Subnation | Scott Bernberg | December 18th, 2020
We used to wonder why our parents insisted on listening to those oldies stations on the radio whenever we went anywhere in the car. Now the reasons are abundantly clear, it was to avoid conversation with their family naturally, but also to wrap themselves in the comfy nostalgia of times past whenever life got too scary. After all…
So that we may keep rockin’ forever, and because 2020 seems scariest just as we reach its end, here’s a selection of gaming ads past, the ones you’ll treasure and others that in retrospect probably should have stayed buried. But who are we to judge?
Pitfall | Atari 2600 | 1982
Yes, it’s a tween Jack Black, but it’s also an ad for perhaps the mightiest of all Atari 2600 cartridges. Pitfall was and is the best. Also: remember when game companies used to make sure they marketed to the olds? Haha. Good times. That would be like PUBG launching a new map with a spot featuring Dame Judy Dench. Wait, that actually sounds pretty cool.
Atari 2600 Commercial | 1978
Hooboy, lots to unpack here. First off, shout out to the uploader who helpfully titled the above “Commercial” as we were pretty sure it was Kabuki theater at first. As for the appearance of disgraced baseball great Pete Rose, we figure he had 25 large riding on Intellivision just to cover his bases. Don’t forget the creative team who sat around a conference room table and thought, “You know who the kids love these days? Don Knotts!” Finally, there’s the greatest soccer player of all time, Pele. The man was so outstanding on the pitch that his willingness to shill anything and everything over the years did not tarnish his legacy. You’d also have to consider him a pioneer amongst footballers and their relationship to gaming, as today entire clubs shoot video content about their player ratings in FIFA:
Good on ya’ lads. #YNWA
Super Nintendo System | Holiday Commercial | 1991
Here’s a very young Paul Rudd, looking a lot like…current Paul Rudd? Honestly, if 2020 Paul Rudd stepped into this commerical and started pretending to play on the SNES at that abandoned drive-in, would you even notice? We like to imagine that Rudd still owns that trench coat, and when he’s alone in his expansive-yet-tastefully furnished Hollywood Hills home, he puts it on and plays F-Zero until the sun comes up.
Coleco Adam Computer | Is That Legal? |1984
If a young Lori Laughlin, asking “is that legal” isn’t the most hilarious foreshadowing ever, then we’re not on the USC Rowing team. Full ride.
Atari 5200 | Nobody’s Hotter Than Atari This Summer | 1983
It’s 2020, and we’re a little miffed that we still don’t have consoles that you plug into the sand as a power source and project games onto the sky. But no matter, because….
Vanguard, Centipede, Galaxian
Now where ya’ been?
You make the days
Roll on by…
Blastin folks out of the sky
Well you know deep down
That it’s gonna be a hummer
Because nobody’s hotter
Than Atari this summer
Than Atari this summer
(Words and music by Andrew Lloyd Weber)
A cultural touchpoint if ever there was one. And also the long sought inspiration for this:
E.T. Holiday Commercial| Atari 2600 | 1982
Fun fact: just over an hour after this commercial wrapped filming, this tire fire of a game single-handedly took down the entire video game industry. Now that’s influence…
Sadly, like those road trips to Kenosha with our classic-rock loving parents, our journey to the past must end here. But we’ll see you next time for more trailers that make you laugh, cry, and if you’re not careful, maybe even make you think.
Stay safe out there, Trailer lovers.