The Best of Video Game Advertising

January 14th, 2013 12:54pm EST

Kevin Butler There's no two ways about it; video game advertising, done well, can make or break a game. Successful advertising campaigns leave an impression - gamers are still talking about them, years after the game has gone out of fashion. "REMEMBER THAT ADVERTISEMENT WHERE PIKACHU BEAT THE SH!T OUT OF MARIO?"
It used to be that we could only reminisce on those commercial gems. But now, thanks to the wonderful witchcraft of the internet - those videos have been immortalized, and are available for your viewing pleasure. Here's Starpulse's Top 15 Video Game Commercials.

World Of Warcraft - Who Plays World of Warcraft?
After gaining a truly astonishing play base, Blizzard went on an advertising kick that was truly enormous. Bringing on celebrity figures such as Mr. T and Verne Troyer (Mini-Me) to show off their massive game. Even Chuck Norris - god among gamers, 'blessed' us with his presence.

Mercenaries2 - Oh No You Didn't
The Mercenaries game had a fine pedigree for blowing up stuff. The sheer amount of combustible and destructible material made the first game an absolute hit. The second game was somewhat less well received (it wasn't a game known for it's variety) BUT it still had a fun, memorable (and catchy?) commercial that accompanied it.

PS3 - Michael
Sony launched it's 'Long Live Play' campaign fairly late in the PS3's life cycle. These advertisements were absolutely brilliant. The 'Michael' advertisement has all of the Playstation brand's most famous heroes in a crowded bar, toasting to their lord and master, Michael - who guided them through their times of peril.

Super Smash Brothers 64 - You and Me
Picture this, if you will; Yoshi, Pikachu, DK and Mario holding hands and skipping through a field of green. Then all hell breaks loose. We don't know why they decided to start duking it out; or for that matter, why they were holding hands in the first place. But, when played to the tune "Happy Together" by the Turtles, it made for a great commercial.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Soldier in all of Us
Whatever else I might have to say about the CoD franchise, I will give them this: their advertising since MW3 has been fantastic. Aside from Jonah Hill, celebrities from TV, Hollywood and the internet have all made cameos on their commercials, which, are actually quite funny and relatable. They also seem to be indicative of the nature of the game. No matter how many people you blow up, you're always zeroed in on by someone else's cross-hairs.

Crusader Kings II - The Seven Deadly Sins
Can Crusader Kings do no wrong? I don't think so. Their 'Seven Deadly Sins' advertising campaign was unique, medieval themed and above all, laughable as you watched a new king completely screw up his kingdom as he portrayed all the worst possible qualities a ruler might have. It was a fantastic segue into the game, for new and old players alike.

PS3 - Kevin Butler
Sony's advertising campaign this generation was fantastic, if only a bit late. It's 'Long Live Play' campaign launched with Kevin Butler in 09, and frankly, hasn't been the same without him. All of his advertisements are witty, accompanied by the kind of humor you might find on 'The Office' in 'Anchorman' or from 'Parks and Rec.'

Dead Space 2 - Your Mom Will Hate It
Finally, a game that's not afraid to be violent! For too long, gamers have tiptoed around the issue of violence, in this era of political correctness. Deadspace and it's successors have made zero qualms about gore, and to prove it, they have subjected OUR OWN MOTHERS to it. Bravo EA - there may be hope for you yet.

Metal Gear Solid 3 - Japanese Men doing Creepy Things
These commercials didn't debut in the US or UK - in fact, they didn't make it out of Japan. They are 'Old School Funny' meaning that - certain people might get their panties in a bunch if they saw it. But, they were funny none the less.

XBOX - Life's Too Short
I'm not entirely sure why I laughed at this. Maybe it's the comedic image of a baby being launched from the O.R. into orbit - or an old man flying through space into a graveyard (is that morbid?) Still, if this commercial doesn't at least get a chuckle from you, your funny bone is defunct.

Guitar Hero 5 - Hugh's Still Got It
Hugh Hefner leads a really rough life. Surrounded by scantily clad women, who just want to play Guitar Hero with him. Stay strong buddy. Stay strong.

Portal 2 - Cave Johnson
Portal 2's advertising campaign was done mostly online, and it was absolutely brilliant. The witty, fictional and largely invisible 'Cave Johnson, Spokesman for Aperture Science' (J.K. Simmons) narrates the advertisements as business proposals, with detached regard for actual personal safety and always remembering the bottom line.

Grand Theft Auto IV - Niko owns the Streets
Grand Theft Auto doesn't need commercials to gain a lot of hype. But the trailer is edgy and cool, showing Niko Bellic walking the streets of Liberty City like he owns them.

Gears of War 2 - Mad World
Perhaps one of the most poignant video game commercials was Gears of War 2's 'Mad World' trailer (Gary Jules.) I remember watching it in my basement, and after everything fell silent, I didn't know what to say or think. The song was haunting, the cinematography well choreographed to the music, and it left me feeling sad, and kind of empty. After learning that the story of GeOW2, reflection back on this trailer made it seem eerily appropriate.

Skyrim - Dovakiin
I remember seeing the unveiling trailer for Skyrim with the Dovakiin shouting 'FUS RO DAH' from the top of a mountain - and being absolutely entranced, by the scope, graphical quality and cinematic feel of Skyrim. When I saw that vision made flesh, that world made real in a TV commercial I was thoroughly impressed. I didn't need to see any magic, any Dragon Shouts or even any fighting to feel engaged. Just the way the commercial crafted and presented this one, small scene, made me want to play the game even more.

Related: Starpulse Exclusives, Video Games

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