This here is an old commercial due to it featuring Deforest Kelly & James Doohan still alive. May those two rest in peace.
With the new Star Trek in theaters, I decided to do one month of Star Trek commercials starting with this one. Back in the day, DirectTV used to do these movie theme commercials where they actually hired the actual actors for whatever movie they were in and are used as a theme for the ads. Here’s how the ads go, it starts off with a clip or reinactment of a movie we all know and then we immediately know it’s a bogus clip when one of the characters starts bragging about DirectTV and what it has to offer. So now for the summary of the commercial.
We start with the Enterprise in space.
And now I present to you the main course of the “Obscure Game Consoles”: the 3DO! While not as bad as the CD-I, it still had some pet peeves of it own making it obscure in its own right. The 3DO was released back in October 4, 1993. Unlike its competitors, the 3DO was manufactured by different companies during its years in production. Like the CD-I it was $700 at average retail stores, so it was not a big seller as no gamer would pay that much when a Genesis & Super Nintendo were more affordable. Despite the high price, the 3DO did show case some really cool games that put the CD-I games to shame in comparison. While the main reason the console didn’t catch on was the lack of third-party game company support. And we all know that the only way to survive in a video game market is by having a lot of friends that will help you out in a rough spot. While the game Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties was deem as one of the worst games on the console when it hardly plays like a game and it’s plot is too weird to watch like a movie.
The 3DO was only in the market for three years with over 300 games to choose from. It had plans for an online service feature which never got made due to the lack of good sales on the console. A successor console was in the works called the M2 but it was scrap way before the 3DO’s production line ended. So after the 3DO bit the dust, it later became an interesting piece of history to game historians and younger gamers who are interested in learning about past game consoles. And I’m sure it makes a great history lecture, teaching us that high price game consoles don’t do well in a game market. So this concludes the five-part obscure game console articles. Tune in next week for a special month of a particular theme commercials.
The Philips CD-I also known as the Philips Compact Disc Interactive. Was an interactive CD player developed by the Philips company. The product’s intension was to provide more than what a CD player or video game console can provide by making it as functional as a personal computer. It was cheaper than a computer as well due to the fact that it lacks the basic features of a computer as all you need is a TV and controller in order to use it. Besides the games it also had educational and multimedia reference titles like encyclopedias & virtual tours. This was before the internet was more commonly used in public. The CD-I was first in development back in 1984, and was first announced to the public back in 1986. It wasn’t until October 1991 when the first CD-I was sold in the market. At $700 as the common retail price which is way to high for any gamer to pay for even though the product wasn’t branded as a game console in the market due to it having non-game products.
The console wasn’t a favorite among the gaming industry as all of the games made for the console were memorable and really bad. The games that CD-I was most infamous for was their own line of Nintendo related games. When Nintendo originally had plans to do a CD add-on for Super Nintendo it was going to be developed by Philips. That product never got made but Philips did get permission to make some of their own Mario & Legend of Zelda games. Which are Hotel Mario, Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, & Zelda’s Adventure. The animation sequences & game play in all four games were declared the absolute worst by gamers all over the world. The games did so bad that Nintendo doesn’t acknowledge their existence whenever they make a list of every Mario & Zelda game. By 1998, Philips announced that they put an end to the production of the CD-I with only 570,000 units sold. And after that the Philips company had no involvement with the video game market for the rest of time.
Nothing good has ever been said about the CD-I, it was more criticized than the Atari Jaguar & the Sega 32x. That’s quite an unworthy accomplishment if the Philips company managed to rub gamers the wrong way by selling a product that no one would by cause the game developers clearly had no idea what people want in a “CD interactive” product. Luckily after the CD-I vanished from the face of the Earth, came much more successful CD interactive products even products that don’t require discs for game play. That world of gaming has changed and it’s proof that the CD-I didn’t accomplish anything while it was still available in the market. Check out my fifth article on the 3DO.
