Video game ads from the 1980s and 1990s reflected the technology and culture of the time. They often featured bold, colorful designs and catchy slogans that aimed to capture the attention of potential buyers. The ads were primarily designed to promote the latest games for home consoles, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), and arcade games.
Nintendo was one of the most notable brands in video game advertising during the 1980s and 1990s. The company’s ads often featured characters from its popular games, such as Mario and Zelda, and emphasized the fun and excitement of playing the games. Nintendo’s ads were often colorful and playful, appealing to children and adults.
Sega, a competitor of Nintendo, had a different approach in their advertising; they positioned themselves as the “cool” alternative to Nintendo, targeting a teenage and young adult audience. They often used the slogan “Genesis does what Nintendo doesn’t” and focused on the power of their console and the more mature games it offered.
Another notable brand in video game advertising during this period was Atari. Atari’s ads often featured images of the company’s classic games, such as Asteroids and Missile Command, and emphasized these games’ nostalgia and timeless appeal.
In addition to these major brands, many smaller companies produced video games for home consoles and arcade machines. These companies often had more limited advertising budgets, and their ads were less prominent in popular media.
In terms of design, the ads from the 1980s and 1990s had a very distinct aesthetic, and they were heavily influenced by the neon-lit, flashy and bold style of the era. The ads were often illustrated with colorful and stylized graphics, featuring larger-than-life characters and fantastical settings. The copy often focused on the fun and excitement of playing the games and promised hours of entertainment for the whole family.