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Feature: Nintendo Hardware Launch Commercials Throughout History

Posted by Damien McFerran

A trip down memory lane

With the first UK showing of the Wii U TV commercial causing quite a stir online, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at Nintendo's history of launch commercials, right back to the days of the 8-bit NES — possibly an era when many of the readers of this site weren't even born.

Sit back and soak up the ambiance as we look at how the art of the launch commercial has changed over the decades — and be sure to check out the fashions of each period, too.

NES - When an advert begins with two guys looking meaningfully at one another and wiping perspiration from their brows, you know some serious business is about to go down.

Game Boy - One of the more inventive adverts we've seen, this rather eclectic Game Boy commercial features a rotund Elvis and a lady with loads of cartridges stuffed down her bikini bottoms.

SNES - Remember kids, playing video games turns you into a robot.

Game Boy Color - This is the ad where Nintendo basically tells you that the black and white Game Boy you've been playing all those years is little more use than a doorstop.

Virtual Boy - It came from the third dimension!

N64 - This is actually more of a promotional medley than a commercial, but we'll let it slide as it features the words UNIQUE JOYSTICK in big, friendly letters.

Game Boy Advance - Nothing helps promote a product more than a spot of hospital humour.

GameCube - Possibly the most non-Nintendo advert in the history of Nintendo, we'll let you form your own opinions on this bizarre offering.

DS - Not much happens in this commercial, but the DS sold well, so it obviously worked, right?

Wii - What could this be? This is Wii, apparently.

3DS - It's official, the 3DS is the only console that will allow you to get beaten on Street Fighter by attractive women whilst travelling on public transport! Given this fact, it's hard to understand why the system wasn't a bigger success at launch.

So there you have it. Did we miss any of your favourite commercials out of our list? Let us know in the comments section.

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User Comments (42)

Squashie

#1

Squashie said:

Wow! I remember some of these like yesterday! You always get that proud moment when a Nintendo advert comes on TV and everyone starts asking you about it!

Nintenjoe64

#2

Nintenjoe64 said:

I'm surprised nintendo went all out and got an X factor ad slot. I remember back in the day when they almost refused to advertise in PAL markets! The only one I remember before the wii involved lots of people shouting 'Mario, Mario, Mario' to SMB3

I wish they would hurry time up til the end of Nov! This wait is getting silly. I just hope the US reviews of wii U games are pretty unanimous so I know what to buy with nintendoland.

THENAMESNORM

#3

THENAMESNORM said:

The N64 is my favourite one, however I was in my teens at that point so I'll always hold the N64 in high regard!! The advert does make me thing on all the goodies that aren't available on the virtual console yet though. I'm looking at you Pilotwings64!!

Sjoerd

#4

Sjoerd said:

Doesn't that girl in the Gameboy add tht you can just buy a case to put your games in. Ah well, you hae t be creative when you're only wearing a bikini

Pikachupwnage

#5

Pikachupwnage said:

Old commercials are wierd........Nowadays we just have sexy ladies(or oftentimes unsexy ladies trying to be sexy) Stupid jingles and lots of people taking either way to loud or way to fast.

Nintenjoe64

#6

Nintenjoe64 said:

@Mr_Trill3506 Do you mean the 'Mario! Mario! Mario!' one?

I remember thinking it absolutely sucked when I was a child but the fact I still remember it means it must've worked.

LittleIrves

#9

LittleIrves said:

Wow. I'm beginning to realize how differently companies market their products for European and American audiences. Although I do like the really minimalist approach for both Wii and DS. Especially compared to the new Wii U ad just released, which is almost the exact opposite approach. [HERE'S EVERYTHING IT CAN DO ALL AT ONCE!]
I miss the two Japanese dudes showing up at your door who say, "Wii would like to play with you."

Kirk

#11

Kirk said:

Pretty much every one of those older ads piss all over the Wii U ad. The Wii U ad is just so uninspired and meh.

Moshugan

#13

Moshugan said:

Oh, how I love you Nintendo!
I'm sure we will have many great moments together with the Wii U, my dear.
Don't let me down...

Omega

#15

Omega said:

I just clicked to see the blonde girl. And then all these YouTube videos made my browser extremely slow and sluggish...

gefflt

#16

gefflt said:

The one thing they all share? They're all SO random! :P
The DS and the Wii ones are, by far (at least in my opinion), the worst ones.

And how come I've never seen any of those on TV before?

Boo_Buster

#17

Boo_Buster said:

I just love the "Now You're Playing With Power" tagline :D Are they running ads in the US as well? I've been around since the beginning of Nintendo, through the good and... well, horrid ads haha

SPEtheridge

#18

SPEtheridge said:

I love the Nintendo 64 one, I remember having that promo on a tape, my bro got loads of 64 promo stuff when he did work experience at THE Games who handled Nintendo distribution, used to watch it over and over until i got my 64.

Zombie_Barioth

#19

Zombie_Barioth said:

Modern Commercials are boring, they either try too hard to be funny to the point of being stupid or are just flat out boring. I miss the retro commercials, I'd rather have retro cheesy than try hard funny any day.

I still remember the one where the bus driver takes a bus full of pokemon to the junk yard and makes it into a gameboy color using the car compactor.

