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The Star Fox 64 Promo Video

by Pedro Hernandez - September 8, 2011, 9:33 pm PDT
Total comments: 9

The best marketing tactic... EVER?

Star Fox 64 3D is upon us, and I have been feeling very nostalgic about the original Star Fox 64. It was such a great game that it marked my Nintendo fandom forever. Part of that legacy comes in the form of a Nintendo Power promo video, which may be the hammiest piece of marketing ever produced.

The VHS cover looks normal enough, with promotional artwork of the game. When I first received this tape in 1997, I was under the impression that it was going to be just video footage of the game. Note that back in the day I didn't have a computer, so being able to see video game footage before the game was released was a major thing for me. I popped the videotape in, and boy, was I taken away.

The reason why is that rather than going through the game and its features, the tape actually tells a story. A Sony representative and a Sega representative kidnap a Nintendo employee and force him to reveal the details about Star Fox 64. If you want further proof of how intense the console wars were back in the day, look no further than this tape.

In a way, Nintendo was justified in presenting Sega and Sony in the worst way possible. A year prior, Sega had done a Nights ad where they toss an N64 and shoot it with a rifle. Sony did the infamous Crash Bandicoot commercials where a man wearing a Crash suit stood in front of the Nintendo building and taunted them. So, Nintendo had the right to be as nasty as they wanted to be, and did they use that right to the fullest!

The Sony guy is EXTREMELY cocky, which may be a representation of how Sony had entered the video game market doing things their way and bragging about it. The Sega guy was a big, dumb lug. Down the line, Sega would drop out of the hardware business due to poor decisions, so Nintendo may have been indirectly telling the future with their interpretation of Sega.

The Nintendo guy is no saint. In fact, he may come off as being the worst of the three. He is very handsome and knows it, and isn't afraid of flaunting his attitude. Considering the situation he was placed in, he may have been right in fighting fire with fire, but it was surreal that Nintendo was represented in such a way. It doesn't help that when you watch this video, realizing how Nintendo struggled through the N64 and GameCube eras,  it feels odd for the Nintendo guy to have that attitude.

The whole tape is cheesy as all hell. Nowadays, I am used to internet videos where it is more about the hammy acting than about the actual information, but seeing this back in the day was weird. The Sega and Sony guys torture a Mario doll in order to get info out of the Nintendo guy. Then they kidnap Bob, a scientist of sorts, in order to learn about the Rumble Pak (in the story, this is supposed to be a secret, which is silly since Star Fox 64 pretty much made force feedback a norm in the industry).

The video ends with a montage of the upcoming N64 games, including footage of the then very early Zelda 64, and the Nintendo guys laugh in the faces of the Sony and Sega guys (Again, silly since Sega did indeed go under while Sony dominated the market for two generations of gaming.)

It wouldn't be the last time Nintendo created a cheesy promo video for their upcoming games. Months later they released the Diddy Kong Racing video. It was silly, but not as nasty as the Star Fox 64 video.

The spirit of these videos exist in a way in the Nintendo Channel. The venomous rivalry and over the top silliness are gone, but they are still quite hammy in their presentation (Dark Gary, anyone?). But nothing will ever come close to how epic the Star Fox 64 video was, and it remains one of my most cherished gaming treasures.

If you ever missed it, here it is in its full nasty cheese glory!

Images

Talkback

FZeroBoyoSeptember 08, 2011

I've seen that. That video is amazing. Corny? Sure, but that's part of the charm.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusSeptember 09, 2011

"No scenery was left unchewed in the making of this video".

xcwarriorSeptember 09, 2011

This had to be one the greatest ideas ever. Was so happy to get this in the mail. I might still have it laying in my room at my parents house. I watched it a couple of times even after buying the game.

They could go nuts with YouTube videoes like this and maybe remember what it's like to promo a game!

TanshinSeptember 09, 2011

That was fantastic! If only they did things like this today (outside of the Nintendo Channel... but even with Dark Gary, Nintendo Week isn't nearly as exciting as this). Put up some cheezy promos on Youtube and I think people will love it.

yoshi1001September 09, 2011

I wish CollegeHumor would do an updated version of this.

Sony guy: Will this game be on Vita?

Nintendo guy: Nope, only on 3DS!

Apple guy: What about iOS? Can you get this game on that platform?

Nintendo guy: Nope, only on 3DS!

CericSeptember 09, 2011

Irony is that this is still better then most of the advertisements they have put out since.  I really wish they would have redone this and put it on Youtube as Yoshi1001 said.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterSeptember 09, 2011

Quote from: yoshi1001

I wish CollegeHumor would do an updated version of this.

Sony guy: Will this game be on Vita?

Nintendo guy: Nope, only on 3DS!

Apple guy: What about iOS? Can you get this game on that platform?

Nintendo guy: Nope, only on 3DS!

Did you read my mind or something? I was thinking the exact, same thing as I was writing this!

Like I said in the article, this video was one of the reasons I loved the game so much. It stands as a history lesson both in terms of marketing and in video game history. This shows how heated the console wars were back in the day and the extremes the companies would go to stand out in a crowded market.

The closest we have ever gotten this generation to that sort of cheesiness was with Kevin Butler on the "Dear PlayStation" ads, and regardless of how popular he may be he still doesn't compare to what others did back in the day.

BranDonk KongSeptember 09, 2011

I remember when I got the Donkey Kong Country (and Killer Instinct) promo tape in the mail. Good stuff...but this is even better.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterSeptember 09, 2011

Quote from: Brandogg

I remember when I got the Donkey Kong Country (and Killer Instinct) promo tape in the mail. Good stuff...but this is even better.

The tapes would often vary. Some like the Banjo Kazooie tape was nothing but game footage and narration, while the DK64 and Jet Force Gemini was a mix of cheese and info. In fact, the DK 64 tape may be a precursor to the actual Nintendo Channel show, especially in the hyper, bubbly hosts and the mix of humor and info (though DK 64 was out there).

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