It really should not be too much to ask that the people who produce the ads for video games have at least a moderate understanding of the product for which they are producing advertising, right? And yet we see this kind of thing repeatedly across pop culture, as the people who are tasked with inserting video games into some other medium just grab a couple of things for props and think nothing of it. They know the average non-gamer isn’t going to have a clue, because they themselves are average non-gamers, and are lacking in the clue department. It’s the sort of stuff we love pointing out, because what’s funnier than a constipation-faced Jerome Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers holding a game controller in his big, meaty paws?
At first glance, it looks so innocent, doesn’t it? There’s poor running back Jerome, up past his bed time, because like every football player he just can’t put down a game that allows him to play with himself. I know the feeling. And the games they’re advertising up there are pretty serious sports titles as well: NFL Football Pro and NFL Legends ’98 on the PC, plus NFL GameDay ’98 on the PlayStation. You could really work up a sweat playing those titles, even if you were a future hall of famer. They’re so serious, Jerome plum forgot to eat his before-bed cookie snack!
But half a moment now–what’s that he’s holding? That’s no PC controller; that isn’t a PlayStation DualShock; that’s a Genesis game pad–one of the three-button ones, no less. Now, that’s understandable. I mean, Jerome starred in a few titles on the Genesis, like Unnecessary Roughness ’95 and Madden ’96. But this ad comes from the November, ’97 issue of GamePro magazine, and it’s not hawking anything on a Sega console. WTF, ad guys? You figured out how to set a clock to 2:22 in the morning, but nobody in the props department could find a single PS1 controller? Like, you couldn’t even borrow one from your kid for a couple hours? Nobody responsible for making the games you’re advertising took a look at this image before giving it their blessing and paying to run it, full page, in one of the biggest gaming mags of the day?
Oh well. If you can’t take your jobs seriously, then you can expect to be mocked 18 years in the future when we resurrect your silly failure for the whole internet to laugh at. Nice going guys, and from all of us at RGM, thank you for making another Wacky Wednesday possible.