Here is the least competitative console of the 90′s: the Turbo Grafx 16. While Nintendo and Sega were competing in the market during the 90′s, the Turbo Grafx didn’t bother to try to out match either of them so it just sat in the corner with no worries. That’s cause it was the first “Fourth Generation Console” in the market so it was already in stores before Super Nintendo and Genesis were around. The console was released back in October 1987 in Japan known simply as the “PC Engine”. It was released in America two years later, and a year later for Europe. It uses “HuCards” for its games which is different from the common cartridge games used at the time and it also had a CD add-on for its own CD game library. While it did well at first during its early years in the market. The console suffered during the later years due to the lack of third-party game company support. The same problem would occur for the Atari Jaguar. And thus by December 1994 it discontinued production in Japan and the following year in America. Years later various Turbo Grafx 16 games would get re-released on the Nintendo Wii so as off today the console’s own games are available to the public interested in playing one of the first Fourth Generation Consoles. Enjoy the commercial below and check on my opinion on the Phillips CD-I.
Like the Colecovision, the Intellivision was another console trying to beat out Atari back in the 80′s. The console was first developed back in 1978 by Mattel a year after Atari introduced the 2600. It was first tested with the market back in 1979 and then was commercially by 1980. It’s similar to the Colecovision with the similar concept of graphics excluding them both having the word “vision” in their names.
Fortunate for Intellivision it did not receive any threats from Atari as it did not try to rip them off by making any Atari 2600 add-ons to the console(excluding making fun of Atari in the commercials). Instead they presented an add-on that was really unique at the time. That product is called the “Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module” an add-on that allows players to hear “voices” which at the time was a new thing to actually hear a voice on a home console. However the voice for the add-on is a scratchy computer like voice that has been lampooned by James Rolfe in his Intellivision review. While the product was only compatible with only four games: B-17 Bomber, Bomb Squad, Space Spartans, & Tron: Solar Sailer. Voice work in video games would not be a common thing until at least another decade.
By the time the video game crash occurred, Mattel was giving out massive layouts to the Intellivision game designers and after receiving a 300 million dollar loss in the sales of the console, Mattel decided to give the Intellivision the ax. Making it the first console to become victim to the video game crash. With only 125 games made for the console and only 3 million units were sold. Making it’s life span as short as the Colecovision ironically both consoles bit the dust with no or few successors in plans. The Intellivision would go on to be known as the 14th best game console on IGN’s website and a majority of its games were re-released on various modern-day consoles. With that said enjoy the commercial and check out my next review on the Turbografx 16.
Happy 100th Article!
A hundred articles have been made up to this point and it was worth it. Like for my 50th article I present to you a five-part article on five separate ads. Or in this case, five commercials advertising five games consoles. These are dubbed as “the Obscure Game Consoles” cause all five of them either did not last long or had no successors. Starting with Atari’s competitor the Colecovision from 1982. The console was released back in August of 1982 and had 12 titles to choose from at its launch date. It offered near-arcade-quality graphics which at the time to own a console with the same graphics as an arcade cabinet was revolutionary at the time. The idea would eventually lead to better consoles that are capable of featuring actual duplicates of various arcade games. The console did really well at the market as it sold more units than Atari’s 5200 console(which we all know it was due to the bad controllers and wiring problems). It sold over a million units until the day of “Video Game Crash” occurred in 1983. Because of that tragic era, the Colecovision sales decreased and by summer of 1985, the Coleco company withdrew from the game market like other companies were doing at the time. By October 1985, the manufacturing of the Colecovision was officially discontinued with only a 145 games in total for its own library of games.
