Over the vacation season we’ll be republishing a sequence of Nintendo Life articles, interviews and different options from the earlier twelve months that we contemplate to be our Better of 2020. Hopefully, this gives you an opportunity to compensate for items you missed, or just take pleasure in trying again on a yr which did have some highlights — trustworthy!
This function was initially revealed in July 2020.
Final month the Philippines arm of KFC grabbed the headlines (effectively, our headlines no less than) when it created its personal KFC restaurant in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and invited its Twitter followers to go to its island, with the hope of discovering Colonel Sanders and getting a voucher code at no cost hen in actual life.
Whereas Nintendo clearly had nothing to do with this and the entire thing was only a advertising ploy conjured up by KFC, it’s removed from the primary time video video games have been related to meals manufacturers. In actual fact, ever because the very early days of dwelling console gaming – we’re speaking the Atari 2600 right here – there have been video games containing product placement for snacks. A few of these are delicate, others have complete video games constructed round them. Listed here are a few of our favourites.
This checklist is under no circumstances full: there are many different examples. Honourable mentions go to Loss of life Stranding and its notorious Monster Vitality consumables, Pepsiman on the PlayStation, Battle Night time Spherical 3 (which helps you to unlock the terrifying Burger King mascot to accompany you to the ring) and the unusual Area Invader-style Commodore 64 recreation Weetabix Versus the Titchies. Two video games we haven’t forgotten, although, are the Chester Cheetah video games for the SNES and Mega Drive, partly as a result of although they star the Cheetos mascot, they don’t truly point out Cheetos at any level.
That mentioned: sit again, seize an ice chilly refreshing Irn Bru™, and revel in.
Zool – Chupa Chups
There are two examples of snack meals product placement in video games that many individuals cite on a regular basis, so let’s begin with these. Most likely probably the most generally talked about (particularly in Europe) is Zool, the fast-paced platformer starring a ninja from the Nth Dimension which was initially launched on the Amiga earlier than coming to a bunch of different programs together with the SNES and Mega Drive.
The primary world in Zool has a sweet theme, and the stage is completely full of desserts, sweet video games, gingerbread and chocolate so far as the attention can see. Deciding to show this right into a advertising alternative, writer Gremlin Graphics organized a take care of Spanish lollipop firm Chupa Chups and slapped its lollies and emblem all around the stage,
For those who owned Zool on the SNES and are a bit confused about all this, you most likely lived in North America. The Chupa Chups sponsorship was eliminated solely from NTSC variations of the sport, whereas the European PAL SNES model nonetheless has its huge garish logos proudly beaming out at you.
James Pond 2: Codename Robocod – Penguin
The opposite occasion of snack sponsorship that commonly will get introduced up is the presence of Penguin biscuits in Millennium Interactive’s much-loved platformer James Pond 2: Codename Robocod, which starred everybody’s favorite piscine protagonist as he makes an attempt to rescue Santa Claus from the evil Dr Possibly.
For these not conversant in Penguins, they’re a model of chocolate biscuit which were part of British tea-drinking tradition since they have been first produced within the early 1930s. For a sure era of Brit the advertising slogan “p-p-pick up a Penguin” is broadly recognised, although most individuals don’t truly get what meaning. In actual fact, most don’t know why they’re referred to as Penguins within the first place.
Regardless, as a result of Robocod entails discovering penguins at varied factors, massive Penguin biscuit wrappers will be present in sure phases in 90s variations of the sport (they have been eliminated for the GBA, PlayStation and DS variations launched within the 2000s). It’s a fairly tenuous hyperlink, however it’s reported that Penguins outsold Package-Kats within the UK for the primary time after Robocod launched. We’re undecided we imagine that, thoughts.
Bubba ‘n’ Stix – Bubbilicious
For those who dwell in North America and are beginning to really feel a bit neglected, right here’s one for you. Bubba ‘n’ Stix is a puzzle-platformer that was developed by Core Design. Though Core additionally revealed the sport in most areas, when it got here to the Mega Drive model (or Genesis, if you’ll) Tengen took over publishing duties in America.
Tengen additionally negotiated a sponsorship take care of Bubbilicious bubble gum, with an enormous sticker on the duvet telling individuals they may win a Sega CD console in the event that they purchased particular packs of Bubbilicious and entered the competitors on the wrapper. To ensure the deal went each methods, the sport’s bonus stage included massive packs of Bubbilicious which could possibly be collected for bonus factors.
For those who’re sitting within the UK and scratching your head in any respect this, that’s as a result of none of this occurred in Europe. There was no Bibbilicious tie-in in PAL areas, and the Bubbilicious collectibles have been nowhere to be discovered within the bonus phases. It wasn’t any nice loss, although, so don’t fear.
Superfrog – Lucozade
This Group17 platformer got here to the Amiga in 1993 and informed the story of a good-looking younger prince who’s was a frog by a witch, who then kidnaps his girlfriend for good measure. As he sits by the aspect of the river feeling sorry for himself the frog spots a bottle of (famed UK vitality drink) Lucozade floating downstream, so he picks it up and takes a drink and, lo and behold, turns into the heroic Superfrog.
Lucozade doesn’t simply function within the intro sequence: bottles of the stuff will be discovered dotted round every of the sport’s ranges and can restore Superfrog’s well being when he picks it up. Which is smart, on condition that again within the day Lucozade was historically what you have been presupposed to deliver as a present once you have been visiting sick individuals in hospital.
Quite a few years later Lucozade teamed up with one other British gaming icon, and this time it was a biggie: a TV advert marketing campaign noticed Lara Croft ingesting the stuff, and the drink was renamed Larazade for a restricted time. It by no means truly appeared in any Tomb Raider video games, although, which is why we’re going with Superfrog as a substitute.
Pushover – Quavers
It’s changing into fairly clear by now that Britain within the early ‘90s seemingly had some form of obsession with placing snacks in video video games, and Ocean Software program’s puzzle recreation Pushover didn’t actually do something to vary that. This time the model in query was Quavers, the floaty crisp snack that tasted like tacky air, and in addition included Quavers’ then mascot Colin Curly.
Colin’s misplaced his packets of Quavers down a large anthill so it’s as much as a soldier ant referred to as G. I. Ant (hah) to enter mentioned anthill and retrieve mentioned curly potato puffs, which he did by knocking over a bunch of dominos in what’s truly a fiendishly troublesome puzzler.
After a stint on the Amiga, Pushover got here to the SNES with all of the Quavers branding eliminated. Colin Curly, in the meantime, would go on to star in one other Amiga recreation referred to as One Step Past, which was additionally full of Quavers branding. Hardly anybody appears to eat Quavers lately, and we’re placing that straight all the way down to the shortage of an HD remaster of Pushover.
Cool Spot – 7 Up
Right here’s one which’s delicate (no less than till you attain its bonus stage). Cool Spot is an entertaining platform recreation starring – prepare for this – the crimson dot on the 7 Up emblem. Sure, slap a pair of sun shades and a few legs and arms on that dot and you’ve got one of many funkiest mascots on the town. Or one thing.
For probably the most half, Cool Spot is a reasonably innocuous platformer: you must discover the sport’s quite a few phases in quest of your fellow Spot friends, who’ve been imprisoned in cages, presumably as a consequence of their comparative lack of coolness. It isn’t till you attain the bonus stage – the place you’re trapped in a large 7 Up bottle and need to bounce off bubbles to succeed in the highest whereas spelling out its advertising slogan UNCOLA – that the tie-in reveals its true type.
The European variations of the sport had all of the 7 Up branding eliminated (beginning to see a theme right here?), primarily as a result of 7 Up’s mascot in Europe was one other character referred to as Fido Dido and it was determined to not confuse issues. Within the bonus phases, as a substitute of UNCOLA you needed to spell out VIRGIN. Cease laughing, that’s who revealed it.
M.C. Youngsters – McDonalds
For those who thought McDonald’s wasn’t going to attempt to get entangled on this helpful new strategy to market on to kids, we admire your naïvety, however no. M. C. Youngsters (generally known as the marginally much less delicate McDonaldland in Europe) was a serviceable platformer that contained extra huge M’s than Mario’s hatstand.
