just on deck this of course was a bit of fudging of a numbers by Atari it’s kind of amazing just how little actual gameplay footage they show the centerpieces being the system’s too heavy hitting first-person shooters Wolfenstein 3d and aliens vs. predator the Jag wasn’t the only system celebrating his one-year anniversary in 1994 though if y’all not playing on a 3do system what are you playing with presenting 3do the most advanced home gaming system in the universe it’s time to put away your toys 3do and Panasonic gold star in creative labs a new low price century games taking a page from Sega’s book of advertising the 3do was advertised aggressively as a machine for grown-ups I guess you had to be an adult to afford it’s insane $699 price tag right the passive type probably plays Nintendo the ggressive type probably plays Sega could we try that with a knock and the advertiser definitely plays 3do the most advanced home gaming system in the universe radio Panasonic Gold Star and creative layers now 399 plus free games what an obnoxious commercial right by mid to late 1994 when these spots aired the price had already been slashed by $300 honestly though both of these commercials show some really good games need for speed Road Rash and Madden from EA were all excellent games and they did a lot to really show off the power of the system Super Street Fighter 2 turbo was the cherry on top and finally and believe it or not the CDI was also being heavily advertised in 1994 with phil heartman of all people in tow say you’re dancing to your favorite CD and someone says and you’re thinking loser but actually it’s a premonition amazing movies man I see incredible games I see this whole world that guy creeps me phil heartman playing a bunch of characters isn’t exactly how I’d expect the CDI to be advertised but it works here lots of games are shown and since FMV was the system’s Forte almost all games highlighted here are of that variety the CDI was originally released by Philips in 1991 so it had been around for a while at this point this spot is an advertisement for the Magnavox iteration which was priced at a more modest $299 down from the original 700 dollar price tag this bundle got you some free games including burn cycle which was arguably the consul’s killer app and also got its own commercial you know what I hate man and you’re gonna see the big gold Buddha and you picked the leave with the virus on it soon the world will be divided into two groups those who’ve experienced burn cycle the ultimate cinematic adventure game must be one hell of a virus and those who think the first group is just strange fern cycle it’s not just a game it’s an infection only on CD I now get burn cycle free when you get into CDI burn cycle was a big expensive game that was heavily advertised in his day I remember this commercial airing on TV a lot but I’ve still never played it burn cycle was very similar to the seventh guest which released on computers in 1993 puzzle segments with some FMB based story elements and first-person target segments made for something that seemed like an evolution of the genre its Wii Remote style controller seemed perfect for the game so we’ve checked in with all the major console developments of 1994 but what were third parties offering at the time let’s take a look if you are a teenager in the early 1990s and II watched MTV then it’s safe to say that you knew beavis and butthead the show about two idiot metalheads became a cultural sensation of sorts and remains one of the most quintessential pieces of 90s entertainment alas as with all popular properties there’s only a matter of time before we saw a video game based on it feel the thrill of the chase discover new and weapons and control the destinies of America’s leading morons to morons three different games the beavis and butt-head video game for genesis game gear and super nes was interesting is that all three versions of the beavis and butt-head video game were completely different with the genesis version being the focus in this spot that version was more of a point-and-click style adventure with some action segments while the game gear and Super NES versions are much more twitch-based action games ultimately none of these three games were all that great releasing the poor reviews despite being featured on the cover of some of the most popular magazines at the time the beavis and butt-head games were released and quickly forgotten the x-men were hugely popular in the 90s although I don’t follow comics much these days I’ve heard my fair share of people look fondly upon the era once Capcom took the reins of the characters from Sega and Konami the first game we got was x-men mutant apocalypse on the Super NES a side-scrolling beat-em-up that featured the most iconic characters from the time period [Music] [Music] [Applause] how about those costumes it really helps you appreciate just how well done the costumes and comic book movies are these days doesn’t it this commercial goes so far to make it seem like Wolverine and Cyclops are the only playable characters which is weird because the game also includes gambit who might just be the most popular x-men of the 90s mutant apocalypse released at a time when Capcom ruled the world with Street Fighter 2 being the must-have game everywhere I’m not sure how well this x-men game did but it’s follow up the arcade 101 fighter x-men children of the atom was the beginning of a relationship that continues even today there’s nothing like some good old 90s gross-out humor right well gird your loins for this next spot if you had jalapenos and beans for every meal you would have an atomic butt blast – Superman for Sega Genesis hey Sarge is holy weapon Boogerman a pick and flick adventure from interplay was a pretty good encapsulation of 90s gross-out humor inspired by shows such as Ren & Stimpy the heavy use of Foley effects in this spot really makes my stomach churn every gurgle chew and squish is turned up to 11 – a plant where I just wanted to be over with in the years immediately preceding the prequels the Stowers series maintained its popularity by appearing across a number of different mediums the super Star Wars games were sort of a reintroduction of the serious to me sure I love them I mean heck I saw return the Jedi opening night when I was 5 but it was this trilogy of Super NES games that brought them back into my life in a big way feel a force with