Next-Gen picks and ranks the cleverest marketing slogans in the history of interactive entertainment.
Videogames have seen their share of forgettable taglines over the years. In 1993, Atari challenged prospective buyers to "Do the math" when considering an upgrade to their not-quite 64-bit console, the Jaguar. Gamers "did the math," weren’t impressed, and decided to wait another year or so before upgrading to a PlayStation. Similarly, Nintendo told gamers to "Get N, or get out!" while promoting their third-generation console, the Nintendo 64- to which most people "got out" when compared to unit sales of Sony’s competing system.
But the industry has also seen its share of amusing, intelligent and effective taglines. Here are Next-Gen’s top 10 pics:
10. "Now you’re playing with power."
What did it take to save the videogame industry from 1983 bankruptcy? Power. Or at least the perceived power of the Nintendo Entertainment System, its creative spirit, and marketing muscle. Released in 1985 with the moniker "Now you’re playing with power," the NES was more an innovator than technical pioneer. It would set the modern standard for game design, reliance on a directional pad instead of a joystick, and third-party software licensing. Though Nintendo is no longer seen as the source of graphical and processing power in games, the expression can still be heard to this day.
9. "What’s your game?"
What’s the best way for to further popularize World of Warcraft, the #1 online game with more than 10 million paying subscribers? Introduce TV spots in late 2007 that feature Mr. T, William Shatner and Jean-Claude Van Damme all claiming to have Warcraft alter-egos. The commercials successfully transform the perceived nerdiness of playing WoW towards mainstream acceptance that can still laugh at itself. The spots run regularly during mass media sporting events and high profile programming. "What’s your game?" World of Warcraft, apparently.
8. "Life is short. Play more."
The most irreverent tagline on our list is also the most obscure. In 2002, the Independent Television Commission banned an original Xbox commercial from airing in the United Kingdom after a public outcry found the advertisement to be distasteful. The spot depicts an intensely labored mother giving birth to a boy. After a loud shrill, the new-born is fired like a projectile through the hospital window. While aging rapidly, the naked mammal orbits the earth several times before subsequently crashing into its own grave. "Life is short. Play more," encourages a cheeky Microsoft in the last frame. Pretty daring for the upstart console.
7. "Touching is Good"
Nintendo began its infatuation with advertising puns in 2004 when it released the Nintendo DS. The catchphrase, "touching is good," was about as far away from "Game Boy" as it got, and yet it still featured the same playful tone of the original handheld, while embracing the more accessible touch controls. Though the expression is no longer used by Nintendo, it displayed the company in a vastly different and inviting light – something that would help it zig while the others zagged, and subsequently propel the company to the gaming top once again.
6. "Genesis Does What Nintendon’t"
Upon releasing the Genesis in 1989, Sega flippantly named names while setting sights squarely on Nintendo. Rather than modestly comparing screenshots in its newest commercial, the budding hardware-maker went for the throat: "Genesis Does What Nintendon’t." Meaning 16-bit graphics are better than the incumbent NES, which was 8-bit. The motto immediately polarized players, gave birth to the console war, intensified fanboy loyalties, and positioned Nintendo as a kiddy platform, a stigma that the company continues to struggle with to this day.
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