Video games are still relatively new when compared to other mediums, though that doesn't mean that the industry hasn't evolved over time. The games industry wasn't always the goliath that it is now. Once upon a time, games were considered little more than a pastime for children, with very few games being marketed towards more mature audiences. However, some old ads have reemerged, and they're pretty strange when looking through a modern lens.
The ads in question were posted to Twitter by Jess Morrissette, a professor at Marshall University, and tout two games: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Flesh Gordon. Originally created in 1982, the ads promote the games as the first "violent and adult video games" for the Atari 2600. Needless to say, the ads are incredibly weird, and it's kind of funny to see just how far marketing has come in the past few decades. It is interesting that the ads are popping up now, as the debate over whether or not video games cause violent behavior is, once again, heating up.
The description for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre asks players to "put aside your childish pastimes" and "stop eating dots and chasing ghosts," a casual swipe at Pac-Man. And while The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ad is still odd, it's almost nothing compared to the Flesh Gordon one, which is considerably more NSFW. It tells people to take up the mantle of Flesh Gordon, the "immoral doer of good" in what is apparently the first "adult participatory game." Players are tasked with traversing planet Porno and overcoming "his protuberance, Wang." Finally, the ad urges players to "grab your joystick and play the hottest game on earth!"
"Wizard Video Games announces a new way to take out your frustrations!"— Jess Morrissette (@decafjedi) August 9, 2019
This 1982 advertisement for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and, ahem, Flesh Gordon proudly proclaims them to be "the first violent and adult video games" for the Atari 2600. pic.twitter.com/nNuqMJGnmm
However, only one of the games ever saw the light of day. Flesh Gordon was never actually released, though that's probably for the best. There likely would've been quite a bit of confusion among parents that meant to get their children cartridges of the actual Flash Gordon game. However, morbid curiosity does beg the question of if the game will ever have footage leak as the unreleased Terminator NES game did a few weeks ago.
It's kind of crazy to think of how far games have come in the past few decades. Now, older games like these are simply considered collector's items, with unopened copies of NES games selling for outrageous amounts recently. While there are still some marketing snafus in the industry, there hasn't been anything quite as bad as this in at least a few years, thankfully.