Nowadays, merchandising tie-ins to popular kid genres are a given - if kids like something, 99% of the time they can wear sneakers with it's logo on it or eat cereal shaped like the characters.
Luckily, in today's world, the items at least have some semblance of sanity. While Pokemon cards might keep your kids from learning in school, at least no one's 'doing the Mario' anymore.
Back in the 80s and early 90s though, it was a whole different ballgame. Us video game kids were subjegated to some of the worst mass-marketing schemes of all time. It was like some collosal joke - the suits at Nintendo's headquarters just tried to figure out how stupid we could be. I found a transcipt of one of their old meetings...here it is:
Nintendo Guy 1: Well, we've already gotten these idiots to pay to see a movie that was nothing more than a 2 hour commercial for Super Mario Brothers III. I don't know how we'll top that.
Nintendo Guy 2: I've got an idea. We'll get the manufacturers to change Link's outfit to pink, and we'll start reselling the Zelda game as Zelda III: Link's Sister's Zany Hyrule Adventure!
Nintendo Guy 3: No, no...you've got it all wrong. We've really gotta test the limits. If those idiots were dumb enough to buy that racoon shit we called 'cereal', there's no telling what they'll buy.
Nintendo Guy 1: So what are you suggesting?
Nintendo Guy 2: Yeah, oh wise one with the knowledge, lay it on us!
Nintendo Guy 3: Okay...two words: Mario. Marionette.
Nintendo Guy 2: Holy shit that's awful!
Nintendo Guy 1: Yeah, this is even worse than the time we got Blanche Devereaux to be the spokesperson for those Mario ice cream bars!
Blanche: Yum! Thank you for being a friiiiennnnd...gonna start a NES ice cream trend....it might taste like glue, but it's blue, and it's Maaarrriooo...
Nintendo Guy 2: Ha! God these kids are idiots. They would've been better off eating the cellophane wrappers off the games than that shit.
Nintendo Guy 1: Hey, that was nothing compared to our little experiment with Mario-shaped cookie cutters...
George: I tells ya the three happiest days of mah life. One, winning my first boxing championship. Two, getting these fantastic Mario-shaped cookie cutters. And three...findin' out that I didn't have to run no ceramics class just cuz mah last name was Foreman. Hoojah!
Nintendo Guy 3: What were we fucking talking about?
Nintendo Guy 2: I've got no idea. Hey, isn't this the 80s? Wanna do some coke or get our names made into neon signs?
Nintendo Guy 1: No! We're not done sharing Nintendo memories! Christ, we really are marketing geniuses. Remember when those old Mario cereal bowls flunked? What did we do?
Nintendo Guy 2: HA! I can't believe all those idiots believed us when we said they made fashionable headgear...
Nintendo Guy 3: Wow, we've gotten waaay off track here. We've gotta figure out how to market these Mario marionettes.
Nintendo Guy 2: Yeah...kids are stupid, but this is really pushing it.
Nintendo Guy 1: Wait...wait...I think I've got it. What do kids like better than gum?
Nintendo Guy 2: Better than gum?! Nothing, of course!
Nintendo Guy 1: Exactly...so here's what we do. On the package, we slap a little sticker on it that says 'supported by ace gum chewers'.
Nintendo Guy 3: Shit! That's borderline poetic!
Nintendo Guy 1: Great, it's settled then. Mario Marionettes, with cross-advertising into the chewing gum genre. Whew! Okay, now about that coke...
We didn't just play the games, we turned into walking billboards for them. But hey, I guess we shouldn't complain about it. God knows we would've been out playing awful sports or staying in doing times tables if we didn't need to find out the significance of the Kraid statue in Metroid. /Me loves you, Nintendo.
Oddly, this post was supposed to be about Nintendo comic books. I got George Foreman in my head, and it all went downhill from there.
So yeah, Nintendo comic books. Got a nice surprise for you tonight. :) First, I welcome back Swanny to X-E, who did a pretty on-the-mark diatribe against the Captain N Nintendo tv show, which you can find here. The show was *basically* the same as the comic book. Only in the comic, the plots were even more inane. For example, one of the issues had the Eggplant Wizard hire an army of masked warriors to kill Captain N and his dog. When they got up to our heroes, they removed their masks to reveal that they were giant warriors cats with a 'no dog clause' in their contracts.
They're actually pretty funny if you read them cynically. I've took the time to scan and upload an entire issue of the original Captain N comic back from '90. It came out a lot better than expected - fully readable, full sized, page by page. I took out all the ads and useless crap, so you'll only be reading the death-defying adventures of Captain N and his cronies.
It's X-E's latest feature, and it can be found by clicking here.
More to come! Stay tuned..