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Twenty hours of Japanese video game commercials collected in one YouTube channel

By Matt Kodner • August 15, 2013

Growing up outside of Chicago, one of my favorite places in the city was The Museum Of Broadcast Communications. They’ve got an extensive collection of old commercials—I’m talking black-and-white Alka Seltzer ad old—that you can watch in little viewing cubicles. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, but if you’re not, there’s always YouTube. User Mailenstein has devoted an entire channel to classic Japanese video game commercials. It’s not clear whether they actually compiled the videos, as many of them seem to be reposted from NicoNico (think Japanese YouTube), but they’re wonderful nonetheless.

These come from a time before Japanese TV went crazy with Nicolas Cage fever. Some are pretty straightforward, but there are plenty of strange goodies in there, like a series of extremely unsettling ads for the Sega Saturn featuring prancing cone-headed clowns (see above). Mailenstein has uploaded 47 commercial compilations in total—although they seem to have commenced and ended the endeavor two years ago’which makes for 20 hours of video. I was in no way able to watch most of these, so snoop around the channel, and tell me which gems I missed! [Via Mark MacDonald]

P.S. In honor of our vacationing overlord John Teti, here’s a megamix with a bunch of Mega Man commercials. It’s as close to pouring one out for him as we’re going to get this week.

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16 Responses to “Twenty hours of Japanese video game commercials collected in one YouTube channel”

  1. PaganPoet says:

    Those Megaman ads are pretty rad. It’s too bad Western advertising in the late 80s and 90s was all about attitude and XTREME!!!! They’re embarrassing to look at today, whereas these ads have aged quite well.

    • Boonehams says:

      Wait, there was a MegaMan kart racing game? Why am I only now learning about this!?

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Because all evidence should have been destroyed.

      • Girard says:

        It was pretty amazing. My best friend in middle/high school modded his PSX primarily to play that game. Each racer had their own themed track (analogous to their “level” in a normal MM game), and when you beat them you got a part of their car (analogous to receiving enemy weapons).

        If you beat the same enemy multiple times, eventually you can get all of their car parts and recreate their kart and all of its stats/weapons in your own racer, OR – even cooler – mix and match parts so you can build a car with an awesome Wily skull spoiler that aids your acceleration, a Blues shield hood that defends you from projectile attacks, and Napalm Man tank treads that don’t slow down on rocky/muddy surfaces…

        I think it was included on the MegaMan X collection, and I’d argue is probably worth picking it up, even if you already have the (amazing) MegaMan X games.

        • NakedSnake says:

          Woah, I normally don’t care for kart games but that does sound really cool. My PS2 is half a world a way now, though. Time to investigate the PSP option…

  2. The_Tender_Vigilante says:

    The guy on the icon linking to this article from the main page looked an awful lot like a WWII era Japanese imperial naval officer, what with the chrysanthemum on his hat and all.  While I have no desire to scan 20+ hours of Japanese commercials to confirm, it did get me wondering how a Call of Duty:World at War type game is treated there and if there is any sort of analog from a Japanese perspective?  If there is something analogous, what would it look like to an American audience? 

  3. MintBerry_Crunch says:

    Japan has definitely Won At Something with those Nicolas Cage commercials. They’re sitting in the first place podium, and being better somehow. 

  4. Boonehams says:

    R.I.P., Segata Sanshiro.  You died as you lived: screaming at wimps and being manly.
    19XX – 1998

  5. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    If I ever feel I’m playing too many video games, I’m just going to watch that video with my eyes prised open, à la A Clockwork Orange.
       Later on, I can lie and bed and be fed grapes by two women dressed as Proto Man and Zero while I fantasize about being the one to explode Mega Man to the strains of Beethoven’s Ninth.

  6. GaryX says:

    I should definitely play more Megaman games.

    • Girard says:

      I play way too many of them, and that statement is still true about me. They are so so goooood. (Well, mostly.)

      • GaryX says:

        I’ve only really played a few of the NES ones and then some Megaman X games I downloaded as ROMS back when I was a freshman in college. But I never really sat down and actually played through them. I really want to play Legends sometime soon too. I love how that game looks.

        • Girard says:

          Legends is fantastic. It’s the best ‘Zelda game’ of the 32/64-bit generation, and was basically attempting (and to an extent succeeding, in its own chunky way) at Windwaker style visuals a generation earlier than anyone else was trying for that. (Make sure you go in the options and change the default controls though – for some reason it uses the d-pad for strafing and the shoulders for turning, but you can swap that out.)

          I’d recommend all of the NES ones without reservation – even if the later ones feel samey, they’re still solid as hell and the fact that they don’t mess with the formula is because it’s such a good formula.

          MegaMan X is indispensable, and the other SNES ones in the series (X2, X3) are solid as hell. Once you hit the PSX the games get a little ropey, but X4 does some neat things with different playable characters, and X5 tries some experimental stuff that doesn’t entirely work, but is kinda cool.All 2-and-a-half of the Legends games are totally lovely.The Zero games for GBA are all quite good, though maybe not essential.

          Megaman 7, 8, and Rockman & Forte have their problems, but aren’t bad entries in the series. Likewise with X8. X6 and X7 are frankly not so great.

      • GaryX says:

        This is a fantastic primer. Thanks.

  7. Chuck Spear says:

    These are great.

    It’s probably buried somewhere deep in one of these compilations, but my favorite Japanese video game commercial–and one of my favorite commercials of all time, full stop–is the Metal Gear Solid 2 ad featuring businessmen playing hide-and-seek: