Sunday, March 28, 2021

Retro Arcade Flyers and Advertisements Part 1!


Arcade flyers and arcade advertisements are an art form in their own right. Part of this is because the audience for them was not the general public, but arcade operators. Buzz word phrases like “top earning” or “number one” tend to adorn these advertisements as they try to convince operators that their game is a wise investment. Sprinkle in some airbrush art and hardware specifications and you end up with the essential 80’s arcade advertisement. As a part of a recurring article, today we are going to look at three retro arcade flyers/advertisements.

VS. Platoon Kit (1988)

I am guessing that when most people think about Nintendo's VS. platform, Platoon doesn't come to mind. Honestly, I never realized there was VS. version of Platoon until I came across this advertisement on eBay. I was immediately taken aback by all of the film accolades plastered on the flyer. The bold "BEST VS. KIT 1989!" had me scratching my head. Was this seriously the best VS. kit? A little research shows that Platoon was one of the later games released for the Nintendo VS. system. Add numerous operators after the crash trying to bring in revenue and the bold boasting about the film's accolades in the advertisement and you possibly could end up with VS. Platoon being a hit. 

However, if you were unfortunate enough to play Platoon on the Nintendo Entertainment System you probably still remember the frustrating controls, annoying trip wires, and enemies that pop out of nowhere. As a parent you might be scratching your head as to why a company would develop a game based on such a controversial, kid unfriendly movie. I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall when making a video game version of Platoon was pitched.

"The Sign of the Times" Playchoice (1989)

Here we have a very interesting ad that addresses Nintendo's transition from its VS. hardware to the Playchoice hardware. I love the image of the VS. billboard being covered up with a Playchoice billboard. Look closely and you will see the person changing the flyer has "R & D" on their back, a not so subtle reference to Nintendo Research and Development. The backside goes into detail about how operators can upgrade their VS. units with Playchoice hardware. Note that this ad is from 1989, the same year that Platoon was the "best VS. Kit 1989!"


VS. Hogan's Alley and Vs. Duck Hunt (1985)

Ah, airbrushing. Whether it's on a denim jacket down at the Jersey Shore or on the back of Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart's jacket, I can't get enough of airbrush art! The front of this add includes dual montage art for both Duck Hunt and Hogan's Alley. There's just something about the pseudo depth one can obtain with an airbrush that makes this ad pop. 

The back of this advertisement again focuses on the money you can save by purchasing VS. hardware and taking advantage of the plug and play games. Whether an operator has the single monitor VS. Unisystem or the dual monitor Dualsystem, the ad covers all possible options. 

Oh, and as a bonus, you can shoot the dog in the VS. version of Duck Hunt! Thank you for reading about arcade flyers and advertisements. Be sure to check back next week for a new post!

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