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RETRO REPLAY ► Uninspiring PS Vita advert appears – We look back at some great gaming ads!

The Gadget Helpline: RETRO REPLAY feature will bring you a weekly throwback to the days of old school gaming and will present a little history on the new wave of classic titles currently getting a revival on our modern gaming gadgets.

However.. Once again we’re taking a slightly different tack. Read on!

Japan has got its first advert promoting Sony’s Next Generation Portable, the PS Vita – and it’s truly one of the most uninspiring pre-release promos we’ve ever seen for a games platform.

The 15 second clip features a cyclist pedalling across an urban skyline. At the beginning the 17.12 Japanese release date for the PS Vita console flashes up, filling the whole screen in a simplified text – looking like it was pasted in as an afterthought in Window Movie Maker. As the cyclist rides on, the landscape appears to collapse in on itself, but it’s just a trick of the light, with cube-like segments of the Earth looking like it’s falling to reveal the words “PS Vita – Playstation..” and another word which is obscured (possibly “Japan”). At the end of the clip, Japanese wording appears which translates to “The Future of Gaming Will Change”. And…. that’s it. It’s not really that interesting or exciting at all.


The PS Vita is Sony’s second venture into the handheld market (if we forget the several PSP variants) and we expected a little more innovation in the portable’s promotion from the company that brought us the bizarre little alien girl with a Scottish accent who told us about the ‘human endeavour’ ahead of the UK launch of the original Playstation. The ad never mentioned the console, but was highly talked about for its strangeness and helped spread excitement for the Sony’s console without actually showing of the goods. The advert was created by controversial music video director Chris Cunningham who has worked with names such as the weird warbler Bjork and the DJ Aphex Twin.

And how can we forget the truly moving “Michael” campaign, which surfaced only recently and featured an epic collection of Playstation’s legendary characters recalling their war stories and victories while under the leadership of their beloved player, Michael. This one truly got the hearts of the gamers. Grown men wept over this awe-inspiring piece of advertising.

The Gadget Helpline covered another recent classic just this week, with the “eggciting” teaser trailer for the reboot of the Codemasters puzzler adventure game Dizzy, which featured some obscured glimpses of familiar 80s home computing paraphernalia and that topped off with that nostalgia-inspiring loading sound that famously accompanied those vintage cassette games.

There have, or course, been examples of how getting an advert banned can cause unrivalled hype for a gaming gadget as proven true by Microsoft in advance of the classic Xbox (which incidentally was ten years old last week – check out that Retro Replay feature). The ad is question saw a woman in labour firing a baby from between her legs, which then flies through the air – aging as it goes from boy to man. He finally crashes into a stone grave plot as the words “Life is Short” appears in the familiar Xbox type. Once again the console wasn’t even shown in the advertising and only the logo appears briefly near the end.

This writer and old school gamer will always recall fondly the early-90s British advert for SEGA’s Mega Drive which via catchy jingle advises ‘If you wanna be a SEGA nut – get yourself a cyber razor cut”. However, still to this day I have no F’N idea what a ‘cyber razor cut’ actually looks like!

Finally, let’s give a mention to Nintendo, who went a completely different route before the release of Super Mario Bros 3, which gamers got a first glimpse of in the Fred Savage movie The Wizard. Intended to resemble a modern-day (80s) version of Roger Daltrey film Tommy – the movie-makers partnered up with Nintendo to produce a 90 minute advert for Ninty wares including the soon-to-be released Mario game, tag-team arse-kicker Double Dragon and the ultra-cool Power Glove – “It’s so bad.”


Last week’s special Retro Replay feature covered the early days of Microsoft’s original Xbox in celebration of the console’s tenth anniversary!

Be sure to read the Gadget Helpline’s Gaming Weekly – We’ve got the latest news bytes and a unique commentary on events in the gaming world – right here!

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