Ronald McDonald’s magic bag has been stolen, so it is as much as two plucky younger tykes referred to as Mick and Mack to enter McDonaldland and attempt to get it again. Alongside the best way they encounter different characters from the McDonald’s Cinematic Universe™ together with Grimace, Birdie and the infamous Hamburglar (who’s the one chargeable for stealing the bag within the first place).
Mick and Mack returned in World Gladiators, an environmentalist Mega Drive recreation through which that they had to make use of a water gun to clear up slime and varied different varieties of poisonous gunk so as to clear the world up. Whereas amassing extra golden arches, clearly.
Chase the Chuck Wagon – Purina
For those who assume snack tie-ins have been primarily a ‘90s phenomenon, you’re in for a shock: within the early ‘80s the standard Atari 2600 had its fair proportion of sponsored video games too. These included unusual accumulate ‘em up Kool-Support Man and the extraordinarily uncommon Pepsi Invaders, a Area Invaders clone created by Coca-Cola to be handed out at its 1983 gross sales conference.
The oddest instance of the Atari 2600 period, although, is probably Chase the Chuck Wagon. For those who have been an American citizen within the ‘70s and ‘80s you have been most likely conscious of a TV business for Purina pet food through which a canine chases just a little chuckwagon (it was referenced firstly of This Is Spinal Faucet as effectively, and Household Man spoofed it at one level as a result of in fact it did).
Purina commissioned recreation writer Spectravision to make a recreation primarily based on this business, and it was programmed in a mere three days, so sure, it was terrible. It was a mail order recreation, and will solely be purchased when you despatched in proof of buy labels for Purina pet food merchandise. Which form of defeats the aim of the sport if individuals are already shopping for the stuff.
Biker Mice from Mars – Snickers
The Biker Mice From Mars recreation is one thing of a hidden gem on the SNES: it’s an isometric racing recreation developed by Konami and it’s full of power-ups and all that great things. It’s additionally infamous, nevertheless, for being the one recreation on this checklist that’s a TV present tie-in with a snack tie-in included. We imagine the phrase is “yo dawg, we heard you appreciated tie-ins”, or no less than it might be if it was 2008.
In actual fact, not solely did the Biker Mice recreation have a snack sponsorship – in only one area, naturally – it was additionally a uncommon case of a sponsorship that really affected the gameplay. The PAL model of the sport had Snickers branding slapped throughout it, however you possibly can additionally choose up a Snickers power-up which was by far probably the most highly effective within the recreation: it makes you invincible, speeds you up and makes fireworks seem.
In line with the final theme of this text, the North American model of the sport didn’t have any Snickers sponsorship. This meant that it additionally didn’t have the power-up, nevertheless, making it a barely more durable recreation in consequence. Oh Snickers, you rascals.
Kaettekita Mario Bros. – Nagatanien
Lastly, it could shock you to study that not even our good pal Mario has been ready to withstand the clutches of snack sponsorship previously. The offender in query was Kaettekita Mario Bros., an enhanced port of Mario Bros. for the Famicom Disk System that made some notable enhancements together with new ranges and the flexibility to vary course in mid-air (which, when you’ve performed Mario Bros, you’ll know is a literal game-changer).
Nonetheless, it additionally added ads in between among the ranges. A few of these adverts have been for different Nintendo video games, most notably Tremendous Mario Bros. 3 (which had simply been launched on the Famicom a month earlier). Others, nevertheless, have been for meals merchandise created by Nagatanien, a Japanese firm who specialised in premixed and instantaneous meals (miso soup combine, sushi toppings and the like).
What’s extra, it included a particular Nagatanien World mode, which provides a slot machine once you get Recreation Over which supplies you the prospect to proceed enjoying. If gamers scored 100,000 or 200,000 factors on this mode, they’d even be given a promotional code that they may mail in to Nintendo to attempt to win a replica of Tremendous Mario Bros. Three or some enjoying playing cards. We’re not indignant at you, Mario; we’re simply disillusioned.
Have these blatant snack sponsorships left you feeling just a little peckish? Tell us which different model offers you’ve got observed in video games with a remark under…