The Colecovision had some interesting add-ons to it such as a steering wheel, dual joint sticks, a trackball, and an add-on to convert it with an Adam computer. Though the one add-on I like to comment on is the one simply called the “Expansion Module #1″ which is a device that allows players to play Atari 2600 games on a Colecovision. This device immediately lead to Atari trying to sue Coleco for marketing a device that allows people to play Atari games on Colecovision without any written permission. However Atari lost at court cause the parts used in the Expansion Module were off the shelf parts that are not found inside an Atari 2600 so Coleco was allowed to still sell the Expansion Module for their own console and they even had the freedom to create an Atari 2600 clone console called the Coleco Gemini. This lead to Atari kicking themselves in the but for being ruined by a company that has rip them off. This kind of thing would never happen today, or as James Rolfe has said in his AVGN episode of Colecovision: “It be like if Sony decided to make an Expansion Module for the PlayStation that allows you to play Xbox game, there will be law suits stack up left to right!”. How right he is, this situation would go much more chaotic in today’s standards than back in the 80′s.
The Colecovision had a good run despite that it only lasted for two years in the markets and made an enemy with Atari. The console never had a successor excluding a duplicate console made in 1986 by the Bit Corperation called the Dina sometimes called the Telegames Personal Arcade. I think the latter sounds more plausible for a console name cause it’s unusual for a game console to have a girl’s name. IGN.com ranked it as the 25th best console in existence during their 2009 run down on top video game consoles. Anyways that’s all there is to say about the Colecovision, next up is the Intellivision.
Here’s a series of commercials I never knew existed until a few years ago. Apparently these ads inspired the cult film “Space Jam” cause Michael Jordan is shown paired with some of the Looney Tunes characters. So for those wondering where the idea of Space Jam originated from it was from a series of Air Jordan commercials, where back in the day the shoes were the most commonly sold brand of shoes from Nike. Plus today’s generation may not understand this but keep in mind that back in the 90′s Jordan was at the height of his career and had a ton of collaborations with various companies like Nike. Thus came the invention of Air Jordan shoes, if a sports star has a product named after him then he’s considered a legend. And to this day he is a sport legend and has left a big impact on the 90′s culture. For those of you who are my age will feel nostalgic from these ads, but those of you born after the 90′s will be in for a good history lesson on the Looney Tunes involved with Nike.
The first commercial involves various basketball players practicing a few rounds at an auditorium. That auditorium happens to be above Bug’s home who is thrashed around on his bed due to the dribbling of the basket ball and the constant running. Out of annoyance, Bugs says “Can’t a rabbit get any sleep around here!”. So to put an end to the whole disturbance, he opens up a conveniently placed cover that happens to connect the entrance of his rabbit hole to the auditorium. Bugs shouts out “What up with the racket!?” Only to be ganged up by the tall B-Ball players in the same fashion as the Gashouse Gorillas did in “Baseball Bugs”. Bugs now knowing that the players are not meant to be provoked with so he gently says “Eh, What’s Up…” Only to get grabbed by the neck by one of the players and finished his line with a weak “Doc?” They twirl his ears around so that way it’ll make him fly off like a helicopter he says “I was only kidding” only to end up flying all over the auditorium. Screaming in pearl but pauses for a moment in mid-air with a “Gruesome, ain’t it?” like in the Tex Avery directed short films. And then proceeds to his screaming. Bugs lands inside a hoop, the bullying players laugh at him, Bugs however won’t sit idly while being mocked and says “Of course you know, this means war!” Always a classic to quote Groucho Marx from “Duck Soup”. So Bugs puts on a pair of Air Jordans and dubs them as “Hare Jordan” and gets some help from THE Michael Jordan himself. This made the bullying players shiver when Jordan goes “Who’d you expect? Elmer Fudd?” Then we’re cut to quick montages of Jordan beating the bullying players with ease, one point we see Bugs read a book called “Hare Care” while Jordan slam dunks and says “Nice Shot”. Jordan does the same thing when Bugs does a slam dunk. One of the players tries to make a shot only for Bugs to replace his ball with an anvil. He tells the audience “This falls them every time”. Then the player goes falling down to the floor leaving a body shape hole upon the impact of the anvil. Then Jordan & Bugs start throwing pies at the players, Bugs distracts the players by dressing in drag which they literally fall for it. I guess they’re turn on towards rabbits resembling blondes. Bugs hold ups a sign that says “Silly aren’t they?” More montages and Bugs pulls a guy’s short out and places a basket balls on the other end and says “Nice Shorts” as the ball is hurled towards the player in the same camera shot used in the boulder hurling scene from “Bully for Bugs” & “Bunny Hugged”. The players are all down and out leaving Jordan & Bugs the victors of the game. They both leave the auditorium with Bugs telling Jordan “That could be the start of a beautiful friendship” straight from the movie Casablanca. The ad ends with Jordan saying “That’s all folks” only to see Porky shouting “Hey that’s my line!”.
