This week, I go on somewhat of a nostalgia trip and go over my Top 5 favourite video game commercials. The criteria here was commercials that aired on television that I actually saw at some point. So you won’t see something like the brilliant cancelled Xbox 360 ad “The StandOff” or even the venerable Segata Sanshiro and his incredible Sega Saturn ads
5. PlayStation 2 – The Mountain
I’ve always liked video game commercials that at first glance, don’t seem to have anything to do with video games. This fun commercial I thought was great at capturing that “everyone come and play” ethos that Sony had marketed so well after the massive commercial success of the first PlayStation.
I believe in come countries this ad was used to actually advertise the PlayStation 2’s online service launch, hence the “top of the mountain” analogy. But like any good ad, it works just as well with a dual purpose.
4. PlayStation 4 – Perfect Day
This PlayStation 4 launch commercial takes us on a journey of two best friends who love to play video game together. But transports them into the world of the game they’d normally be playing in the more….traditional way. All while singing Lou Reed’s 1972 classic “Perfect Day”.
Looking back, you could almost argue this commercial was almost a foretelling of Sony’s foray into VR.
3. Xbox 360 – “Jump Rope”
Much like the PlayStation 2 Mountain commercial, this absolute gem of a commercial for the Xbox 360 launch perfectly encapsulates the theme that has permeated through Xbox marketing ever since….Jump In.
This is just an incredibly fun ad to watch. The perfect marriage of on screen jump rope action and George Kranz’s dance classic Din Daa Daa makes for a very effective and entertaining commercial that was very successful at the time.
2. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D starring Robin and Zelda Williams
How can you not love this commercial? So heart warming in giving us an insight into the late great Robin Williams’ relationship with his daughter Zelda, whom he named after the legendary franchise.
The way it manages to invoke feelings of nostalgia for a remastered classic including a couple of cheesy puns for good measure, all while doing something many game commercials don’t…show us actual gameplay.
This is a commercial that does everything a video game commercial should, all in a wholesome, unobtrusive and relatable fashion.
1. Gears of War – Mad World
This commercial is just incredible. It almost single handedly sold Gears of War to the video game world. It works almost entirely by the song choice. The sheer perfection by which Gary Jules’ timeless cover of the Tears For Fears classic Mad World fits the on screen action is just unmatched.
While the mood of dread and solitude the commercial creates isn’t ultimately representative of the game we all played in 2006, it still managed to give us a preview of the “destroyed beauty” of the world of Sera all while using in engine visuals that blew everyone away and really confirmed that “next-gen” was here.