One of our favorite hobbies over at Time Extension is looking at old video game commercials, and with today marking 35 years since The Legend of Zelda was first released in the US, we thought what better way to celebrate its legacy than casting an eye back at its baffling marketing campaign.
These videos seem to circulate every now and again on Twitter, and it's pretty easy to see why they make the rounds.
Given the arguably endless amount of ways you could advertise something like The Legend of Zelda to an American audience, Nintendo of America opted to go for two of the most confusing and potentially alienating methods.
Let's take, for example, the first commercial featuring two stereotypical "nerd" characters reading the Nintendo Newsletter. One of the nerds upon seeing a set of images for The Legend of Zelda in the newsletter lets out the age-old gamer cry of "Nice graphics!" before his friend busts out an NES and tests their friendship with a skin-crawlingly awful rap.
At this point, you're probably thinking, 'Well, that's just one bad advert', but the next one was really no better. Don't believe us? Well then, see for yourself:
Whereas the first advert almost falls into the 'So bad, it's good' category, this other commercial still has us scratching our heads and wondering what the actual point of it really was. It primarily features a guy dressed in all-black reading out the name of several Zelda creatures in a variety of strange voices. Not necessarily something that gets us chomping at the bit to pick up an NES controller.
We guess Nintendo of America was confident enough in its product that it knew it could run any old rubbish and people will still flock out to buy it. Or maybe it was just afraid to contend with this epic animated commercial from Japan.
Do you have a favorite The Legend of Zelda advert? Let us know in the comments!
I've never actually finished this game. I came close back in 1988, but I just couldn't get the job done back then.
Whatever the commercials were back then, I wanted the game and I was not disappointed. It was an adventure in a gold cartridge like non other. Nintendo could do no wrong at that time.
Haha, I remember those commercials very well! They were on TV a lot during Saturday Morning cartoons.
@Hikingguy : I agree. That game not only lived up to the hype, it surpassed it. You knew that gold cartridge was special just by looking at it.
I was an NES kid, and this for sure was in my system all the time. It's probably still my favorite Zelda game. It was almost perfection. The graphics gave you just enough to know what things were supposed to be, but not enough visual information that it would override your own imagined world and characters. The free exploration really made you feel like you were on an adventure.
I went about decluttering my game collection this week and I said I will only own one Zelda game. I ended up choosing the NES version, and got rid of the rest. Couldn’t be happier.
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