The second commercial has various news headlines about a mass theft of Air Jordan shoes. The announcer says ”Across the universe people are asking: what fiend would steal Air Jordan?” And then we cut to Marvin the Martian’s observation tower on Mars. Marvin is spying the planet Earth with his telescope and after the last pair of Air Jordan shoes gets teleported to his station he says “Oh goodie! More Air Jordans for me!” While his dog K-9 says “Yeah me too!” Wow this is probably the first K-9 has ever spoken since “Haredevil Hare” cause he is usually silent in the other Looney Tune related cartoons. So Marvin & K-9 inspect the huge pile of Air Jordans they stole from Earth and upon gazing the pile Marvin says “Isn’t it lovely?” Why would Marvin need this many pairs of shoes? Maybe Mars was desperate for getting their own Air Jordans so the Martian council orders Marvin to steal all of Earth’s Air Jordans so that way the planet is set for life on shoes. Or maybe he wanted the shoes all for himself so that way he’ll never have to buy another pair of shoes again. Which ever case this ad should be nicknamed “Mars Needs Shoes” cause they need shoes more than moms. K-9 gets hurled into the air from the newly loosen soil on the Mars surface. Marvin inspects the newly dug hole only to get hurled into the air by a gold bag. Bugs comes out of the hole donning a stereotype golfer outfit and shouts “Pebble Beach!” who is also paired with Jordan on the trip. I guess they fell asleep on a satellite prop heading for Mars and then they started to dig their way out when the probe landed on Mars. That’s my guess cause it’s the only explanation I can come up with as to how they could possibly end up at Mars instead of Pebble Beach, CA. But when Bugs notices he’s not at Pebble Beach, he is surprised by the large pile of shoes. Marvin claims that they’re all his, but Jordan & Bugs know he’s responsible for the theft of the shoes in the first place. So they demand the shoes to be return only for Marvin to say no, and the it was yes, no, yes, no argument until Bugs and Jordan said no and made Marvin say yes and then says “Take these or else” while he did so he shows the shoe product close to the camera with K-9 holding a sign that says “Product Shot”. Marvin & K-9 now barefooted know they been duped with they briefly turn into “Suckers”. Marvin gets angry, Jordan & Bugs laugh at him. Marvin calls out his Martian birds from “Hare-Way to the Stars” short film by blowing his trumpet. The birds come hovering on a giant hover platform and all three of the birds are wearing their own Air Jordan shoes and they’re big. That’s what happens if you douse them with too much water. Jordan & Bugs are scared from the site of the giant birds as one of the bird picks them up with an angered look on his face. Bugs poke it in the eye sending him and Jordan falling down to the ground. The announcer states that this could be the end of the heroes and is about to end it on a cliffhanger.
However no cliffhanger occurred as Bugs tells the Announcer about some network agreement about not splattering on the floor from a great height so after a cheap edit. Jordan and Bugs appear n the galactic B-Ball court un harm and now donning their own Air Jordans in basket ball clothes. They compete against the giant birds in a game of B-Ball 3-2 which is uneven but Bugs and Jordan beat those odds by slam dunking the ball to the opponents hoop. Marvin tries to cheat by blasting them with a laser rifle. While bugs and Jordan cheat by erasing one of the giant birds with a giant pencil. However the birds are joined with two additional birds making the odds 4-2, but Bugs and Jordan put on popcorn vending outfits which contain dynamite and trick the birds into eating them. One of the bird is seen covered in smoke after eating the explosive popcorn. Jordan & Bugs ask for a doctor in the house in which we see the silhouette of a person saying I’m a doctor and then they said “Eh What’s up doc” straight from a scene from “Hare-Rising Hare” short. Then the climax has Bugs bowling the birds with a bomb exploding the galactic basketball court leaving Marvin hanging on the edge with the birds and K-9. While Bugs and Jordan flee from the hostile aliens on a flying saucer towing the stolen shoes back to Earth. The announcer says “That’s all folks” only for Porky again to get angry that someone else said the line instead of him and every shows his contract stating only he can do it. Ending the ad with the Nike logo.
