The checks have been cashed and the Cart Art coffers are filled to the brim with greenbacks from our corporate sponsors, so we are going to have to pony up and look at the strange world of Advergames. What is an Advergame you ask? You know how in modern video games you will have real world products and advertisements in the backgrounds? Well take that and multiply it by a thousand. In these games you will find mascots and items placed for no other reason then to provide another avenue of brain invading advertisement space. So without further ado, Cart Art presents: Advergames.
For those not around in the 1980’s, or maybe those with foggy memories, The Noid was a mascot for Domino’s Pizza. The general principle behind the character of The Noid was that he would void the freshness of your pizza so you would have to “Avoid the Noid.” Yo Noid! was made by Capcom. . . .wait Capcom? My dear sweet creator of such awesome Nintendo games as Ducktales, Megaman and Bionic Commando sold out and made this 8 bit billboard? Bad form Capcom, bad form. This cover, is not too bad so at least the in house Capcom artist did their job well. I mean, don’t you want to hurl yourself from crane held i-beam to crane held i-beam via a pogo stick/pizza crusher while careless twirling your yo-yo? At least if you bought this game you got a 1 dollar off coupon some Domino’s. Thanks. You think if you plucked down the 40 to 50 bucks for this game new, Domino’s could have maybe thrown in some free bread sticks or a buy one get one free coupon. Just 1 stinking dollar off!
Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool
Doesn’t this cover make you want to eat some Cheetos (the small cave man war club ones, not the puffy lame curls)? Or at least throw them up. Ugghh, the black background with orange puff pattern makes me want to jam said Cheetos directly into my eyes holes. Look at the artwork, as if Too Cool to Fool was not an alliteration enough, the sign above Chester tells us to Zip to Hip City. Only one alliteration per cover dang it! By the way, what Zoo staff is forced to wear Nazi like uniforms? Zoo employee is one of the rare jobs that the more pockets and the more khaki the better, but in the Four Corner Zoo the keepers rock the SS look. Oh look, Chester has spots so his motorcycle must have spots! Another masterstroke of creative genius! I hate you Kaneko for making this cover.
M. C Kids
Something about cheap, basic looking outfits with matching white tennis shoes that makes me think less a pair of video game buddies and more of a comet related suicide cult. Maybe it’s just me. Don’t you just love how in order to keep things realistic, the kids on the cover are kinda chunky, must be from all those pre “Super Size Me” kids meals. This cover is kind of bland, so much that I prefer to re imagine it in my head as M.C. Esher’s Kids. How fantastic would that game and cover be?
If you must play one of the games from this list, make it Cool Spot. Spot, a former mascot for 7 UP brand soft drinks, is brought to us by Virgin Game, same company that did M.C Kids. They are the kings of the Advergame! Cool Spot is a very good, early to mid 1990’s 16 bit era platformer that a lot gamers look back fondly at, an example of a quality advergame. The cover, well, it’s not that terrible. Spot does seem way to large for such a tiny surfboard. The obligatory fish in the background of a cover with water on it is starting to become one of my pet peeves. I mean, it’s not unnecessary bat usage but it’s getting there.
Chase the Chuckwagon
Ok, I was running out of retro games (sorry, the Burger King games from a few years ago are just too new and I couldn’t come up with anything for the Kool Aid Man game) so I grabbed this one. I am not too sure if this is the cover to the game or an ad for the offer from the Purina Company to get the game but let’s look at it anyway. Let this be a lesson to all graphic design folks out there, metallic silver with black text just looks terrible when scanned. I am fairly certain that my lesson is pretty lame but dang it, I have to teach! This maybe due to the scan of the image I found on the interwebs, but doesn’t it look like the dog just stepped into a puddle of wee-wee. Oh family friendly terms for a friendly website, you are so much fun to use!
All this selling out must come to an end sometime and that sometime is now. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments for Cart Art, please feel free to leave them in the comments section. Next time, oh do I have a super special treat for you Retroist readers out there. It’s going to be a Crazy Cover Hodgepodge and I promise you will not be disappointed by these gems. Now if you excuse me, I need to go swim a few laps in my Scrooge McDuck-ian size cash pile. After all, Greed is good. Avdergame covers? Hmmm, not so much.