These old school video game commercials are so completely bonkers that, 25 years later, they're still making us say, "WTF?"
2. Star Wars: The Arcade Game (Atari)
Star Wars: The Arcade Game was actually a really great vector graphics game, and Atari's 1983 port of it managed to improve upon the original in one key field: the ability to magically grow afros upon anyone playing it.
3. The Legend of Zelda (NES)
There are so many great things you could highlight from the original Legend of Zelda game: The epic story, the iconic music, the sprawling environments... or, you could just let a deranged nut job scream out random words while wearing a turtleneck. Yeah, let's go with that option, instead.
4. Pole Position (Atari)
I love the Pole Position commercial. I love it because, for absolutely no reason, a screaming narrator decides to terrorize a harmless family who are just going about their business. They never hurt anybody, and they certainly never asked to play a video game. They're just off on a Sunday drive.
What happens next is 90 seconds of pure WTF joy.
5. Super Mario Bros. & Duck Hunt (NES)
This spot pulled straight out of my nightmares was how Nintendo chose to advertise the NES in Australia. Side note- The NES never sold well in Australia. Gee, I wonder why.
6. Star Fox 64 (N64)
Star Fox 64 was a great game. Like, a really, really great game. But for some reason, in one of the most confusing advertising decisions ever, the commercial for Star Fox literally equates playing the game to torture. And yet, I still bought it. What does that say about me?
7. Alien Vs. Predator (Jaguar)
This one had a simple message: If you play this game, an alien will stalk and kill your mother. It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see how it works out for them.
8. Solar Fox (Atari)
Yes, that's 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski playing the hot 80's babe in this Solar Fox ad. She cheers on the Solar Fox player... who for some reason is annoyed by her? You know, this commercial is the weirdest thing. It's definitely implying something sexual, but for the life of me I truly can't figure out what.
9. Nintendo 64 Games
"Hey kids! Want more N64 games? Well, just walk in on your cross-dressing father and then blackmail him into buying you stuff!"
...How did this ever make it on TV?
10. Centipede (Atari)
This commercial starts out pretty interesting and creepy, but then WHAM! A dude in a foam centipede costume starts wailing on the sax, and all chances to be cool just fly out the window.
11. Game Genie (NES)
If you were a kid in the early 90's, Game Genie was basically the most amazing invention ever, allowing you to cheat in any Nintendo game. To advertise this mind-blowing new product, Galoob made the natural choice and decided to use a poor man's Bill & Ted as their spokespeople. If anyone ever asks you what the year 1990 looked like, show them this video.
12. Ice Hockey (Atari)
Man, I miss Phil Hartman. Only he could manage to make this lame Atari hockey game seem not only passable, but action-packed. Think about it: If you're at home watching TV and all of a sudden Phil Hartman begins stripping and growling at you, you know you're in for some quality entertainment.
13. Dr. Mario (Game Boy)
1990's Dr. Mario was a fine enough game... Kind of Testris-like in its gameplay, but still fun. While Dr. Mario itself has aged well, its commercial is a whole other story.
Here, we see a witch doctor character enthusiastically dancing and bobbing all over the screen. It's a portrayal that can best be described as (and we're being charitable, here) "incredibly, horribly offensive." Enjoy!
14. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is probably one of the greatest video games of all time. And, in 1991, the way to convey that to the world was with a bafflingly-elaborate dance sequence straight out of In Living Color. Don't get me wrong, this video's not "bad." It's just completely insane.
15. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)
Watch at your own peril, because this may be the grossest video game commercial of all time. Nintendo, in all their wisdom, decided that the best way to sell their sequel to Super Mario World was by showing an obese man shoving food down his face until he literally explodes, covering bystanders in partially-digested filth and bile. It was an image that was forever burned into my 10-year-old head, and now through the wonders of YouTube, it can be burned into your children's heads as well!
16. Freeway (Atari)
Activision's Freeway was a clear rip-off of Frogger. But, as this video makes clear, it did manage to separate itself by appealing to a very specific audience: weird, neurotic shut-ins with a fetish for chickens.
...I'm not joking.
17. Earthworm Jim (Sega Genesis)
What's this? A game that slowly turns a sweet old lady into a worm-eating demon from Hell? Sold! I'll take ten.
18. CyberMorph (Jaguar)
This commercial features a kid playing CyberMorph, then vomiting all over the screen. To be honest, those graphics make me want to puke, too.
19. Donkey Kong 64
I thought the Donkey Kong gang were supposed to be the heroes? Yet, in this minute-long spot from 1999, we find that they've basically destroyed an entire city and need to be taken out by the military.
Bonus fact: In this video's first seconds, eagle-eyed viewers may spot a cameo by the clock tower from Back to the Future. Man, Hill Valley has really fallen on tough times.
20. ToeJam & Earl (Sega Genesis)
This commercial wouldn't be so bad, were it not for the fact that it appears to have been animated by a high school kid with a trial version of Windows Movie Maker. How are ToeJam and Earl ever supposed to get back to Funkotron with those lame clip art graphics?
21. Joust (Atari)
To close us out, it's Atari's Joust. This two-minute-long epic commercial is notable for its absolute, steadfast refusal to end. At the 90-second mark, there seems to be perfect spot to wrap it up, but then it continues for another half minute of absolute insanity. I don't want to spoil it for you, this just needs to be seen to be believed.