16 Bits of History: 3 Cool Classic Video Game Commercials

Video games have been a big part of the collective geek consciousness for such a long time now that it almost feels like they’ve always been there. And, for the youngest gamers, that’s actually true. But for those of us who remember the war between Sega and Nintendo, or for those who remember when Atari was a really big deal, these vintage video game commercials will bring back some bittersweet memories.

A dancing Link? Awesome music? Crazy costumed baddies? This Japanese Legend of Zelda commercial is easily the best thing we’ve ever seen. EVER. Famicom was Japan’s Nintendo, and apparently Japan had much, much better commercials than we in the States ever did.

This crazy vintage 1983 ad for the game Burger Time was the first time some of us realized that commercials are often way, way cooler than the products they advertise. The game was pretty fun, but honestly – could anything ever live up to this live-action chef being chased around by giant food?

The early 1990s were marred by one of the biggest marketing flame wars television has ever seen: the one between Sega and Nintendo. Both companies claimed that their machine did things the other one couldn’t, but this one from Sega lays claim to something called “blast processing,” which was supposed to suggest that the Sega processed information faster than the Nintendo. And see how well the whole “blast processing” scheme worked out? The term is now used to refer to any marketing mumbo-jumbo that’s clearly only meant to trick the buyer into thinking some new technology is at play.

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See more in Aged Adverts or under Vintage & Retro. January, 2010.