The Worst Nintendo TV Commercials Ever
The following videos fall into two main categories: the first set, which are so toe-curlingly dated that they're tough to enjoy even with our irony dials turned up to eleven; and the second batch, which are simply disappointing products of their time. Nintendo signed off on them back then, but you'd hope that stern words would be had with anyone proposing them in ad meetings these days.
So, let's dredge the lake for the worst Nintendo TV commercials...
Help Donkey Kong Jr. Save Papa
Mario as a banana-brandishing hoodlum? Donkey Kong Jr. calling DK 'papa' and looking like Helena Bonham Carter from Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes reboot? Donkey Kong himself playing Donkey Kong Jr. in his cage?
It's all here, and it's all bad.
"We are Nintendo. You cannot beat us."
This Australian ad features a bunch of horrific early CG, botched versions of characters from NES games telling you that it's impossible to beat them while doing their very best impression of the Borg from Star Trek.
It turned out that resistance was futile for game-addicted Nintendo fans, but we can only imagine the psychological damage inflicted on the youth of Australia by this ad.
"It's The Legend of Zelda and it's really rad..."
Some people will say this was the greatest Nintendo ad ever. That's okay — no problem! They're just wrong.
We're really not sure what they were going for here. Let's, for a moment, assume that this hip, poppin', fresh rap actually had a residue of cool in the early '90s (Eminem was a long way off, and we're not sure Vanilla Ice was ever hip), any cool evaporates immediately thanks not only to the kids themselves, but also the announcement that "Your parents help you hook it up!" Gee, mom can get involved too?! AWESOME!!!
"Clean is better than dirty"
You watch this waiting for the punchline... but there isn't one. It's just what it is; a twee little ditty about cleaning up. It's got some gameplay footage, but beyond that we don't know what they were thinking.
Wii U "Family Time"
To be fair, the ad people didn't have as much to work with around the Wii U era, but the approach they adopted of kids 'pitching' the console to their parents was particularly insipid. If too-cool-for-school Steve Harris from Stranger Things can't save your console (skip to 2:36 in the video above), you know you're in trouble.
We'd like to write something more about this terrible selection of Wii U commercials, but they've caused our eyebrows to clamp to our chin.
"When is 'too much' too much?"
This rancid Yoshi's Island ad is a homage/rip-off of the Mr Creosote scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. A 'little bonus level' serves as the 'waffer-thin' mint in this version causing the gluttonous gamer to explode.
This was part of the 'Play It Loud' era, and this brand of gross-out humour was in vogue at the time, but they rarely jived with the wholesome games being promoted. Still, maybe it's better to be bad than bland.
Rodent Loves Game Boy Micro
If nothing else, this one is memorable, but the number of viewers who'll want to see a rodent humping a Game Boy Micro is low. No zero, but low.
We've seen the good, we've laughed at the bad, and now it's time to endure the questionable.
The following commercials simply wouldn't be made these days on the grounds that they're riddled with stereotypes. Two decades into the twenty-first century, they're now embarrassing artefacts. Perhaps the world has got a little better over the past few decades?
"Will thou get the girl, or play like one?"
Playing on the schoolboy attitudes of the time, this one raised some eyebrows at the time, and the line didn't feature in some trailers and print ads internationally. Still, for a company that's made strides over the decades to make gaming as inclusive as possible, this was an odd misstep.
The ads for the 3DS remake were much more wholesome.
Player's Choice Blackmail
This ad for the Player's Choice line of first-party N64 games features a young kid potentially blackmailing his father (and grandfather) to keep their cross-dressing antics under wraps in exchange for cash to spend on sweet N64 titles. It probably felt like childish and harmless fun at the time, but it's not something any respectable company would sign off on today.
Another one diving headfirst into a swamp of stereotypes. Even if you're okay with the shrunken heads in this Dr. Mario ad, the song will crawl into your ear and turn your brain to mush. We recommend NOT watching it. Don't click that play button above.
and finally... WTF??
Let's finish with something less unsavoury, shall we?
This long commercial for Grill-Off With Ultra Hand!, a WiiWare Club Nintendo exclusive, was really just an ad for Club Nintendo. However, it's one of the weirdest things Nintendo has ever put its name to. Words can't do proper justice to its two minutes fifty-two seconds of pure WTF — just fetch yourself a beverage, sit back and 'enjoy' it.
Have we missed any of your personal favourites? Let us know below and we might even add them to the selection above.