Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Columbia Video Game Club

Okay, that last one was more than a little wordy, so let's allow this curio to speak for itself:

TAKE ANY ONE OF THESE VIDEO GAMES FOR $4.95
when you join the Columbia Video Game Club and agree to buy just 2 more games, at regular club prices, in the coming year.
Just look at the video games offered here... all six of them are available for home enjoyment on your Atari Video Computer System! They retail anywhere from $26.95 to $34.95, yet you can have any one of them for only $4.95 with membership in the Columbia Video Game Club. Just send us $4.95 with the application or call the toll-free number shown here.
Why are we making this offer? To introduce you to the Columbia Video Game Club... an exciting new service that offers you the newest home video games on a convenient shop-at-home basis -- and at great savings.
How the Club works: approximately every 6 weeks (up to 9 times a year) you will receive the Club's colorful Video Game Magazine. It announces the Hit Game Selection... generally, a brand-new arcade winner, just like some of those shown here. In addition, the Magazine will picture and describe many other video games from many of America's leading manufacturers.
And the Magazine features articles of interest to game players -- new game systems, new gadgets to upgrade your own Atari system, helpful hints on how to improve your scores, how games are designed, what's new in the arcades -- fascinating information to keep you up to date on the whole video game scene and even a giant-size full color video game poster.
If you want to play the Hit Game Selection in your own home, you need do nothing -- it will be sent to you automatically. If you want one of the alternate games offered -- or nothing at all -- just tell us so on the response card always provided and mail it by the date indicated. You'll always have ten days to make your decision. If you ever receive a game cartridge without having had ten days to decide, feel free to return it at our expense.
The game cartridges you order will be mailed and billed to you at regular Club prices -- which currently range from $24.95 to $29.95, plus shipping and handling and appropriate sales tax. Remember, you don't have to buy a video game every time you hear from us -- your only membership obligation is to purchase two games during the coming year, and you may cancel membership at any time after doing so. If you decide to continue, you'll be eligible for our generous money-saving bonus plan.
10-Day Free Trial: we'll send complete details of the Club's operation with your introductory cartridge. If you are not satisfied for any reason whatsoever, just return everything within 10 days for a full refund and you will have no further obligation. So be part of the action by mailing your coupon now!
WANT STILL ONE MORE GAME for $4.95? You can have ANY TWO of these video games for only $4.95 each -- if you agree to buy four more (at regular Club prices) in the coming two years! Just check box in application and enclose $9.90 for your two video game cartridges.
An early predecessor of the Humble Bundle? Of course, this business model flourished for records and books, but the video game wing of Columbia's mail-order club empire doesn't appear to have survived the 2600 crash. $5 sounds like a good enough deal for the triple-A titles here -- a decent price for unlimited home play of Donkey Kong, Frogger or Zaxxon -- but the club prices certainly send me time-traveling waves of sticker shock. And that was in 1982 dollars!

In conclusion, I dig the triangles of the stylized explosion.  It's like the ad designer said "you don't seriously expect me to model a fiery blast using only square pixels, do you?  It'll cost extra!"  And the bosses at Columbia said don't sweat it, they had tied up every penny in warehouses full of Gorf carts.