Greetings, gamers. This month I thought I try to expand my column by doing two
commercials per month. That's right, twice the nostalgia at half the price.
With March arriving, it won't be long before the baseball fields
start filling up again. So my first commercial this month is for Atari's
RealSports Baseball. Around 1982, Atari was getting tired with Mattel for saying
their Intellivision sports games surpassed their 2600 titles (even though Atari
couldn't deny that the INTV sports were superior, and their's, well, sucked). SO
they relaunched their sports line under the name RealSports, promising even
better sports games on the 2600. For their television ad for one of the games,
RealSports Baseball, Atari hired baseball manager Billy Martin to tell how he
likes the game. During the ad, which takes place in a locker room, Martin
actually takes shots at George Plimpton and the Intellivision, even though he
doesn't actually say his name.
BILLY MARTIN: "I've been hearing this other guy talk about his realistic home
video baseball game. Well, I've played real baseball. I also played the new
Atari RealSports Baseball, and I like it! 'Cause I can hit and run, steal, pick
off runners, hey, it's baseball like baseball should be played. And who are you
gonna listen to anyhow, that other guy who talks baseball, or a nice guy like
me, who lives it?"
ANNOUNCER: "New RealSports Baseball, one in a series, only form Atari."
"Watch me talk smack about George Plimton without really doing so."
"What do I think of RealSports Baseball? I LIKE IT!"
"Who's the baseball king now, Intellivision?"
Don't forget, Billy Martin LIKES IT.
Atari also did a similar ad for RealSports Football, only with Ed "Too Tall"
Cabbage Patch Colecovision
The next commercial was brought to my attention by Sarah Szefer. In
around 1983/84, Coleco had two things going for it. They had the Colecovision,
the hit arcade system, and they had the top selling Cabbage Patch Kid doll line.
So why not do a promotion that combines the two? Coleco had an offer where if
you buy a Colecovision you'll receive a free Cabbage Patch doll by mail.
Coleco even put out a television ad for the offer. In this commercial, a girl is
trying to convince her parents to buy a Colecovision for her brother because of
the games. In truth she's really out to get a free Cabbage Patch doll. This ad
is a testament to how stupid Coleco was in handling their Cabbage Patch Kid
line. Take a look (sorry about the poor quality).
The girl talks to her mother first:
"Mom you should buy Billy a Colecovision. Then he can play Burgertime. Beside,
he ate his Brussel Sprouts."
The girl then sees her father, who's reading a newspaper:
"The Colecovision plays Congo Bongo. And Billy did clean his room."
The father replies, pointing at a newspaper ad:
"This wouldn't have something to do with the free Cabbage Patch Kid?"
The girl, acting innocent, simply says:
The announcer spills out the offer: "Buy a Colecovision and a Coleco Game
Cartridge by november 15, we'll send you a free Cabbage Patch kid by Christmas."
Sure enough, in the last scene Billy is enjoying his new Colecovision, and the
girl is holding her free Cabbage Patch doll.
Billy: "Wow, a Colecovision! Way to go, Amy!"
Amy: "I did it just for you. (winks)"
The announcer finishes: "When you buy a Colecovision, you make two kids happy."
"Mom can Billy have a Colecovision so I don't have to buy a doll?"
Mom was a hard sell, so I'll try dad.
"Oh no, he's onto me."
Billy has his Colecovision, Amy has her doll, and everybody's happy, right?
Okay, so according to Coleco, videogames are only for boys, and dolls are only
for girls. Certainly a sexist and stereotypical ad from Coleco. For ten-on years
I read gaming magazines from female gamers talking about this subject. Maybe
it's ads like this that led to this ongoing debate. And that's my 2 cents, as
Kent Brockman would say.
What do you think about two commercials per month? Like it, don't like it? Let
me know. Also if you gamers out there have a suggestion for a commercial for
this column, let me know and I'll see if I can find it.