Remember When Nintendo Had the Most Offensive Ads on Television?
For over 30 years, Nintendo of America has been advertising its various video game consoles, games, characters, and franchises to the electronic entertainment-hungry American masses. Odds are good you’ve most recently been exposed to Nintendo’s Switch commercials, the most watched of which aired during Super Bowl LI alongside some of the more uninspired spots in recent memory.
Nintendo has long had a reputation as the family-friendly gaming company — they are the minds behind the Grandparent-friendly Wii phenomenon after all — but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find, deep within the ever-unforgiving annals of YouTube, proof that the minds behind Mario once had a sick, sometimes even perverted, sense of humor.
Or at least their commercials did.
Fun with Mental Illness
I’m not sure there is a specific mental disorder that combines debilitating insect phobias, bouts of mania, and the hearing of nonexistent voices in one’s own head, but I’ll be damned if all of that blended together doesn’t make me want to rush right out and buy The Legend of Zelda for my Nintendo Entertainment System.
Who wouldn’t want to experience life in a dark, confined space where my only friend is myself and all I can think about is my overwhelming fear of poorly-animated, primary-colored 8-bit insects? Sign me up.
Let’s Blow Up a Fat Guy to Vaguely Prove a Point!
30 second examples of gluttony gone wrong used to be all the rage back in the 90’s, or at least you’d be forgiven for thinking so after watching this borderline horrific ad for Yoshi’s Something or Another AKA Super Mario Whatever 2.
What we modern, enlightened folk call an eating disorder, Nintendo calls entertainment! After all, you aren’t body-shaming someone if they’re overeating to the point of massive abdominal rupture, right? Oh wait, is it a metaphor for how much F-U-N FUN is packed into the game? I was too busy retching from the realistic sounds of gastrointestinal armageddon to notice.
The Obligatory “Hip with the Kids” Rap
Fuck this guy and his terrible Zelda rap. Seriously.
Game Boy: The Sex Doll for Mice
It’s Saturday morning. Your favorite cartoons are on. You’re learning all about conjunction junction and G.I. Joe’s moral lesson of the week — knowing being half the battle and all. Your local network affiliate informs you that it’s time for a commercial break.
Ah the innocence of youth.
What you didn’t see coming is that the first 30 seconds of this ad block features the best and brightest from Nintendo’s R&D department watching a mouse fuck a portable video game console.
It ain’t porn if it’s animal sex, right? I mean, that’s some Discovery Channel shit right there.
“As Nintendo begins to take on new forms, it’s important that we can measure how addictive they truly are.”
What “new forms” are they referring to? When did Nintendo become a sex toy company?
If your common household rodent would rather fuck a Nintendo product than eat a wholesome slice of cheese, what behaviors can we expect from our Game Boy-toting children, particularly our moderation-resistant teens and pre-teens? I shudder to think that America’s young boys might lose their virginity to a battery powered Tetris delivery device, let alone one that features only a cold, unwelcoming 3.5mm headphone jack for relief.
Fast Forward to Safe, Modern Nintendo
Let’s assume for the sake of this article that the fellow in this ad that spends his nights dreaming about the new Zelda game’s name is Jimmy.
Jimmy seems like any other millennial. He has a loft apartment somewhere in the city, he’s got a guitar for the nights he practices with his indie band. He even has a retro-style rotary telephone next to his flatscreen television.
Seems like all those horrific Nintendo ads had little to no effect on present day Jimmy’s life, right?
It’s not bad enough that the first thing Jimmy does when he wakes up in the morning is play some Zelda while still in bed, he can’t even put the damn thing down long enough to do his dishes or eat a proper breakfast. Jimmy couldn’t care less that the Spring weather is outside waiting to be enjoyed, despite the somewhat overcast conditions. No, Jimmy has a date with Zelda today, just like yesterday and the day before.
And his social life? Forget it. Years of Nintendo console fucking have rendered Jimmy a basket case among his peers.
This post originally appeared on Advertising Week 360 on 4 April 2017.