RadioShadow

#24

RadioShadow said:

The American "Advance Wars: Dual Strike" commercial is kind of funny.

I still find this "Sonic Adenture 2 Battle" commerical funny. Blond vs. brown hedgie, GO!

Emaan

#26

Emaan said:

These are great. The SNES one is epic. I love how creative the Game Boy one is. The Gameube commercial is really well done as well, it had a cool concept. One question, why would that lame Wii ad be featured in this and not have one of the famous "Wii would like to play" commercials? Those are brilliant.

baba_944

#29

baba_944 said:

Mario & Luigi's Super Star SAGA, Mario & Luigi's Partners in Time, That DS commercial that's featured (come on, who did not try touching it), Super Mario Sunshine Commercial (I love it no lie), and Luigi's Mansion commercial.

baba_944

#30

baba_944 said:

Sorry for double posting and New Super Mario Bros. Both the first commercial and the DSi XL commercial.

SCAR392

#31

SCAR392 said:

I saw some of the newer ones(GBA and beyond). The Super Mario Sunshine one was great. I don't care what anyone else though. I loved that game, and the crazy commercial.

The GCN commercials show how hardcore they were, and everyone still hated them over the PS2 and slightly more over the XBox I guess. Everyone I kenw had PS2, PS2 and GCN, or just GCN. I hardly knew anyone that had an XBox at that time. I honestly think GCN was the best of that gen., because it had MOST of the multi platfowm games, it was more powerful than PS2, wasn't far enough behind XBox to make much if any difference, and it had TONS of Nintendo exclusives with what I thought were the best graphics of that gen. of consoles. Sure PS2 could play DVDs, but DVD players caught on a couple years later. Plus, w/ games like Little Big Planet Kart Racing, and PS All-Stars Battle, it makes me think that Nintendo already covered alot of ground, that PS and XBox are still trying to get through. Plus, GCN was going to support online, and possibly 3D(I think), but saw that it would cost alot more for them, and the consumer to support their console so loyaly with money. Who would have paid $300 for a GCN, $100 for internet, and Wii remote add on for another $100 halfway through it's life cycle? There's no way that Nintendo would have ever done that, and that's exactly what PS and Xbox did. Kinect and Move are failures, with only 3 fun games at most, and Move only having only a few completely dedicated games, that were everything that they critiseized Nintendo for. I don't get it... GCN, was essentially PS3 last gen, with little to no support at first, without online, and XBox is just Xbox. All Microsoft did is XBox Live, and technically Halo and Gears of War aren't even Microsoft's ideas. They just supported them, and added online. At least Sony created all their exclusives from the start having 2nd parties and 1st party doing all the work. I honeslty think, that PS is a perfect mix between Nintendo and Microsoft consoles. Xbox is a PC pretty much. Nintendo is a game company, and that's it. No TV making, no PC developement, ONLY games. You don't know how disappointed I was, figuring out that other OS on PS was cut out, and XBox charging for online. It's better that it has the features, but saying it's better than what could have been $420 in your pocket vs. XBox live, and you could have bought another console without online for a while. I have all the consoles and enjoy all of them, but Microsoft and Sony piss me off sometimes with all these features, that end up not being solid.

Sorry for the long post. Please tell me your opinion, instead of saying I'm a blind fanboy.I love games no matter who made them, as much as he next guy

DarkNinja9

#32

DarkNinja9 said:

yeah to me you guys missed a ton of ads and come on what happen to the US ads too? -.- they had way more weird ads for the wii then the one you guys posted here

but anyway i do remember the game boy color one and a remake of it with pokemon gold and silver version o.O and that gameboy advance too other then that i dont remember these prob cuz there uk -.- but the GC one is weird like wth

itsanandito

#33

itsanandito said:

I remember the GameCube commercial and the Wii would like to play ones and that's about it..

KingMike

#34

KingMike said:

Of course the SNES guy turned into a robot. Playing Contra 3 as a human wasn't allowed in PAL land. :P

WaveWarlock

#35

WaveWarlock said:

I definitly liked the NA retro commercials a lot more. Still, this is another ittby bitty example of how boring, lifeless, extremely minimal, colorless and dull commercials have gotten. The 80's(especially) and early early 90's boasted the most imaginitive, colorful, out of this world, fun and craziest commercials period. They were extremely well crafted and creative! best commercials period.

Trikeboy

#36

Trikeboy said:

The only one I remember from this is the SNES ad. I loved it back then and still do. The SNES is the best console of all time for a reason.

Zombie_Barioth

#37

Zombie_Barioth said:

I think @Wavewitch summed it up nicely. Companies spend millions on advertising and yet they produce some of the most boring, forgettable adds you'll ever see. The 80s and 90s ones were actually entertaining and worth watching compared to modern ones, and the fact many of us remember them shows how well they worked.

GreenDream

#40

GreenDream said:

@SCAR392 The Kinect might be a conceptual and creative failure, but it wasn't a fiscal failure. Over 10 million of them have been managed to be snuck into 360 player's hands. It also has a brimming mod community. So it lost a lot of potential with the loss of Milo by Lionhead Studios, but it has interesting mod potential.

Rune_Meister88

#42

Rune_Meister88 said:

i think the older nintendo ads were much cooler and inventive....before marketing became greed-driven :p

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