Retro Videogame TV Commercials
By James Grahame
Here are some vintage TV commercials that show how the gaming giants of the early 1980s marketed their wares to the great unwashed masses.
Atari VCS (1977)
We'll start things off with a bunch of decidedly twitchy Atari VCS users, circa 1981. They must have been caffeinating the water in this neighborhood.
Mattel Intellivision (1980)
The Intellivision was introduced three years after the Atari. It was the world's first 16-bit game console. I was never a big fan of its awkward controllers and bank machine-like membrane keypad, but the console (and its descendants) remained on the market throughout the 1980s. And in the early days, it was easy to take pot-shots their competitor's crude graphics. Here's spokesman George Plimpton comparing them.
The ColecoVision was a successful and quite capable console introduced in 1982. Much of its initial popularity was due to an excellent pack-in version of Nintendo's Donkey Kong. Had it not been for some unfortunate business decisions, I suspect the ColecoVision might have remained the dominant home console throughout the 1980s. Check out a very young Mario attempting to outwit Donkey Kong...
By 1982, the home gaming and computer market was becoming impossibly crowded. The Vectrex managed to stand apart from the others by offering a built-in black & white vector graphics display. Instead of pixels, Vectrex created images using razor-sharp white lines, just like the arcade version of Asteroids. It was a sight to behold (yeah, the video is in Finnish, but the graphics are cool)...
Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
The video game crash of 1983 brought companies like Coleco, Atari and Intellivision to their knees. By 1985, the US market was wide open for the Nintendo invasion. The brick-like NES wasn't a technical standout, but it was the gateway to Nintendo's fantastic lineup of games such as The Legend of Zelda...