That moment in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner hears a voice saying “If you build it, he will come” was really bad financial advice. You gotta advertise that sucker first before people will show up to hand over their hard-earned greenbacks. No matter how shitty the ad might be, the punters still gotta see what they’re getting first.
These cheesy vintage gaming ads from 1980’s Japan offered consumers a sense they were hot, sexy, in control, and (apparently) tough as fuck. Video games were a globalist wet dream. Here was a product like sport, movies, television, and pop music that created a global culture that offered the same experience to thumb-bandits in Tokyo as it did to those, in say, Moosefart, Montana. Here was the next evolutionary step from pinball machines.
History, traditional culture, and social standing were no longer the dominant forces in shaping young people’s lives. It was now about who could afford to buy a games consul and spend their money in gaming arcades. It was a revolutionary moment, unlike these ads for the likes of Nihon Bussan, Sega, and Capcom, which relied mainly on text, hot young women, muscled-up beefcake guys and dayglo bright colors to sell their shit.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Early advertising for arcade games was sexy… or… at least sexual, anyway
Vintage Japanese advertisement treasure trove
Growing up in arcades: 1979-1989
‘Arcade Attack’: It’s pinball vs. video games in AWESOMELY WEIRD 1982 animated sci-fi short
Awesome Japanese movie posters from the go-go Sixties
Kinky Japanese sexploitation of the 1960s: ‘The Weird Love Makers’ and ‘Madame O’
This set of erotic Japanese vintage matchbox covers is charming af