Now this is a great piece of advertising history; Paul Rudd standing before a giant outdoor screen and playing some Super Nintendo classics, awing the small crowd that has gathered to watch. The commercial was originally released in winter 1991 to drive holiday sales of the still-new gaming system. Clips and stills from classic games F-Zero, Sim City, Pilotwings, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past can be seen at different points in the ad’s 30 seconds of airtime.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in August of 1991 here in the states as a redesign of Japan’s Super Famicom. While the concept of “console wars” can be traced back to the earliest home gaming systems, the SNES’s console war with the Sega Genesis (Sega Mega Drive) is notable for being the first console war wherein one of the participants is still producing consoles. Sega got out of the hardware business after the sales of the Dreamcast seemed to languish despite its forward-thinking technologies.
Nintendo, of course has seen huge success with the Wii system, and adequate interest in its follow-up, the Wii U. One of the features of both systems that helps to maintain their sales numbers–besides a strong first-party offering of games–is the Virtual Console shop. Virtual Console was first offered on the Wii and it gave players a chance to download classic titles initially from the NES, the SNES, and the N64 systems as an opportunity to introduce an entirely new generation to some of the games you see above.
How great would it be if Nintendo released a dedicated channel on its newer systems just for retro ads like this one? It’s important to keep an eye on the past when you’re charting a course for the future!
And we would be remiss if we did not express our sadness about Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who passed away yesterday. Read Malik Forté’s reflections here.