The 2000s had some of the weirdest gaming ads of all time. Here’s a collection of some highlights, including ads for Super Smash Bros.
Before the age of the internet brought gaming site reviews, influencer promotions, and streamer advertisements, gaming companies had to be a little more creative about how they marketed their newest games. The 2000s were the wild west for gaming ads, especially as companies tried to market to a new type of rebellious teenager. Below are some of the weirdest gaming ads of the new millennium, in both print and video.
Weirdest gaming ads - Super Smash Bros. (1999)
One of the most famous Nintendo gaming ads predates the 2000s slightly since it came out in 1999, but still deserves a place in this list. You’ve probably seen this ad in one gif form or another, especially with Yoshi slamming his hammer down on the camera. The ad shows a group of happy-go-lucky Nintendo icons walking in a field together. Suddenly, Mario kicks Yoshi and an all out brawl starts between the characters.
Shout outs for the well-placed use of song by the 60s band The Turtles.
Viva Piñata magical talking piñata - 2007
Released sometime in 2007, this ad for the game Viva Pinata by Rare features a talking pinata promising a group of children at a birthday party a ridiculously large range of wishes if they release him and don’t break him open. The list ranges from pants that fit, an uncomfortable silence, a hairless cat, an amicable divorce, a keyboard guitar, to crush your enemies and see them driven before you and to hear the lamentations of their women, a dill pickle, and a gun with a single bullet.
What truly makes this surreal ad hilarious is the way the smooth talking pinata flees while a chorus cheerfully yells “Viva Pinata!”
Majora's Mask "The World is Waiting on You" - 1999/2000
It makes sense that a game like Majora’s Mask would inspire some of the most unsettling advertisements in gaming. This specific ad seems similar to the beginning of the film Independence Day, when people from all over the world look up to see something eerie threatening the earth.
The creepy apocalyptic tone keeps up for the entire commercial, not even releasing the tension when the voiceover announces that this game is rated E for everyone, making this truly one of the most unsettling gaming ads of the 2000s.
Xbox "God Made People" ad - 2001
This extremely short ad was first released in 2001 and only runs for about 15 seconds. The ad is just a glowing green Xbox orb with a voiceover saying, “God made people because that dinosaur game sucked,” before the Xbox symbol appears on the green orb. Does it mean that God made the Xbox because he got bored with people? Is God a gamer? Or is Xbox God now? Are we all God?
Who knows, just go play some Halo: Combat Evolved and don't think about it.
David Lynch's insane PlayStation ad - 2000
There’s not much to say about this ad, especially if you’ve seen anything else by director David Lynch. His surreal style is in full force for this video, which is apparently advertising for the PlayStation, though you’d be hard pressed to explain how. It features a man walking through endless hallways, a ton of fog machines, and a talking duck welcoming the man to the third place.
Crying baby doll ad for the PlayStation 3 - 2006
PlayStation really cornered the market in the 2000s for the strangest gaming ads around. This 30 second commercial shows a baby doll alone with a PlayStation in a blank white room. The baby doll gasps, laughs with a grown up voice, and cries unblinkingly while staring at the new PlayStation. This is one you really just need to see for yourself.
weirdest gaming ads: 2000s Print
PlayStation 2 symbol campaign
Some of the strangest gaming ads came in the from of print, and the star of the show was certainly the campaign for the PlayStation 2.
These PlayStation 2 ads all featured the iconic button symbols from the PlayStation controller. Each appears in strange, mostly sexual scenes.
3DFX's brutally honest print ad
3dfx, the computer hardware company, wasn't going to leave all the sexual jokes for PlayStation to make. Though, instead of leaving things to innuendo, they favored savagely mocking console gamers for their lack of experience. The text on the screen says, "There are two kinds of gamers in this world. The ones who still play on consoles. And the ones who've actually seen breasts."
The smaller text on the bottom further highlights their point by saying, "Hey, did you guys hear the one about the console gamer and the girl? Neither did we." Just brutal.
Nintendo Kirby guides
Nintendo, for some reason, felt the need to revamp Kirby's image in their gaming ads in the 2000s. These ads include guides on how to help Kirby out if he's got an enemy stuck in his throat and a mugshot of Kirby declaring him a bad boy.
Weirdest gaming ads: Rayman and his huge... um
Of course, Rayman couldn't be left out when discussing weird ads from the 2000s. This specific print ad also includes sexual innuendos, because of course it does, as men in a bathroom marvel at Rayman's "features".
There are definitely a lot more strange and surreal ads from this era, but it would be impossible to list them all here.
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