Super Return of the Jedi the final and greatest chapter in the Star Wars trilogy for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System perhaps it was the yearly release schedule but by the time Jedi rolled around in 94 my enthusiasm had begun to seriously wane and I doubt I was the only one this seems to be the only game from the series that got a commercial as far as I can tell and was probably just put out there to draw up a little bit more excitement of course Star Wars wasn’t the only hot film property that LucasArts had and another game was being developed be released alongside Jedi Indiana Jones greatest adventures for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System all three Indiana Jones adventures in one action-packed game while the superstar series was developed by sculptured software LucasArts brought in factor 5 to develop Indiana Jones greatest adventures it’s also exclusively on the Super Nintendo this time instead of splitting each movie into their own in digas one game to cover Raiders doom and Crusade these days I don’t think that the super Star Wars or Indiana Jones SNES games are considered to be very good but I absolutely have a bit of a soft spot for them especially the first Super Star Wars pitfall was the first game I ever remember playing in 1994 the series was revived after eight years with pitfall the Mayan adventure the introducing pitfall the jungle adventure video game from activision just a reminder not everyone pitfall a Mayan adventure for Sega Genesis and Super NES from Activision yeah another game that isn’t considered to be too good these days I found it interesting that the live-action segments in the commercial were used as the FM the opening to the Sega CD version that was released later on pitfall Harry’s son takes up the mantle to continue the treasure hunting adventure the animation on the main character is pretty good but there’s a tiny bit of input lag built into the game that drives me nuts another iconic game from the Atari era also got a new release in 1994 space invaders I’m the game boy what it is space invaders for game boy super game boy you know space invaders because it’s one of the most iconic games of all time this commercial knows it and it doesn’t even need to show you any actual gameplay free to be interested if you’re a fan you know you’re gonna buy it already but this game does Harbor a little secret that isn’t even mentioned at all and is a huge reason to even buy it in the first place inserting the cartridge into a super Gameboy and booting Arcade Mode gives you a full on SNES experience on a Gameboy cart I don’t really even watch basketball at all these days but in 1994 with players like Michael Jordan and of course Shaquille O’Neal it was a great time to be a fan I gotta say this next commercial was a very pleasant surprise to find on these tapes it’s not a great game but I was inexplicably excited to find it aka Sega Genesis and Super NES man I honestly can’t understand 90% of what’s coming out of this guy’s mouth sighs this one-on-one fighting game starring Shaq was developed by Delphine software most famous for another world and flashback it’s a ridiculous idea that has become a bit of a meme these days but the Super NES and the superior Genesis version are showed pretty equally throughout the commercial although the very end makes it seem like it was an SNES exclusive [Music] accolade a publisher most well-known for releasing the bubsy games were also responsible for a number of other claim titles such as introducing the first doom like game for Sega Simo tolerance because there’s just way too much reality out there an oil change had a free burger with cheese don’t forget the ketchup in a lot of ways this is the most 90s commercial out of the whole bunch if only because of the font used that said only in a time before combine with a commercial like this fly most fascinating is how misrepresented the game is in this spot which removes the entire HUD and only shows the FPS gameplay letterboxed over a black screen I get why they did this though having the HUD taking up around 80% of the screen makes for a pretty jumbled mess as I said many times before doom was a behemoth in 1994 everyone wanted to make a game like it hoping to emulate a success 0 talents on the genesis was the first to try and the first to fail although it’s fairly interesting [Music] when Mortal Kombat’s who came to home consoles it was one of the biggest games of 1994 to go along with such a big release acclaim put together a commercial that still holds up incredibly well today [Music] it’s important to realize that this spot predated the release of the Mortal Kombat movie which was still a year off besides Baraka the costume designs are absolutely awesome and authentic to the game it almost makes you wonder if they used the real ones that were digitized with the actors for the game white this commercial really makes the release feel like the event that it was and helped that the games themselves were excellent ports especially the SNES version which was my console version of choice for the first time Nintendo finally let go and allows such blatant extreme blood and violence on the console and they have a commercial like this to commemorate the event was only appropriate looking back on it now I wonder how many games I bought because they looked awesome in the commercial I’d sit and watch hours of TV hoping to catch a glimpse of a game I was excited for there was just something about the elusive nature of gameplay videos in the 90s that made the possibilities of what each game was like run rampant in my mind I mean think about it when was the last time you saw a videogame commercial on television today you can just go check out full HD clips of any game you’re excited for we’re lucky and maybe a bit spoiled but in 1994 we couldn’t guess at the end product would go down in history as a classic forgotten or infamous but no matter what we think of them today these commercials capture a moment in time when any game could be something special [Music] [Applause] [Music] turn signal clear magnetic heading one feet but in turn 18 feet per second while Torah companies cut their teeth on dolls the wet themselves we were busy defending the entire free world [Music] introducing the interactive world’s first interactive game fest – lets you feel the action [Music]

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