The 5 Worst Marketing Failures in the History of Video Games

#2. Ocean Marketing

The saga of Ocean Marketing began with a guy named Dave contacting Ocean Marketing about his order of two Avenger game controllers. He began a correspondence with company representative Paul Christoforo, who, over the course of four emails, went from unhelpful dumbass to legendary dick. Paul's response to reasonable questions was telling a customer that he was going to keep the things he bought and sell them for inflated prices on eBay. You should also keep in mind that these controllers are specialized for disabled gamers, and Paul had to know that there was a very likely chance that he was threatening to steal from a handicapped person. That shouldn't make it more wrong, but it does by any possible standards.

Dave responded by adding members of the media to the email exchange, including Mike Krahulik from Penny Arcade. It blew up the Internet, and if you missed it the first time, clear an hour from your schedule and click that link. In our online world of moral ambiguity and rampant fuckheadedness, Paul Christoforo was a villain everyone could finally agree on. He was a thief, a douchebag, a liar, an attention whore and a moron, and in one day we watched the consequences of all those things hit him at once. We got to witness the actual people he was name-dropping tell him they didn't know him. We got to see him literally beg for mercy right before he tried and failed to extort the company firing him. If you gave the smartest person on the planet a keyboard, held a gun to their head and told them to ruin their own life, they would have a hard time doing it any more efficiently.

#1. Acclaim's Batshit Advertising

When the Internet became a thing, the advertising industry started flailing. There was this entire new frontier of attention to grab and no wrong way to go about it. Thinking outside the envelope went from being an overused phrase about nonlinear thinking to a hard policy of derangement and tits. Video game companies started doing things like disguising their ads as amateur rap videos and staging fake Christian protests. They even tried racism. Despite the overwhelming number of video game magazines and websites covering every aspect of the industry, they were always scrambling for more media attention. If there was a way that pulling a baby in half helped you remember the name Crash Bandicoot, they would do it. And of all the bizarre publicity stunts, the best ones came from Acclaim.

Acclaim was a publisher known for shitty games based on movies, so they couldn't build their publicity around design innovations or fun game play. Instead, they did things no rational person would do and hoped society's natural wariness of the insane kicked in. For example, to promote Turok Evolution, they offered $10,000 to the first parents to name their baby Turok. They weren't total maniacs, though. The $10,000 was in the form of a savings bond made out to the child, since any parent with a Turok baby also has a persuasive meth dealer.

Most of their ideas were so crazy that they weren't allowed to try them. For Burnout 2, they wanted to pay your ticket if you were caught speeding to the video game store. For Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance, they wanted to create bus stop ads that squirted blood onto the sidewalk. For Virtua Tennis 2, they wanted to paint pigeons and throw them into a Wimbledon game. Some kind of official stopped each of these things from taking place, and the only mention of them in the press came in the form of "What the shit is wrong with Acclaim?" Even for spastic attempts at telling the world you exist, I'd call that a string of losses.

One of their schemes sort of worked out. A man attempted to break the world waiting-in-line record for the release of Turok Evolution, and despite that being impossibly suspicious, it was going according to plan before he mysteriously disappeared. It turns out Acclaim paid him to be there, or more likely he was a hobo they left in a canal with a carving of Charles Barkley on his chest to promote NBA Jam to coroners.

The winner by far was their attempt to create buzz for Shadowman: 2econd Coming by buying billboard space on human gravestones. As you already know if you're a hungry coyote or a necrophiliac, disrupting a civilization's burial rituals is a quick way to piss it off. The Church of England said the closest thing to hell no that their piousness allowed, and Acclaim decided their best bet was to claim it was all a joke. I think I get it. They painted birds and built blood fountains as the setup for the punchline of how they wanted to defile graves for attention! That's still a better joke than what Jamie Kennedy is going to tweet tomorrow.

Seanbaby invented being funny on the Internet. Learn more at or follow him on Twitter.

For more of Mr. Baby, see The Worst Comedy on TV (Explained To Deaf People) or The 10 Most Perverted Old School Video Games.

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