Last night, Nintendo unveiled a brief Super Mario Odyssey "musical" that doubles nicely as a trailer / commercial for the game. The video is half choreographed dance number and half gameplay footage. Give it a look if you haven't already; it's a great way to spend a couple of minutes.
It's interesting to observe how game advertising has changed across the years, particularly across Nintendo's long history. There was a time when commercials were the best way to make your game known to the masses, and while commercials are still relevant, internet videos and social media need to work hard to grab eyeballs, too.
I think the Super Mario Odyssey commercial is well-tailored for all media. It'd have to be cut down to fit into a standard 30-second TV spot, but a good editor wouldn't have trouble finding material to work with. There's a Broadway-style dance going on, exciting footage of the game, and a catchy-as-heck song that Nintendo re-introduces into society whenever it suspects I've purged my last "1-UP Girl" ear worm.
In fact, Mario Odyssey's latest trailer deserves a spot amongst Nintendo's best ads, commercials, and campaigns. These are the spots that made you say "Man, I needed this game in my hands yesterday."
Chime in if you have any of your own!
Japan's commercial for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The new commercial for Mario Odyssey reminds me a good deal of this gem. I wonder if that's not on purpose. I don't know what I love more about this spot: The gloomy, smoke-filled set, the epic rubber monster costumes (that Ganon!), the hypnotic, perfectly-choreographed dance, or the rap itself—which, by the way, returned A Link Between Worlds' Japanese commercial.
The commercial for Super Mario Bros 3
This might be Nintendo's best-known ad. It's kind of perfect; I don't know what I can ad to it. Rest assured, I was nowhere near owning an NES by the time hype for Mario 3 reached its peak, and this commercial made me burn with envy. Worse, the Canadian version of the ad reminds you there's three Mario games. Three games I desired more than a man in the desert desires water, and couldn't have any of them! Thanks, Nintendo!
The commercial for the Super Nintendo (Featuring Paul Rudd and Tony Jay)
The successor for the NES was pitched to us by Ant Man and Megabyte several years before either actor fell into their better-known roles. Not that we gave a damn about the mysterious voice or the goony-haired kid playing the SNES for us. We were just taken in by that dark, Blade Runner-esque atmosphere, the sight of all those fancy new games, and the very prospect of playing them on a drive-in screen on an inexplicably windy day.
("Paul, get'cher ass back in the house, there's a hurricane a-comin'!" "IN A SECOND MAW, I'M PLAYIN' WITH SUPER POWER!")
The Wii and "Wii would like to play" catchphrase
Games and consoles looked and felt very familiar by 2006. The industry wasn't in a rut, exactly, but exciting new ideas were in short supply. So when Nintendo sent a couple of polite Japanese men to our houses, it's no wonder we opened their doors and said "Sure, what the hell. Come on in and show us what you've got."
Nintendo's famous Wii commercials do a great job demonstrating the system's motion control gimmick. It's easy to see why the spots prompted people to pick up Wii Sports in record numbers. I kind of want these guys to return and ask us if we'd like to "Switch it on" or something like that.
The commercial for Star Fox
Star Fox clearly shows its age here and now, but it was impressive stuff in 1993. The commercial makes the game look even more mind-blowing by speeding up the footage just a smidge, cough cough.
But even without the helping hand, Star Fox wasn't a hard sell for the SNES. The commercial above makes good use of the game's more striking areas, like Titania's sunset and Venom's suspended highway. Top it all off with a jab at Sega and a promise (threat?) to physically turn players into a space-faring furry, and you've got a great ad.