Did the United States ban Dreamcast commercials from Japan? Find out on this episode of Game Fiction!
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🎮 Episode Synopsis (SPOILERS!)
Game Fiction #10 - Not As Advertised
Originally Released August 4, 2017
1. Acclaim offered $10,000 to the first family to name
their child after their game Turok - FACT
Acclaim isn't a stranger to outlandish marketing tactics. They tried putting ads on gravestones for Shadowman, painting logos on pigeons for Virtua Tennis 2, and paying for release day speeding tickets to help market Burnout 2. But in 2002, Acclaim ffered 10 grand to the first family to name their baby Turok to promote the release of their new game Turok: Evolution. The catch was that the child had to be born on September 1st, the same day Turok: Evolution was being released. It’s uncertain if anyone took them up on their offer. No one named Turok has ever come forward, and considering the small window for the contest, it’s doubtful anyone took them up on their offer. What’s known for sure is that their marketing gimmick didn’t work as well as they had hoped. Turok: Evolution was met with lackluster sales, and exactly 2 years later on September 1st, 2004, Acclaim announced that it had filed for bankruptcy.
2. Sega Dreamcast commercials were banned from
the United States - FICTION
Around the time of the Dreamcast’s release, a few rumors spread that there were several Dreamcast commercials banned from airing in the United States. Sega was spending 10s of millions of dollars on marketing their new console, and they were known for their extreme marketing style, so it wasn’t as far fetched to believe that a few of their ads had been banned in the west. To fuel the rumor further, it was revealed that there were in fact several commercials that were prevented from airing in the States - but not because of a ban. It turned out Sega themselves decided not to air the ads because they believed American audiences wouldn’t understand them. The commercials feature an actual director from Sega - Hidekazu Yukawa - getting teased by children about Sega’s past failures against Sony and Nintendo. The concept made sense in the context of Japanese culture where taking accountability for your failure is an extremely noble action. But in the US, these ads most likely would’ve left consumers scratching their heads as the ads would seem to encourage purchasing a Nintendo or Sony console over the Dreamcast.
3. A hot sauce company offered $100,000 to the first
person to play past the 256th level in Pac-Man - FACT
In November of 1999, the president of Rickey’s World Famous Sauce announced the company would pay $100,000 to the first gamer to get past level 256 in Pac-Man, aka the split-screen. The deadline was set for January 1st, 2000, and an additional $95,000 was set aside for anyone who could break decades-old high scores on 15 other classic titles. According to industry leaders, this was the first time prizes had been created for history’s greatest video games. But why was a hot sauce company holding a video game contest? As it turns out, the president of Rickey’s World Famous Sauce, Billy Mitchell, was a massive fan of video games, and in the early 1980s, Mitchell set several Guinness World Records for his gaming accomplishments. He was the first person to reach the split screen level 256 in Pac-Man. In 1983, he appeared in LIFE magazine as a video game star, and the following year he was named the World’s Most Famous Video Game Player. Mitchell was later crowned Player of the Century at the Tokyo Game Show in 1999 after he became the first person to achieve a perfect score in Pac-Man of 3,333,360 points. So, did anyone win the grand prize? The answer is no. Pac-Man stops at level 256 due to a memory bug/glitch in the software, therefore making it impossible to ever accomplish Billy’s challenge. But with $100k on the line, it didn’t stop people from trying.
Featuring music from And., Turok: Evolution, BoxCat Games, and Origami Repetik
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