ClassicRadar: Nintendo video time capsule, 1997-2001

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.

WTF voiceovers

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?

Sudden accents

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

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  • Nintygameplayerperson - May 2, 2011 12:16 a.m.

  • Fro4show - March 31, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    psshh I thought Kirby was fun. And Megaman Legends. AND about half of the other games you smashed on.
  • Kenzo - March 30, 2011 11:08 p.m.

    say what you will about the graphics but that pod racing game was awesome. game of choice at my friends house for years. also i remember that guy on the pokemon safari, thought the pokemon in the commercial looked awesome. not so much by today's standards.
  • alexk2064 - March 30, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    So, out of pure curiosity, I called the 800 number from the N-sider video. Still routes you to Nintendo. Menu options consist of hardware issues with the Wii or 3DS, parts, or game help. Thought you guys would wanna know.
  • philipshaw - March 30, 2011 8:43 p.m.

    Only Brett could think of an idea like this and I love you for it, I actually remember seeing some of these in a store back in the day
  • Finality - March 30, 2011 2:26 p.m. This is probably still my favorite old pokemon commercial, I didn't see it in the videos up there.
  • ristar200 - March 30, 2011 12:26 a.m.

    HOLY SHIT YES now I can watch all of these videos on the good video player!
  • Jayzilla - March 30, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    hmm... lots of accents here I mean the Nascar and Conker gbc commercial guy...
  • Jayzilla - March 30, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    I think that guy with all the accents does lotsa cartoon voices. I'm pretty sure he's the Joker on Batman Brave and the Bold.
  • Harleynator - March 30, 2011 12:21 a.m.

    The Pokemon/ Gameboy color for Yellow where the bus driver murdered all the helpless pokemon by crushing them is the main one I remember
  • AirickG - March 30, 2011 12:20 a.m.

    Ah Pokemon Snap... Only Pokemon could take a terrible idea and make a pretty entertaining game, I don't even think I'd be opposed to a remake...
  • RonaldRayGun - March 30, 2011 12:15 a.m.

    I miss how terrible things used to be...
  • adamstephenson - March 30, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    I remember getting that Donkey Kong Country promo in the mail with the Jungle Trees VHS holder (what the hell do you call that). Wasn't the VHS itself yellow? and it felt like it only weighed about half an ounce because there was only a few minutes of tape on there. I bought into the hype, I thought I was like maybe one of 50 kids in the whole world that got that tape. The KI teaser at the end of it made me go bonkers too, an experience shared with probably every other kid who got that tape.
  • TheBrownestWRPGuknow - March 29, 2011 11:47 p.m.

    i love you, Gamesradar, for bringing really funny/interesting articles on a consistent basis. More specifically, good job Brett, this was a great nostalgia trip.
  • icedoesnthelp - March 29, 2011 8:18 p.m.

    "careful with those eggs" *throws egg*
  • mynameisjay - March 29, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    Seems like a lot of these come from those setups at Toys R Us back in the day.
  • juicenpancakes - March 29, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    Whenever I see any kind of promo video for Super Mario 64, my mind races back to a time where Best Buy had a giant column of like 30 TVs set up all synced up to a single N64, so you could stand anywhere in the Best Buy and watch this magnificent, new Mario game being played. It's when I became a man. one else remembers this or had this happen did they?...
  • Redeater - March 29, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Oh Conker.....what a suprise it was to go from Game Boy Color to Bad Fur Day.
  • batmanboy11 - March 29, 2011 7:44 p.m.

    ... I don't know what to say to thes monstrosities...