Monday, February 1, 2016

Starfox 64 Promotional VHS from Nintendo Power!

One thing I loved doing as a kid was collecting video game promotional VHS tapes that were sent out to magazine subscribers & at request to advertise for upcoming video game releases. Unlike today, where a game can reach a lot of eyes through social media, gaming websites, YouTube, etc. video game advertising was limited to print and television commercials. These VHS tapes allowed publishers to target their audience more specifically and provide more detail than could be shown in a 30 second TV spot.

One of my favorites to this day is the tape sent out by Nintendo Power promoting the upcoming release of Starfox 64, a hugely significant game on the platform. This ad has it all; espionage, gameplay footage, kidnapping, console wars, torture and more!

Read on for more!

We learn a few crucial plot elements in the first thirty seconds of this film. One is that employees of Sega and Sony wear ugly sweaters with their employer's logos on them. They have also joined forces to commit several crimes in order to obtain information about upcoming Nintendo releases.

The most important thing we see in the opening moments is that Nintendo employees arrive at work via parachute. Where do I apply?!

Anyway, as this employee is walking into the Nintendo of America offices he is assaulted by the Sega and Sony employees, who apparently aren't afraid to kidnap people in broad daylight and throw them into their white van with the words "Diaper Service" on the side.

When our protagonist comes to, he wakes up in a grimy room tied to a chair. They begin to interrogate Mr. Nintendo to get him to give up some information about Starfox 64.

The dutiful NOA employee doesn't immediately give into their demands, but once the villains reveal that they have MARIO IN CAPTIVITY AND THEY ARE GOING TO CRUSH HIS SKULL IF HE DOESN'T TALK.

Our hero quickly gives in to spare Mario's life. He puts on his best PR voice and unveils the game's cast, controls, vehicle-types and more.

The jerks from Sega and Sony are struggling to come to terms with the information they have just heard. How will they be able to compete with this?!

Unwilling to just let it end there, Mr. Nintendo tells them that they don't know the half of it in regards to Starfox 64. He says he would go on, but "Bob" would have to kill him. Does this mean that Nintendo kills their employees who break NDAs?

The antagonists decide to impersonate pizza deliverymen and kidnap Bob by opening a PIZZA BOX FILLED WITH POISONOUS GAS. I wonder how many years of imprisonment these guys are facing at this point.

Apparently our original protagonist is released from his state of imprisonment due to his cooperation in kidnapping Bob and has decided to just chill with the goons and eat pizza. They taunt Bob, letting him know that his colleague has "spilled his guts" about Starfox 64. Bob shouts "Peter, you didn't tell them about the Rumble Pak, did you?!" Apparently his name is Peter. Also, by doing this, Bob inadvertently reveals the Rumble Pak.

Bob isn't going to put up with this shit and refuses to answer their questions. This is when the villains implement the strategy that got Peter to talk, revealing that they still have Mario in captivity and they are going to ELECTROCUTE HIM.

Like Peter before him, Bob gives in to spare Mario's life and reveals the RUMBLE PAK to them (that he apparently just carries around with him at all times). This takes us back to a time when force feedback controllers were not an industry-wide norm. They used this video to not only sell you on the game itself, but the concept of a controller using rumble functionality.

Following his description of the Rumble Pak, the four of them decide to settle things once and for all by playing the 4 player simultaneous multiplayer modes in the game!

During this gameplay session, the Nintendo employees confirm that a gameplay experience such as this cannot be played on the Sega Saturn or the Sony Playstation and the only place you will find it is the Nintendo 64!

The Sony and Sega employees concede to Nintendo and admit defeat, ending the gameplay session. On his way out, Bob reveals that he not only carries around a Rumble Pak at all times in his lab coat, but also the OFFICIAL STARFOX 64 PLAYER'S GUIDE. When the Sony employee reaches for it, Bob pulls away, telling him that he will have to buy it in the stores like everyone else.

While exiting, Peter turns around (who has thankfully saved Mario from these monsters) and yells about into a megaphone.

That's all, folks! Watch the program in its entirety here.


  1. OH.

    I remember my friend getting this in the mail on day after school and us, being gamers, popped it right in. The acting has no comparison. The whole things is full of that mid-nineites, over the top charm that almost all commercials were rife with at the time. I realize that Starfox and the rumble pack were a huge deal at the time but what the hell was Nintendo smoking??

  2. Whatever they were smoking it led to a pretty entertaining video lol

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