Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Official Capcom Craze Club Is... Okay, I Guess

The maturation of videogaming as a hobby with its own community was slow in coming.  Game tip and cartridge trading clubs aimed at youngsters were common during the first wave of the early 1980s.  Today, informal websites and organized systems like XBox Live and the Playstation Network provide a more casual forum for interaction, one in which adults can feel comfortable participating.

But there was a transitional period in the late 1980s, when clubs still existed but were driven by company marketing operations rather than grassroots fan interest.  The Nintendo Fun Club was one, with a free newsletter that eventually became the paid-subscription Nintendo Power magazine.  Capcom's Official Craze Club was another, but this promotional brochure provides precious little motivation to join up: 

This was all before Street Fighter II, of course, and Mega Man was still Capcom's headline property.  But the club doesn't actually offer much in the everything from full color posters to Mega Man comic strips range -- there are those two items, plus a newsletter that comes out every six months, a catalog pushing Capcom merchandise, and sweepstakes and contests where the only prize appears to be discounts on games.  The club membership fee is only $3.95, true, but the rewards consist primarily of opportunities to spend more money on Capcom products.

Worse, there seems to be no genuine craziness afoot in the Capcom Craze Club.  The marginally interested, sleepy-looking kid in the ad isn't even wearing his awesome neon hat, and appears to be giving the Capcom Craze Club half-a-thumb's-up at best.  And if there's any doubt that this is strictly a promotional setup, note that his NES collection contains TWO copies each of Mickey Mousecapade and Strider, and a lonely issue of Nintendo Power -- with Mega Man on the cover.

That's not crazy, dude.

That's corporate.

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