Saturday, February 7, 2015

That's My 2 Cents: Two Bizarre Coca-Cola Games

A while back, I started a Tumblr, and it was one of the biggest let-downs I've ever had. I put time into the posts, but it didn't really have any prescence. I thought it would widen the audience, but if anything, it was a funnel that blasted some hard work into a garbage disposal. Maybe I'll return one day, but probably not anytime soon.
Anyway, my second post was in regards to Pepsi video games, a bizarre mess of advergames. While such games have been present throughout all of gaming history, most notably with games such as Cool Spot, they (for the most part) were garbage. Even in the hands of some acclaimed companies, most of them didn't work out. Regardless, Pepsi's competitor, Coke, also released a baffling onslaught of video games, among them the two we'll be talking about today.
Pepsi Invaders: The Baffling Back-Handed Slap
Back in the heydays of gaming, pretty much anybody could make a game. In fact, that's a reason for the complete overabundance of advergames. It was a commerical battlefield, with everybody from Kool-Aid to Purina Dog Chow (yes, seriously.) duking it out. Needless to say, there weren't any winners. Among the few was Pepsi Invaders.
The game is infamously rare, considering it was handed out exclusively at a 1983 sales convention. It also appears to be suffering a severe identity crisis, considering they didn't slap their name on anything. It was more of a subtle, subliminal message-driven game, which didn't really work out. Maybe it's the fact that "Pepsi" is plastered all over the effing screen. To whoever decided this was a good idea: you didn't get a raise this time, did you?
The game is a direct ripoff of Space Invaders, replacing those pesky aliens with floating letters, because why the heck not? It's nothing special, really; the only reason it's infamous is its rarity. It can pick up a pretty penny on eBay.... like a diamond-encrusted, polished penny made of gold.
Coca-Cola Kid: Too Rad for Pepsi!
A decade later came the Sega Genesis, the beloved competitor of the overall-wearing Nintendo. Among their greatest achievements were Sonic the Hedgehog, Alex Kidd, and Coca-Cola Kid. What, don't remember that one? Of course you don't, and don't you dare nod along like you know this crap, 'cuz you're a liar and a traitor.
Like the games I talked of on the Pepsi installment, this little gem never left the Eastern coast. While that may seem weird considering that Coke is perhaps the most famous US beverage, but when Japan gets their dirty hands on anything American, they'll grab it and never let it go like a hobo with some Midnight Chardonnay.
The game features perhaps the raddest, most hippest kiddo off the stereotypical, American block. This kid's got it all: the unbuttoned shirt to showcase his minimal f*ck-giving, a rad skateboard, and the classic sideways douche-hat. You gotta have the douche-hat or you're doing it wrong.
The game takes the form of a sidescrolling beat-em-up where you kick those Pepsi-loving jerks to kingdom come. Of course, you collect Coke along the way to soothe your health bar, but that's a given. You need that nectar to survive, baby, or you're already dead.*
*Sorry to all the guys offended by being called "baby"
Surprisingly, it's a whole lot better than Pepsi Invaders. Then again, it's not that hard to beat. It looks good, it plays good, and it just checks out, which is pretty surprising for an advergame. Then again (again!), this was the golden age of product placement, a time where games were treated as games instead of shameless cash-ins. Let me just take a moment to address the elephant in the room. What kind of downward spiral do you have to tumble down to go from the likes of Cool Spot to M&M's Racing? Think about it. (Also, how the heck did this effing elephant get in my room?!)

Thanks for reading. For those who have been visiting a lot, thanks a lot! I appreciate it! It means so much that over 3500 people have come to a blog written on an obsolete, unused website. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up some pace. An interview may be coming up, and I may be getting some people to talk about their first video. Remember when I talked about that two months ago? Sure you do.

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