Best Retro Video Game Commercials

Adweek recently compiled a list of the best commercials of the past 10 years in order to commemorate the new decade, and two of the nominated commercials were video game ads. Nominated by critics and readers, Sony's “The Mountain” commercial and Microsoft Game Studio's Halo 3 “Diorama” commercials were two of the game commercials that received recognition for their creativity and design.

Although both commercials were beautifully crafted and deserve the honors that they received, modern video game ads will never have the charm and cheese of those of the '80s and '90s. See for yourselves, kids. Here are the most timeless retro video game ads.

10. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES, 1995)
(Viewer Discretion Advised: This video is disgusting)

If a “most disgusting video” category existed, this one would top it, no doubt. It's hard to imagine that this commercial would even be allowed to air on public television, ads like this one wouldn't get past the censors nowadays. The world was so different back in 1995, wasn't it? For Nintendo especially, this ad completely contrasts with the typical happy-go-lucky image of modern-day Nintendo.


9. Jet Grind Radio (Sega Dreamcast, 2000)

Surprisingly, this isn't a Japanese commercial, despite all of the random Japanese quirks. This ad perfectly illustrates what Jet Grind Radio (or Jet Set Radio in Japan) is all about- music and eccentric style. The actual game does not feature spray painting on ladies' behinds, unfortunately.

8. Panasonic REAL 3DO (1993)

If the Panasonic 3DO had the same cheesy graphics as this commercial, the system would have tanked even faster than it did. It's a shame that it did too, the 3D0 had so much potential.

7. Philips CD-i (1991)

Creepy. The Philips CD-i commercial is what nightmares are made of. It's no wonder why the system only sold 570,00 units during its seven-year lifespan. Yet somehow, the calm salesman somehow makes purchasing a CD-i sound alluring. Besides, where else can we play a copy of Nintendo's game that they wished everyone forgot- Legend of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon?

6. Mario Bros. (Atari 2600, 1983)

Believe it or not, but Mario had been on non-Nintendo consoles at several points in video game history. This commercial was for the Atari 2600 port of the arcade game Mario Bros, released in 1983. The world was much more musical during the '80s, weren't they?


5. The Legend of Zelda (NES, 1987)

This commercial perfectly exemplifies something that is so bad that it becomes good. The ad features a dorky kid searching for Zelda in a darkened office building, while freaking out at enemies that aren't even there. Brilliant!

4. Ice Hockey (Atari 2600, 1981)

Yes, that is the Phil Hartman freaking out in this ad for Ice Hockey for the Atari 2600. Whether he was already famous or not when this commercial aired in 1981 remains unclear, but there's one thing we know for certain–this man is ready for some Ice Hockey.

3. The Legend of Zelda (NES, 1987)

Everyone knows how huge The Legend of Zelda was when it was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 80s. The game was so popular, in fact, that it featured not one, but two cheesy commercials. This one is higher on the list because it reminds us how different the world (and its music) was back then.

2. Super Smash Bros. (N64)

Video game ads don't get much better than this. The commercial for Nintendo's Super Smash Bros illustrates what a typical Nintendo fan's dream would look like. All of our favorite video game characters in a pristine field of sunflowers, beating the crap out of each other to the music of The Turtles. Admit it, we've all had dreams like this.

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, 1992)

At this point, we all know that Nintendo makes the best video game television ads. The Japanese commercial for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past tops every other commercial for all of the random fan service going on. Japanese pop music? Check. A giant puppet of Ganon? Check. A Japanese woman playing Link? Yep. Numerous Zelda characters make an appearance in one form or another during the Thriller-esque dance, as well. This is probably the closest thing fans can get to a Broadway musical of the Zelda series.

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