Is it weird that I actually (ackchually) sort of miss commercials? Maybe it’s just that I was watching them through a kid’s eyes, and that’s what made them seem so rich with possibility? Like, I could be playing with that toy and having that much fun!
I’ve gathered up a few old NES game commercials that really put into perspective how much marketing and video games have changed, and also how freakin’ old we’re getting.
Please enjoy these classic NES game commercials.
The Legend of Zelda
Okay, so the maniac in this commercial is actually (ackchually) John Kassir, a voice actor you’re probably more familiar with than you realize. He played the Crypt Keeper in HBO’s Tales from the Crypt, and Buster Bunny for the last few episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures. He’s had smaller parts in The Secret Life of Pets, Diablo III, Halo 5, Sonic the Hedgehog, Eek! The Cat, he played Deadpool in several Marvel video games including Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. The list goes on.
But don’t worry; your initial instinct was correct. This commercial is weird as hell.
I remember this commercial from my childhood. Even then I was like, “you barely see the game!” I counted, actually (ackchually), and they spend about 1.5 seconds showing actual Ninja Gaiden gameplay. But then they spend almost 5 seconds showing Bad News Baseball, which isn’t even the product they’re advertising! Or, well, I guess technically it is.
However neglected Ninja Gaiden is in this commercial though, it didn’t seem to affect the sales or popularity of Ninja Gaiden. It’s still one of the top-tier games for the NES.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
A more truthful commercial would say something like, “Fresh from the sewer and into your nightmares is a harder game than any kid should ever attempt!”
Despite what a few weird gaming elitists will tell you, this game is very hard, especially in the later levels. But I still really enjoyed it as a kid.
TMNT gets a bad reputation from the dam level, which seems to have infuriated many kids of that generation. And sure, when you’re 6 or 7 years old, the dam is definitely tough. The bigger problem is that, once you finish that level, the game only gets harder.
I remember one of the few times I made it all the way through the dam with a turtle and a half remaining. I was so proud of myself until I immediately lost in the next level. It’s not as bad these days and I can get pretty far, but this is definitely not a game I play when I need a self-esteem boost.
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
Another classic NES game that gets more than its share of hate is Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.
I love this game, regardless of what AVGN or anybody else says. Yes, the translation is rough and the clues are crazy cryptic, but with a little imagination and a guide, I think the graphics and ambiance make this a pretty fun title. Not to mention that incredible soundtrack! One of my favorites on the NES.
Batman: The Video Game
Batman was everything in those days. Michael Keaton will always be my Batman. Also Adam West. (Sorry George Clooney.) That movie was every boy’s favorite and rightly so. It was amazing!
The NES Batman game did not follow the movie at all. There are cutscenes between each level, but they seem to be semi-random vignettes from the movie. The graphics are good, but those cutscenes don’t come close to the cinematic greatness of Ninja Gaiden.
Still, Batman is one of the best platformers on the NES, with precise controls imaginative enemies and good graphics. Cool stuff.
Full disclosure: I’m not a wrestling fan. I’ve never been a wrestling fan. I’ve never played this game. But this commercial is just too epic to leave off the list.
And back then, it didn’t matter if you watched wrasslin’ or not. You knew who Hulk Hogan was. He was a hero, brother!
NES Console with ROB
As if there were ever any doubt, you are now officially playing with power!
I recall my cousin having the Power Set with ROB. I never had ROB and it’s looking more and more like I never will. But I mean, what’s the point? He sucks at playing games. All he really does is just sit on a shelf and look… you know… completely awesome.
And I distinctly remember that once my cousin got ROB and the NES, his house totally started to levitate, just like this commercial. I guess he was playing with just too much damned power.
I really can’t let you leave this post without plugging my own YouTube channel. Wink wink.
This post is a few years old, and I’ve since beaten a couple of the games on the list. But it’s still mostly accurate. These games are tough and if you beat all of them, message me and I’ll send you a gold star.
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. These old NES commercials definitely bring back some strong nostalgia for me. And in a way, I kind of miss commercials. I know we still have ads today, but it’s just not the same.
Thanks for reading and check back once in a while. I might have to add a few more NES commercials to this list.