Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fun For Color-Blind Kids With No Fashion Sense

1980's pop culture had a particular punk-influenced, anarchic vibe to it, and the era's clashing fonts and colors often found their way into mainstream advertisements, like this one for Renovation's Gain Ground, an action videogame for one or two players.  It's another one of those ads where the design's desperate attempt to be hip and relevant draws focus away from the actual job of, y'know, selling the game:

The game was produced and released by Sega for the Mega Drive in Japan, but for some reason came to the North American Sega Genesis through another publisher, Renovation.  And the new publisher apparently decided that showing off Gain Ground itself was not a good idea.  Note that the scant layout space devoted to selling the actual game contains no box art, no logo; the title is most prominently displayed using a generic font running down the page's right margin.  And there are no screenshots, perhaps because Gain Ground's graphics were typical of that odd 8-to-16-bit crossover period, when a lot of 16-bit games still looked grainy and muddy.

But when you're asking people to lay out $40-$60 for a game cartridge, it's reasonable to assume they'd like a little more information about what it is they're being asked to buy.  There's some text describing a world at war, with enemies to battle and hostages to rescue across multiple time zones.  But the gameplay described is rather at odds with the father-and-son fashion crime imagery that dominates the ad.

Remember, kids:  elite warrior soldiers don't wear shades with pajamas and tennis shoes.


  1. Those are what we used to call "Gas Station Pants" because when you were on the road in California, you would find racks of those pants hanging outside gas stations, waiting for people to buy. My theory was that they were trying to foll new visitors to California into thinking those were the "cool" pants to buy and wear.

    There were not.

  2. Apparently they managed to fool at least one ad agency! I think if they had been widely known as "Gas Station Pants" they might actually have managed to wrap around to the positive end of the coolness spectrum.