Playing For Real – Xband Gaming Modem (1994)

I was a PC gamer during the majority of the 16-bit-era, and missed out on some of the more monumental Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis titles until later in life when they were considered retro classics.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, while I was BBS’g and Prodigy’g and The Sierra Networking the 16-bit console…

You Want A Banana? – Donkey Kong Country Exposed (1994)

If you were a Nintendo Power subscriber in 1994 you might have come home from school to find a VHS sitting in your mailbox.  Donkey Kong Country Exposed was a 15-ish minute promotional video about the making of the upcoming (revolutionary) Donkey Kong Country title for the Super Nintendo, and it’s everything that was wrong…

It Keeps My Kids At Home – SEGA Game Channel Infomercial (1990s)

The fact that streaming video game services are only just now entering the mainstream shows how innovative The SEGA Channel was in the early 1990s.  Harnessing the power of and the enthusiasm for cable TV, SEGA worked with local providers to roll out the SEGA Channel in 1994.  This subscription service ($13/mo) offered a rotating…

Let’s Get Warty – Battletoads (1990s)

Despite being an awesome yet punishingly difficult NES game (and later SNES, Genesis, and more), Battletoads always had the stink of a late-to-the-party reaction to the runaway success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Teenagers turn into green animals who fight to save the day from weird-looking enemies.  There were a few points of differentiation that would probably…

The Angry Red Planet – Total Recall (NES) (1991)

I’m  always only ever an inch away from starting a Total Recall blog.  For better or worse, it’s probably my favorite movie of all time.  There’s a surprising amount of stuff to unpack with Total Recall too – the would-be Cronenberg treatment, the Piers Anthony novelization that took severe liberties with the story, the spin-off…

For Digestion’s Sake – Thanksgiving Ads (1940s-1990s)

Holiday traditions in the United States grow and change over the years, but there’s one constant: everyone wants a piece of your holiday spending money.  These Thanksgiving ads ranging from 1942 to 1991 showcase the different angles these companies took to try and get at your wallet. In doing so they speak to the design…

Don’t Drink It – MagiCans (1990)

Money in Coke cans?! Putrid smelling liquid in Coke cans?! People drinking putrid smelling liquid they found in Coke cans and getting sick? This 1990 Coca-Cola MagiCan promotion  really had it all. Coke kicked off the Summer of 1990 with an ambitious promotion: stash money or coupons redeemable for trips and other prizes into Coke…

Mario Teaches Typing/Mario Teaches Typing 2 (1991-1996)

THIS is how you license Mario out. Those who lived through the ’90s may remember the glut of typing tutorial programs that filled software store shelves.  Mavis Beacon ruled the roost with her legion of titles for all skill levels, but there was plenty of room for any company who had a half-cute character in…

Mario’s FUNdamentals/Mario’s Game Gallery (1995)

Nintendo got a little loose with the Mario license in the ’90s, allowing other companies the chance to develop titles for non-Nintendo systems like the CD-i and PC.  Most/all of these titles, like “Hotel Mario” and “Mario is Missing”, are completely off brand and best relegated to the ‘oops’ dustbin of Mario’s history.  “Mario’s FUNdamentals”…

Absolutely Rose Street – 1994 SEGA 32X Infomercial

Just to get the obvious out there: I love old video game ads. I love infomercials. I love ’90s video techniques and effects.  I love terrible things that are trying to not be terrible.  All that said, this 30-minute infomercial for SEGA’s 32X add-on to their Genesis system is a confusing mess of objectives and…