This month marks the five-year anniversary of GamesRadar, and to celebrate, we’re bringing back some of our favorite past features. When this feature first posted back in 2009, we were using a video player that was… less than optimal. So here it is again, now with a lovely new player. If you missed it then, give each of these videos a watch – they’re laced with ‘90s memories!
Nintendo is known for producing unintentionally hilarious promotional videos. In the mid-to-late ‘90s the company pumped out at least one VHS tape a year, each of which focused on the newest, greatest upcoming game. Some have become quite famous since then, sprouting on YouTube and message boards across the net.
Above: The most famous example, a DKC VHS from 1994. DIDDY? YEAH!
Then, from roughly 1997 to 2001, Nintendo operated kiosks inside of various retail chains like Toys “R” Us. Each one came loaded with a video CD player (not DVD, mind) that contained dozens of 30 second previews, recent commercials and custom-made videos for N64 and Game Boy Color games, all accessed by a touchpad.
For example, if you pushed “Ocarina of Time” on the display, you would watch this:
Above: Ringing any bells yet?
They’re basically point-of-purchase videos designed to run in the background while people shop, perhaps enticing them to buy a game that happens to pop up on the screen. Most of the big-name titles, like Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros and so on, received very straightforward voiceovers – no need to get creative when the game itself is so strong. However, when faced with a weaker title, one that maybe needs some finesse, the voice actors had to get into character.
Conker’s Pocket Tales: Sounds like he should be narrating children’s books (slide whistle and all) but it’s fitting given this is pre-Bad Fur Day Conker. You’ll also notice how he has to stretch to come up with positives for what’s undoubtedly an unremarkable game, namely “even swim a river!”
WWF Attitude: Comically gruff. We imagine that’s what most marketing people think wrestlers sound like. Even better is the fact that these three clips are probably all voiced by the same guy, forcing him to go from squeaky Conker to Stone Cold in one take.
Ken Griffey Jr: The default “baseball announcer” voice we use so frequently in our TalkRadar podcast. Crack the bat!
Road Rash 64: Sounds like an out-of-touch voice actor’s approximation of people living in Tennessee. “People who ride bikes talk like this, right?”
Monster Truck Madness: You know, this is actually dead on. We’ve been to a few monster truck shows and announcers really do belt it out like this. So his previous Road Rash stereotyping can be forgiven. PS this game sucks.
Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes: An ill-gotten franchise that we’re happy to be rid of. The “angry sergeant” voice does fit, so we can’t complain.
Command & Conquer: More baffling than the overacted delivery is the fact that this game even exists. Who wanted to play a game with such small units on a television with terrible resolution?
NASCAR 99: A deep-South redneck twang. No surprise.
WCW/NWO Revenge: We’re not sure what this accent even is, but it’s definitely not necessary. It’s like someone born in Boston and raised in Brooklyn.
All Star Tennis 99: We understand needing to spice up the voiceover of a tennis game. It’s not the most exciting subject, we get it. But why record it as if you’re neck deep in kangaroo piss with nothing but a boomerang to save you?
Monaco Grand Prix: Monaco is its own country, located next to France. The voiceover is the most exaggerated Scottish accent we’ve heard in our collective lives. A must-hear.
Psychedelic Nintendo bumpers!
Not all of the tracks on the video CD were game-related – some were very brief bumpers that broke up the voiceovers with wacked-out visions of morphing mascot heads, shifting logos and trippy Game Boy explosions.
Next page: The all-time Nintendo 64 classics and two wonderfully uncomfortable hosts
GamesRadar is the premiere source for everything that matters in the world of video games. Casual or core, console or handheld - whatever systems you own or whatever genres you love, GamesRadar is there to filter out what's worth your time and to help you get even more from your games. We deliver the best advice, the most in-depth features, expert reviews, and the essential guides for all the top games.