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1. Terrorism Trainer
No, your eyes don’t deceive you. This is a real Microsoft Flight Simulator ad telling you how you can use this game to practice buzzing the Twin Towers.
In the wake of 9/11, this was always destined to be a cursed ad. But the sarcastic sounding bit about safety being a pilot’s primary concern is what makes this one cursed game ad we will “never forget.”
2. In the “Zone”
This ad is for an obscure 2000 video game called VZones. And one look at the ad makes it clear that the developers had no idea how to market this damn thing.
The ad literally tells us nothing about the game. It just makes a weird “joke” about a girl being “wasted” from partying in too many zones. When the marketing makes your game look like a date rape simulator, you know that you screwed up.
3. Buy This Game Or We Torture a Dev
Speaking of game ads that haven’t aged well, check out this ad for Incredible Crisis. The whole thing is built around a “joke” that a hapless game programmer will be fired if you and your friends don’t completely enjoy the game.
Honestly, this wasn’t very funny even back in the day. But now that we know about horrific game dev crunch and companies like Blizzard literally driving employees to suicide with their predatory practices, a game ad casually promising misery to a developer just seems sad instead of funny.
4. All Cop (Games) Are Bad
Sometimes, advertisements aren’t bad when they are first created. Instead, time makes them seem even worse than they originally were.
Take this innocuous ad for X-Play. The advertisement copy references the classic “good cop, bad cop” trope of countless films and TV shows. But in the wake of our increasing awareness of police brutality, the promise that you have no choice but to play a “bad cop” becomes much, much more sinister!
5. Time Crisis...Ew
The Time Crisis games remain some of the most memorable arcade experiences, and Time Crisis II is no exception. However, the advertisement for this game is completely cursed.
The ad promises you the chance to “blow” the “freaking head” off of stress. It is meant to be playful, but in a world where many people do, in fact, blow the head off those who stress them out, this ad is memorable for all the wrong reasons.
6. Psycho for the Sega Channel
Some of these ads were doomed from the beginning. For example, just take this insane Sega Channel ad made to look like a psycho’s ransom letter made of magazine clippings.
The whole idea is that the speaker is extorting Santa Claus by threatening to cook and eat their beloved friend, Rudolph. That would be insane under any circumstances, but it’s downright baffling to imagine anyone driven to extortion and murder over the freaking Sega Channel.
7. Mario On Acid
To be fair to Nintendo’s marketing department, it really does sound strange to describe the average Nintendo game. And it’s even worse when you are describing something as weird as Mario Party 6.
But this ad promising the ability to control things with the microphone takes the weird factor to an entirely new level. Honestly, Nintendo looks like they are trying to sell us some bomb drugs instead of simply selling us a video game!
8. Nintendo Comes For Your Soul
With some notable exceptions, Nintendo has pretty clean ads. Sometimes, they get pretty dirty. But this Final Fantasy ad is neither clean nor dirty...it’s just downright weird!
The conceit of the game is that the Game Boy Advance has come to life and is here to recruit you. But when your video game ad looks like a cyberpunk version of a terrorist recruitment pitch, that’s always a bad sign.
9. Ballz for Christmas
Speaking of insane Christmas-themed ads, check out this advertisement for the game Ballz. It implores gamers to tell Santa that “you want Ballz for Christmas.”
Let’s forget the fact that Ballz was, in fact, a really terrible video game. This advertisement basically goes out of its way to make sure the childhood you gets his ass kicked by your parents and anyone else you repeat this dumb ad to.
10. Piracy Is...Murder?
This Australian ad isn’t actually for a video game. Instead, it is encouraging gamers to avoid piracy, but doing so in the dumbest possible way.
Basically, this ad goes right for the throat by trying to equate piracy with murder. This would be stupid in any contest, but it becomes downright insane when you consider companies like Nintendo that make sure piracy is the only way to experience certain titles that they refuse to ever re-release!
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