15 God-Awful Video Game Commercials (LIST)

10. Tetris, schizophrenic ’80s style

This commercial is like a bad nightmare and makes about as much sense. At what point does this make clear what the hell Tetris is even about? What 10-year-old could decipher this visual riddle enough to want to go out and buy this game?

The thing that’s surprising is that this ad didn’t spawn a series of false advertising lawsuits. Anybody who watched this commercial and rushed out to snag a copy of Tetris would have been intensely disappointed when they got their Russian construction block puzzle game home. There are certainly no sunglasses or awesome opera singers to be found within.

9. Makeup in this Asteroids commercial helps hide your identity

Luckily, the actors desperate enough to take part in this Asteroids ad didn’t have to speak English or show their unaltered faces. They might have had careers beyond this point, however unlikely.

We do get to see the unfathomably fun Asteroids in action during the spot, though, and I’m sure this was responsible for tons of sales. Colored blobs float across your screen! Get it right now!

Side note: How much do you think the set and props cost Atari? Bad investment, guys.

8. Journey needs your help! That’s right. Journey.

Billed as “The First Rock and Roll Game Ever,” Journey: The Escape has you helping the band dodge…groupies. Wait, what? Aren’t groupies the entire point of starting a band?

Were people really that excited about any Journey merchandise, much less a video game tie-in? Apparently there really was someone in an office somewhere who thought, “I know how we’ll make money – Journey video game.” It was probably raining, and he could hear Journey through the wall as he stood at the back of the club, hoping to catch a glimpse – oh, wait. That’s Foreigner.

The shots of the game itself are almost indecipherable. Guide the stick guy past the scarecrows to the…what is that, a Big Mac? Fallout shelter? Wood chipper?

Let’s go with wood chipper.

7. This is way too much information about Hey You, Pikachu

So this kid sits and talks about Hey You, Pikachu, a Nintendo 64 game where you use a microphone to talk to a virtual Pikachu. He tells us about it for, like, three whole minutes. In between he mentions his horrible family life, where he’s ignored pretty much constantly.

He even says the Pikachu is his best friend. It’s really sad.

Apparently his mom works in a coal mine that has an entrance in their kitchen and even his friends actually just use him for his stuff. Someone needs to intervene before this kid ends up a serial killer.

6. A Left 4 Dead Boomer promotes Yoshi’s Island

Clearly nobody knew what they were doing when it came to game ads fifteen years ago. This one, for Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, employs the tactic of using something both disgusting and barely related to get kids to head to their local Funcoland.

Meanwhile, the poor actors in this spot get absolutely drenched with thick green slop. We, the audience, hardly have it any better just watching. I mean, the dude just ate till he burst. That was a torturous, horrific murder in the movie Se7en. It is not a marketing technique for anything involving Yoshi – I don’t care how much eating and crapping he does in that game.

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12 Comments on 15 God-Awful Video Game Commercials (LIST)

Daryl G.

On September 19, 2010 at 12:50 am

I distinctly remember both the Dr. Mario witchdoctor song and the Link’s Awakening song both being very popular amongst kids in the intended demographic.

God-awful should be a term used to describe really terrible and ineffective things, like this website for instance.


On September 19, 2010 at 4:37 am

That ad for Super Mario World 2 was nicked from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, not Se7en. Besides, Se7en is terrible. But not as terrible as that Legend of Zelda ad! ARGH!

Phil Hornshaw

On September 19, 2010 at 8:35 am

Didn’t mean to imply the Yoshi’s Island commercial is a rip off of Se7en. Only that in Se7en, a similar situation is a gory and horrible murder scene. Here it’s a video game ad.

worst name ever

On September 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Actually, the Yoshi commercial is more of a direct rip off from one of the skits in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. Like, it’s so ripped off it’s embarrassing.


On September 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I actually liked that Zelda dance commercial it was fun to watch! :)

johnny sack

On September 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm

How could you forget this zelda commercial… i think its the real #1 awful commercial

Phil Hornshaw

On September 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Have to agree, Johnny, it’s pretty terrible. Frankly, there were just so many awesomely terrible Zelda commercials, I didn’t want to overload the list with them. I’d say, that one’s an Honorable Mention to be sure – but the No. 1 commercial has terrible rapping AND insulting gamer stereotypes built in.


On September 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Actually at that point in time Nintendo was still the biggest console seller in the world.


On September 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

the ps3 doll one of the best

James S

On September 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Most awesome list ever.


On September 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm

If you think that the Zelda commerical was bad then you clearly don’t know anything at all!


On September 20, 2010 at 8:28 am

the ps3 advert wasnt terrible, its terrifying.
sums up the initial launch of ps3 nicely. took months to repair the flaws that caused.
I did like the ad though, thought it was a brave stance to take.