One would imagine that when a video game is purchased, it is mission accomplished as far as all of those behind the game is concerned. However, there are many cases where video games are produced, marketed and sold with an ulterior motive and that is to push a particular product or agenda.
While product placement in gaming is far from common, these 10 games made it very clear what they wanted to sell putting their product first, and in many cases, a quality game second. These are 10 advertisements disguised as video games.
10 Cool Spot
7UP wanted nothing more but to be the “cool” soda on the block, so they partnered with Virgin Interactive to release a platformer featuring the titular Spot. In Cool Spot, the 7UP mascot must rescue his brethren from captivity all while reminding everyone that 7UP is the way to go.
Unlike many of the other games on this list, Cool Spot and its sequel Spot Goes to Hollywood were enjoyable titles that were visually impressive and had great soundtracks to boot. Cool Spot is worth a playthrough, one that is no doubt enhanced by the cool, crisp and refreshing taste of 7UP.
9 Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool
While nobody finds it cool to be covered in the powdered remnants of a Cheetos bag, certainly a game starring the cheese puff peddling Chester Cheetah searching for missing motorcycle parts would ooze cool.
As Chester, players must navigate each level to put his motorcycle back together and remembering to consume as many Cheetos as possible to keep his health up, which is a must in this meandering platformer with wonky controls and uninspiring levels. On top of that, Chester moves painfully slow for being a cheetah, though it’s unclear if its a result of a steady diet of Cheetos or poor game design.
This title was only released in Japan, but this weird game has garnered a cult following in the years since. Pepsiman put players in command of Japan’s mascot for Pepsi as he ran through stages collecting bottles of Pepsi, but only to later run away from giant Pepsi’s as to avoid being crushed.
Pepsiman would also feature bizarre cutscenes featuring an obese American consuming an ungodly amount of Pepsi, saying incoherent statements such as “Pepsi for TV games,” among other things. The game was recently featured in the long-running Angry Video Game Nerd web series.
7 Drac’s Night Out
Count Dracula’s castle is under siege, and with limited power-ups and time running out to survive the onslaught, his only hopes are… Reebok Pumps?
This unreleased oddity for the NES tried to make the point loud and clear that Reebok pumps were the only thing that could save the beleaguered Count from certain death, with the shoes granting him increased mobility and higher jumps, must like the shoes purported during their heyday. Drac’s Night Out exists through reproduction cartridges but should be reserved for hardcore vampire fans and sneaker freaks.
6 Chex Quest
Whether one is a Rice Chex or Corn Chex kind of person, many would have been shocked to see a modified version of Doom as a pack-in for the flavorless, bland cereal. Chex Quest isn’t just a knockoff of Final Doom, it is practically the exact same game reskinned and violence toned down for kids.
Quest is probably the best game on the list for those reasons, and it has gained such a large cult following that modders have continued to keep the game alive for better or worse. Without a doubt, finding a copy of Chex Quest in a cereal box must be the best cereal toy in the history of the industry.
5 Yo! Noid
Perhaps the most hated of all mascots of the 1980s, Domino’s Pizza gave us the Noid, an obnoxious clown that was out to steal pizza at any cost. In Yo! Noid, the Noid’s evil twin is running amok of New York City and the mayor tasks Noid with defeating his twin with a reward of--wait for it-- a giant pizza.
This hard to control platformer featured pizza-eating mini games and a coupon for future orders of Domino’s. Much like Chex Quest, fans of the original game would keep its memory alive as an unofficial sequel would be released almost two decades later.
With a title like McKids, there should be little to investigate as to who made it and what point they are trying to get across. Littered with golden arches throughout multiple levels, McKids is a second-rate knockoff of Super Mario Bros. 3 that takes place in McDonald’s Land in hopes that the kids can foil the plans of the nefarious Hamburgler.
Despite its lack of originality, McKids featured co-op play and some nifty quirks such as inverted gravity and was released to slightly positive reviews. The game would be repackaged for the Game Boy as Spot: The Cool Adventure swapping out McDonalds for 7UP.
3 Chase the Chuck Wagon
Back in 1983, the video game industry crashed so hard that many thought the industry was beyond repair in North America. While there were many contributing factors to the fabled crash, one of the big reasons was because of the lack of quality control that lead to the creation of games like Chase the Chuck Wagon, a game commissioned at the behest of dog food maker Alpo.
With enough proofs of purchase, this crudely assembled Frogger clone could grace the collection of countless Atari games that brought the industry to a standstill until Nintendo resuscitated it with the release of the original Nintendo Entertainment System a few years later.
2 America’s Army
Propaganda in its finest form, America’s Army was made as a recruiting tool by the US Army and was released across multiple platforms to critical acclaim. Placing the emphasis on realistic, tactical action, this game was lauded for its squad-based mechanics and was incredible depth for a game of this type.
As players rank up, they’d get access to certain skills and abilities much like soldiers in active duty, giving players the most immersive experience possible of what Army soldiers face in the field. Though the series has dropped off for nearly a decade, a new version is in the cards for a 2021 release.
1 UFO Kamen Yakisoban
Whether it’s an all-night gaming session or the breakfast of champions for college students, Nissin’s UFO ramen noodles are known the world over.
Shockingly, Nissin’s noodles grew so popular that its mascot found himself as the lead character in the ridiculous side-scrolling brawler UFO Kamen Yakisoban for the Super Famicom in Japan. Armed with a sauce gun, seaweed flakes and even a unicycle, the titular Yakisoban must rescue his captured bride with the power of all things ramen. This is a weird game that needs to be seen to give it justice.