The first ad was made back in 1992 while the other was made back in 1993. About three years before Space Jam was made, and had these ads never been made Space Jam would never have been a reality. There are other Nike commercials to talk about but I’ll do another Nike article another time cause there’s plenty of non-shoe commercials I’d love to do. Such as obscure Video Game consoles which will be for my five-part 100th article for next week!
I am a huge fan of the movie, and always dream about actually owning a replica of the board game featured in the movie. Unfortunately no such replica ever got made even during the hype of the movie back in the mid 90′s. All us 90′s kids got was a basic board game inspired by the one from the movie. When I say “basic”, I’m saying that it’s ordinary and doesn’t look as unique as the one from the movie. I remember the commercial for the game would play constantly though out the same year the movie was in theaters and up till it came on video. The commercial was very short and consists of brief clips of the movie itself including the animals that appeared from the game and clips of the board game featured in the movie. I couldn’t help but notice that they spent more time showing footage of the movie board game and only a couple of seconds of the retail board game. It’s like the company that made the board game acknowledges the movie’s board game to be superior towards their own version.
While there’s not much to say about the commercial, let’s just talk about the product itself and discuss how it could have been better. The board game is made of cardboard and is decorated in the same design as the one from the movie. It’s gameplay is intended for ages 6 and up, requires at least two players to play but no more than four. Each player uses a colored pawn to go around on the board with the roll of a triangular dice. It includes a couple additional pieces not included in the movie version such as a rhino figurine, an hourglass, and additional dices. With the product looking 60% different from the movie version it appear to please the board game community according to some reviews on Amazon.com. Though I for one, didn’t dare buy it cause it just look like an imitation of the game from the movie. Which why I’m going to list what could have made this product better.
1. The board game not being made of wood or look wooden. I can understand it would be an environment issue if we cut down so many trees to make so many Jumanji board games. But plastic would have worked fine, at least it would have been a better material than cardboard cause it just makes the product look more cheap and less fancy.
2. The absence of the animal pawns. In the movie it was an elephant, crocodile, rhino, & a monkey I think, used as the pawn pieces for the game. However for this product it’s just multi colored pawns straight from the game “Sorry”. There’s no excuse for not making the pawns look like the ones from the movie. Those pieces are what make the game so memorable in the first place.
3. The center orb not being green or crystal like. Since it’s obvious that the words can’t appear magically inside the center orb, I’ll excuse the product for using cards for a substitute. But could they at least make the orb green like in the movie? Today we can make the green orb illuminate words magically thanks to the wonders of the digital age.
4. The product not looking like it’s a relic. The game is meant to look aged and appear to have been around for centuries. That’s one of the characteristics that make the game recognizable is the aged appearance of the game itself instead this product polishes it and makes it look clean loosing it’s old like look that gave it a mysterious presence.
5. Last but not least the un attention to make the game look like the real deal. If a board game designer couldn’t make a Jumanji game look like a folded crate then all hope is lost. It’s like making a replica of Mouse Trap without making it look like a trap.
The game has become scarce for some time and prices for the game goes as high as $177 on Amazon.com. Totally not worth anyone’s money, and as of today no attempt was ever made in making a true replica of the game from the movie. I’ve seen die-hard fans actually make a replica that is so genuine that it would pass as the actual prop from the movie. It’s been almost 20 years since the movie came out, isn’t time for that replica to get made so that way fans can truly own their own Jumanji board game? Until that day comes enjoy the brief commercial below.
