While I don’t quite remember which comic I snapped this ad from, I do very clearly remember the Nintendo Cereal System. Set up like the candy Nerds, the inside of the cereal box was split down the middle. You popped open one side and poured out the fruity Mario cereal while the other distributed Link’s fruity concoction. How’d it taste? Probably way too sweat to my grown up pallet, but I imagine that, being the cereal fan that I was, I quite enjoyed it as a kid.
Sorry about the poor quality and small size of this ad. I took a bad photo of it and then shrunk a bunch of my files down a little too far in hopes of saving some hardrive space. Anyway, I have zero recollection of these Taco Bell kids meal toys based on mostly X-Men. You’ve got Sabertooth, Iceman, Mystique, Cyclops, Captain America and Hulk. I just realized how strange of a group this is. When I started typing the list I automatically wrote Wolverine’s name and then realized he was nowhere to be found.
I was about to write about how strange it was that I don’t remember these toys existing, but they presumably came out in either late 2001 or early 2002 (the ad is from 2001’s Defenders #10, which I reviewed over here). While I usually would have been all over any Marvel kids meal toy, especially one at my beloved Taco Bell, I was in college at this time without a car and thus very limited access to Taco Bells. Doesn’t look like I missed too much, though, does it?
Like most people my age, I was a gigantic fan of Nickelodeon. That channel was just packed with awesome for kids of the 80s and 90s. I even remember when my local cable decided to swap the channels that Nickelodeon and USA were on (4 and 6). I probably would have knocked someone out to get a Double Dare or Finders Keepers T-shirt and possibly murder someone to actually get on the show. If you don’t remember Finders Keepers, it was like a live action hidden picture search game show where kids ran through a dissected house to find a certain something (or somethings) in a messy room. As a big fan of Highlights and the hidden picture section of that magazine, this game show was right up my alley. Someone should bring that back. Here’s a clip from the show:
This ad was shot from 1988’s Silver Surfer #18.
Today’s Ad It Up is a double whammy! I saw this one in Silver Surfer #21 (1989) and it made me smile immediately. This comic is from before I read comics, but features not one, but two things that were a part of my childhood. I’ll start with the Quick Shot controllers first because this is a simpler story and boils down to the fact that I had one of these NES controllers (the one on the far right in the smaller picture). I didn’t use it a ton because it was a little awkward, but I actually still have it and it’s sitting in my living room as I type.
The WWF (as it was known when I was a youngin’), I had a more complex relationship with. My dad wrestled in college and always hated this fake stuff and didn’t want me watching it. I assume there was also an element of my parents not wanting me to watch the violent sport, but I bet legit wrestling pride was an equally strong, if not stronger motivator. As such, I thought the WWF was fake and lame and didn’t care about it. But I did like Hulk Hogan (what kid my age didn’t?) and watched the WWF cartoon and oddly enough became a fan of the video games. I remember playing the NES game advertised about at a friend’s house and it was fun. Later, when I was a teenager and regularly babysitting three boys, we spent many an hour playing one of the Sega versions (it had Doink the Clown if that helps). They’re just fun, beat em up games with colorful characters and big personalities, the same thing that drew me to comics, really. I’ve even thought of picking up the WWE Legends game for Xbox hoping it’s kind of in that same vein. Anyone played it? How does it stack up against games I played on occasion almost 20 years ago?
As I said back when I reviewed the Xbox 360 version of Bionic Commando — which I liked overall even if it wasn’t an astonishingly good game — I love and always have loved pretty much anything with grappling hooks. That’s one of the things I loved about the NES version which I rented a few times and played over at friends’ houses. I don’t think I ever got very far in the game, but I do remember one time where I was falling off a ledge and used the grappling hook to save myself, but I didn’t show back up. I also didn’t die so the game was in a kind of limbo where I was Schrodinger’s cat though long before I knew what that meant. It was a unique experience that I still remember today where something that was supposed to work in a certain way, wound up working in a completely different way. That doesn’t really happen anymore does it? With discs, you’re game is pretty much either running or it’s not. Glitches are mostly gone. I guess that’s not really sad unless you have fond memories of them. Anyway, this ad is fun and continues the NES tradition of crummy box art showcased along with very tiny screens showing the game and way more text than you’ll find in an entire magazine’s worth of ads these days.
When I look at this page I realize that Tradewest and the rest of the video game companies putting out games in the early days of the home video game market did not have Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price helping them out with their ads. I can not get Roger Sterling’s voice out of my head saying, “Why do the musclebound brothers look like their going to kiss?” I’m not crazy, right? That image conveys longing and love, not the “Let’s go kick ass and get our gut-punched girlfriend back!” spirit of the game itself, which is awesome by the way. An odd choice to say the least.
Regular readers will remember that I read and didn’t really get 1993’s Archer & Armstrong #17 from Valiant a few weeks back. Before tossing it in the get rid of pile, I went through and snapped a few pictures like this one for the 27th issue of Wizard. I was still a few years away from discovering the magazine at that point, but I do remember seeing this Jim Lee Wildcats cover in books and around the office. Interviews with Alan Moore and Travis Charest? Sounds like a pretty solid issue, actually. Plus I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet.
Do you guys remember Starriors? I don’t. Well, not from the mid-80s when they came out as both a toyline and a Marvel comic book written by Louise Simonson (and advertised in comics like Machine Man #2). I do remember reading a feature in Toy Fare about both, though and might have even edited it. Anyway, here’s an ad for the comics, it’s pretty self explanatory and would have easily sucked me in as a kid.
Sorry about the weird cropping, lens flare and thumb in this photo, but I just had to share one of the more iconic ads from the late 80s. I never played Wizards & Warriors or it’s sequel Ironsword, but I very much remember seeing these ads on the backs of random comics I had before I started really collecting a few years later. I’m not sure which issue I took this photo from, but it was all over the place if memory serves. Heck, I didn’t even know who Fabio was back then, but it makes it all the more memorable. I think this might have been my first instance of going back and recognizing a celebrity from their earlier, pre-well known days. Kinda funny.
Just look at all that text on the right column of this ad! Was any kid going to read that? Probably not, though it might have been good because this ad makes the game look silly. Actually, lets be honest, Bubble Bobble is absolutely a silly game. You’re people who got turned into bubble-spitting dragons trying to…not die through 100 levels of insanity. Or something. I was never really clear what the point of the game was, but that didn’t diminish my love for it whatsoever.
My pal Geof had the NES game. There were several summers where I would spend nearly every day over at his house hanging out with him, his brother and sister and a few neighbors. I can’t tell you how much we played this game, but it was a lot. I think we also got to the very end, but I honestly can’t remember if we ever beat it. That end boss is HARD. Maybe Geof will read this and remember better than me.
For what it’s worth, Bubble Bobble is the only NES game I ever downloaded onto our Wii from whatever the Nintendo archive is called. I think I got all the way to the end again, but couldn’t beat the final guy. It’s been a while since I’ve even turned the Wii on, so that tells you how long it’s been. Actually, writing this makes me want to fire that little white box back up and play with some dragons.