Over the years, the video game industry has seen its fair share of commercials. Some are funny on purpose and some are so odd or awkward that they happen to be hilarious, even if that was not the original intention of the marketing execs that dreamed them up.
When it comes to humor, video game commercials are not always an easy platform. Getting people to laugh at a product but still find it appealing is a real challenge, but there are some commercials that have made us laugh more than others.
These 10 commercials in particular are the funniest video game commercials we’ve ever seen.
10. Call of Duty KillCameraman
High quality game commercials are hard to come by nowadays. YouTubers generate a ton of free advertisement for game developers, and most of the time commercials mostly stick to story-focused CGI trailers or glimpses of gameplay set to annoying songs. However, thanks to the massive sales of the Call of Duty franchise, Activision has spared no expense with its advertising campaigns.
Most recently, this has included a hilarious live action trailer for the Havoc DLC for Advanced Warfare called KillCameraman. This commercial showcases the harrowing career of the brave man in charge of operating the famous “KillCam”, Randall Higgins.
9. Ratchet & Clank Weapons in Real Life
While the trailer for Ratchet & Clank on PS4 has plenty of flash and sizzle, it doesn’t quite beat the funny ad campaign that Insomniac and Sony ran to promote the game’s original release on the PlayStation 2. The commercials featured a group of idiots screwing around with the game’s creative weaponry, which resulted in, among other things, turning their friend into a chicken. The weapons “were not fit for this world”, but they were good for plenty of laughs back in the day.
8. Animal Crossing Real World
Nintendo has had some of the most memorable and funny game commercials ever, and this one advertising Animal Crossing on GameCube is one of the most memorable, funniest, and also, weirdest. Serving as a parody of the MTV hit reality show The Real World, find out what happens when four friends stop being themselves and start being someone else!
7. Crash Bandicoot Invades Nintendo
Back in the day, companies constantly took potshots at one another in commercials, with some of the famous examples being Sega’s “Sega Does What Nintendon’t” campaign. And while we’ve seen some rumblings of a renewed console war this generation, things haven’t been the same.
Sony also partook in the console wars once it joined the industry with their first console, the PlayStation. And what better way to go after Nintendo than by sending PlayStation’s mascot at the time, Crash Bandicoot, to yell at the Nintendo of America headquarters with a megaphone?
6. Nothing’s Hotter than Atari This Summer
Is there a better way to advertise a video game system than to zoom in on a couple of bikini-clad women dancing to a boombox on a beach while three guys stare in absolute amazement? Atari must not have been able to answer this question, as that’s exactly what happens in this classic commercial for the Atari 5200, in an ad that practically strangles you with its 80’sness.
Unfortunately for Atari, this goofy commercial wasn’t enough to convince people to “upgrade” to the 5200 and its terrible controller, as the 5200 was a complete and utter flop and definitely contributed to the infamous video game crash of 1983.
5. Batman: Arkham City Wal-Mart Commercial
In 2011, Wal-Mart ran a series of ads featuring two neighbors talking on the phone, discussing the latest big game. While all of these were varying degrees of funny, the most amusing is by far the extended version of the Batman: Arkham City commercial, with the neighbors exchanging quick-witted insults back and forth, while both claiming to be the best at being Batman.
4. Zelda Rap
Earlier we said Nintendo has had some of the funniest gaming commercials in history, and they certainly have, though this Zelda rap from the mid 1980’s may not have been funny on purpose, necessarily. The rap itself is extremely awkward and cringe-worthy, and capped off with the ridiculous tagline, “the Nintendo Entertainment System. Your parents help you hook it up!” Maybe Nintendo should do an updated version of the commercial, with the same people reacting to the graphics in The Legend of Zelda on Wii U?
3. “So Happy Together” Super Smash Bros. Commercial
Nintendo’s streak of amusing game commercials continues with this gem from the ’90s, an advertisement for the original Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64. Set to the tune of “So Happy Together”, it features some of Nintendo’s most iconic mascots brutalizing each other in a field of flowers. It’s probably a good thing that Nintendo’s advertising for Smash is a bit more epic nowadays, with cool character reveals like Mega Man often being the focus, but we wouldn’t object to another live action brawl to promote the next game in the series.
2. Sonic 2 Infomercial
Sega’s most famous advertising campaign is “Sega Does What Nintendon’t”, but their best commercial is definitely this infomercial promoting a Sega Genesis bundle that included both the original Sonic the Hedgehog as well as Sonic the Hedgehog 2. As the infomercial points out, Sonic 2 has a lot of extra uses beyond just being a video game!
While it’s not exactly a commercial, Sega still knows funny, if their recent video of Shia LaBeouf motivating Sonic the Hedgehog is any indication.
1. Kevin Butler
Sony’s Vice President of Everything, Kevin Butler (portrayed by actor Jerry Lambert) is probably the greatest character created specifically for a series of video game commercials in history. The Kevin Butler ads hold up thanks to their wit and for being genuinely funny, and the popularity of Kevin Butler even saw Sony bring the character to life in one of E3’s greatest moments.
Sadly, the relationship between Jerry Lambert and Sony ended with legal issues, which came with the stipulation that Lambert couldn’t appear in any other video game commercials for at least two years. Hopefully one day Sony and Lambert can bury the hatchet and we can see the return of Kevin Butler to spearhead a PS4 ad campaign.
These 10 commercials are the funniest video game commercials ever, offering genuine laughs, whether that was the intention of the suits in marketing or not. Humor is a great way to make a product stick in the consumer’s mind, and there’s a reason we still remember these commercials, some dating back to the early 1980’s, to this day.
Did your favorite video game commercial make the list? Let us know in the comments below!