Here’s a classic game that is rarely parodied today. The game I’m talking about is Centipede, the 1981 Atari arcade(Atari 2600 version a year later)that has several remakes and revisions of it’s own. It’s also one of the first few video games to be design by a woman which is Dona Bailey. I can imagine it being tough for her cause she was the only woman employed at Atari at the time way before it became more common to see women working at a video game company. Unfortunately she left the company a year after completing Centipede way before the era when female gamers become more common. Luckily Dona left way before Jack showed up for his infomercial on the Jaguar. So despite the game development having a sexist issue to it, it was a meorible game for it’s time. It even had a cool commercial which I like to call it the Centipede Invasion for obvious reasons.
The first commercial starts with a guy playing the Atari 5200 version of Centipede on his TV, when all the sudden a giant Centipede arm bursts out of the TV screen and grabs the guy. And through out the rest of the commercial the song “Nowhere Girl” by B-Movie is played. Which believe it or not was a brand new song back then. We see a newspaper with the headline: Centipedes Invade which over shadows an article on “Budget Cuts” which may or may not have to do with centipedes invading. We then cut to a stock footage of people fleeing, a clip of a documentary on actual centipedes and explaining that there’s more than 3,000 species of centipedes. Next a shadow of the Centipede creeps by a brick wall and is about to feast on a bum who screams in terror. Clips of various silent films are shown, the Centipede starts to range in anger causing a clip of a stampede of fleeing citizens to be shown. A woman is about to sleep only to discover that a Centipede is sleeping right next to her. She screaming in terror which anyone else would do in the same situation. More clips of other silent films are shown, and another news paper reads “Marines battle Insects!” along with footage of platoons traveling through a swamp and a battleship firing out in sea. The Centipede is seen rampaging through town, and then a clip of a gun turret soldier is shown implying that he’s killing off some centipedes with a clip of actual game footage. Then there’s a clip of bombs dropping from a dive bomber. After that we see a centipede claw gently placing the game in front of an Atari 2600 console. With an announcer saying “Centipede from Atari, it could change your life”. Then we see the gamer from the first scene completely mutated into a centipede man and shouts out “Help! Somebody call an exterminator!” Bad call out cause I’m sure the exterminator will be killing off the gamer instead of the centipede in general.
The second commercial is similar to the first one, except more up beat. The commercial starts with a horror movie like title “Return of the Centipede!” Then we see a junkyard where an African American is seen transporting several mannequin legs with stripe socks. Does he work for a department store or are the legs for some night club. We never learn the reason at all from this commercial. A woman is seen putting on her stocking, and the bum from the last commercial returns as well. The leg transporter is then visited by the centipede when it gently taps him on the shoulder. Also note how he’s wearing an 80′s headphone that has an antennal to receive radio waves. There’s also other centipedes visiting the woman and bum while the leg transporter guy is drag into the sewers by the centipede. Then we see a neon sign with an announcer saying “Welcome to the Club Centipede!” with a centipede playing a saxophone. We then cut to stock footage of women dashing through a field, city civilians fleeing, and the angry mob from the 1925 Phantom of the Opera invading the Phantom’s catacombs was even shown. Then we cut to a shout of a showgirl and footage of the game itself, more shots of the sax playing centipede and footage of retro showgirls. Footage of a guy doing a front flip and back flip is shown. then the announcer says in the end “Atari presents Centipede!” It’s such an up beat commercial that we complete forget that giant centipedes are devouring innocent civilians.
These commercials are very well written and I like how they combined B-Movie genre and stock footage that was either cheap to purchase or is from public domain. Which is smart cause you don’t have to pay money to any one if you’re borrowing footage from a public domain film. A lot of other commercials use this same type of technique which I would love to talk about in later commercials such as one where Gatorade uses stock footage and other borrowed footage to show impossible stunts done by humans. For the next article it will be about the Jumanji board game commercial and I’ll discuss why it’s not as good as the one from the movie.