Marry Me, Marie – Police Quest II (Japan) (1989)

In the mid-90s, Sierra On-Line and Pioneer Electric formed a joint venture which was uncreatively called Sierra Venture. In addition to the benefits of the acquisition of a handful of smaller developers, the venture allowed Sierra to distribute many of its signature titles in Japan for the first time. Most of these titles were localized…

Call Me Twice – Paula Abdul 900 Number (1980s)

One could argue that greed is just a fact of the 1-900 number life, that the entire business exists to give as little entertainment as possible for as much money as possible. There are no charitable 900 number services that I’ve found, no services that prioritize the customer’s experience over the prospect of a slow…….

A VJ on MTV – Where’s The Cap’n (1985)

In 1985, Cap’n Crunch disappeared. We – the cereal-eating populace – didn’t witness this departure in a commercial, the main way of keeping track of the lives of cereal mascots. Instead, we saw through those commercials that the departure had already happened. The hunt was on at that point, a million dollars at stake. Well,…

Skidmarks On Your Soul – Pole Position Atari 5200 Commercial (1982)

A typical approach when creating a commercial for a video game is to identify a clear target audience, identify the most appealing message you have to offer that audience, and communicate that message as uniquely as you can in a short amount of time. Actually, that’s a sound tactic for commercials of any product, not…

Get It, Not Eat It – Boglins 1-900 Number (1980s)

The mid ’80s saw a rush on dolls that “come to live with you.” Television ad space was filled with toys literally asking to be a part of your home. If Pound Puppies, Cabbage Patch Kids, or My Buddy were too cute for your taste, you could always adopt a Boglin. These grotesque rubber hand…

Hey Willy! ALF (Sega Master System) (1989)

The quirky, furry, wisecracking ALF had a bit of a cultural moment there in the late 1980s, enjoying a licensing spree spun out of the decently popular NBC sitcom. He got a cartoon, some toys on shelf, and a Pizza Hut hand puppet. He also had a handful of educational video games and toward the…

I’ve Got Pals Over Here – Popeye & Pals (1970s-80s)

I don’t know about you but from my end nothing enhances the enjoyment of a good block of cartoons like a bunch of kids crammed into a bleacher and loaded up with fried chicken and soda. Popeye’s Fried Chicken did this for, like, a really long time with “Popeye and Pals”, a kid’s block on…

The Secret’s Out- Storyphone (1990s)

I know that the 900-number industry isn’t exactly known for their respectability, but this one seems particularly shady. Who doesn’t like to have fun, am I right? And what better way than to spend three dollars for the first minute and thirty-five cents for each additional minute to call a phone number to hear someone…

Popeye Sells Out – Popeye Commercials (1980s)

I get it, nothing in entertainment is sacred, cartoon characters least of all. If there’s a buck to be made by putting a character on a product, that buck will likely be made. That’s just the way it is. I’m not even a big Popeye guy. Are there big Popeye guys? If there are, I’m…

Push Witch – King’s Quest (Sega Master System) (1989)

While it was probably an easy decision to make – take Sierra’s insanely popular King’s Quest game and port it to your console to make $$$$ – it couldn’t have been easy to execute. Microsmiths and Parker Brothers were up to the task, and the end product is surprisingly better than I expected it to…