Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Star Soldier", NES, 1986.

I've set aside October for scary game ads, but I suppose all game ads are scary in their own way. This one is especially scary to the legal department, in the event that they are sent a letter from 20th Century Fox regarding their use of the xenomorph from the film Alien.
WATCH FOR THE HIGH SCORE CONTEST!

Now that you've shot down a few...
Here's your chance to see one up close.

You've spent some time behind the triggers of a plasma-drive galactic fighter. And more than one horde of fungal-faced aliens has bitten the interstellar dust for standing in your way. But now...

Star Soldier Sweepstakes! Over 100 Prizes! Anyone can win!

Here's your chance to hobnob with the enemy. 1st PRIZE: One lucky hero will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney/MGM Studios (home of the alien) for himself and his family. 2nd PRIZE: Another savvy fighter will receive a Sony portable stereo/CD player. 3rd PRIZE: One more galactic pilot will win a Casio digitizing sampling keyboard. 4th PRIZE: One hundred electronic warriors will receive sizzling pre-release copies of the next fast-action Taxan game, before they hit the stores.

It's true that in games where the player only ever sees ship-to-ship conflict, the appearance of the enemy-ship denizens is typically left up to the imagination. It's weird to evoke in an ad, though: you haven't seen our game yet, but here's something you won't see in it!

They do nod to their borrowing of the alien character with their sweepstakes, and the runner-up prizes sound pretty cool for 1986. A digitizing sampling keyboard? You can record dog barking noises and play "Jingle Dogs" without your keyboard including a dog sound!

(I like how 103 prizes translates to "Over 100 prizes!")

The keen-eyed will note some discrepancy regarding the dates: it appears that this game was published in Japan, then sat on a shelf for two and a half years before being released in the US.

Is a sweepstakes what you do when your game isn't exciting enough for its release to be newsworthy in and of itself?

The thick-outline art style is familiar -- I wonder if this ad was drawn by the same anonymous designer who cranked out the blobby art for another Taxan release, 8 Eyes?

OK, no deeper insight this time. Sometimes all we achieve is sharing scans of game ads from comic books. Everything else is bonus.