Imagic really capitalized on this vibe -- many of their magazine ads featured fictional players blown away, beaten down and driven cartoonishly insane by the difficulty of their games:
Even as late as the 1984 Christmas season, after Imagic had been absorbed into Activision during a wave of industry consolidation, computer game publisher Datamost borrowed their marketing approach. Although Datamost's fictional gamer is considerably older, and looks like he may actually be mentally unstable:
Nowadays, I play games to relax. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.