New Frontiers – Sierra News Magazine (1990)

Sierra On-Line, the gaming company responsible for such legends as King’s Quest and Space Quest, the gaming company that I’m always looking for a reason to talk about, had a period of about two decades where it seemed they couldn’t make a wrong move. Everything they did was bigger, brighter, and smarter than what they’d…

Welcome to Our Team – Terminator 2 VHS Promo Video (1991)

Terminator 2 was the second ‘real’ VHS cassette that I owned, Total Recall being the first. I had VHS movies before that, but they were mostly grainy SLP recordings of movies played on the HBO Free Preview Weekends. These, though, were cellophane-wrapped sleeves with official artwork, like what you picked up to look at in…

Deadtime Stories – Freddy Krueger’s 900 Number (1980s)

There would be room in the Nightmare on Elm Street-verse for a 900 number that would end up trying to kill you. That’s a very Nightmare on Elm Street way to die, and very ’80s. We got the tongue phone in the original and again in New Nightmare, but that’s more of a Freddy prank…

The Hogarth Guarantee – Lucid Dream Machine (1980s)

Lucid Dreaming is an attractive idea; the thought of being able to achieve consciousness in your dreams and unlock the ability to control what happens is pretty exciting. Normally it takes a lot of discipline and conditioning to even try to pull it off, so of course it was only a matter of time before…

Exorbitant Amounts – Masterpiece Board Game Commercial (1970)

This 1970 effort to unseat Monopoly as the grown-up-games champion goes real grown-up in its marketing. The concept of Masterpiece seems interesting enough: you and your friends are art collectors at an auction. You get paintings that are assigned values ranging from fraud to $1 million, and your job is to buy/sell/auction your collection to…

Top Secret – Golgo 13 Commercial (NES) (1988)

As a kid I had no idea what Golgo 13 was, but the second issue of Nintendo Power sold me on it. I put it on my Christmas list, and Santa delivered. It was an early lesson in being careful what you wished for. Later on I learned that in Japan Duke Togo, Secret Agent…

Don’t Be Afraid – The Bugaloos (1970)

A bunch of kids who are actually bugs who know how to play instruments and write situational Beatles-esque music and live in a bizarre forest and have an even-more-bizarre foil? That’s Sid and Marty Krofft’s answer to The Monkees, a tab of orange sunshine in a kid’s TV landscape already drenched in psychadelia. The Bugaloos…

Listen To This – Fresh Prince 900-number (1990s)

It’s not exactly surprising, but it’s still pretty tacky. Few celebrities could resist the easy one-and-done money of the 900-number concept in the ’90s, that terrible consumer experience that stretched content delivery as thin as possible in order to grab a few more dollars per minute through the low-fidelity medium. But Will Smith? OUR Will…

Putt, Putt – Pizza Hut’s First Commercial (1965)

Pizza Hut’s first commercial effort was light on pizza and heavy on antics. A full minute long, this commercial takes place entirely in fast-motion and features a tall man riding an admittedly sweet Mustang Jr. through town to pick up his pizza order. In doing so he gently irritates the townspeople that he encounters which…

A Night’s Work – Shadowrun Promo (1990)

Here’s one of the few official promos, perhaps the only official promo produced for Shadowrun, the cyberpunk fantasy tabletop RPG. A four-minute short film produced for GenCon 1990, “A Night’s Work” is over-and-under-produced at the same time, and really something special. Set aside the side-hopping stealth, the terribly slow pacing, the high school drama club…