Plug and Play: Vintage Video Game Ads from the Past

Posted on Friday, January 8th, 2016 by

Millions of children and adults unwrapped video games as presents over the holidays, resulting in smiles spreading across their faces. To acknowledge the long lasting popularity of the video game industry we’re looking back at 10 of our favourite vintage video game ads in the 22nd edition of the Vintage Ads Series.

Have a look at our list of ads and leave a comment telling us which is your top pick, or attach an image of your favourite ad that you’ve found online.

In case you’ve missed any of the previous entries in the Vintage Ads Series, have a look back and see what we’ve featured so far.

Vintage Beer Ads                                    Vintage Car Ads
Vintage Cigarette Ads                          Vintage Fast Food Ads
Vintage Candy Ads                                Vintage Lingerie Ads
Vintage Horror Movie Posters           Vintage Shaving Ads
Vintage Christmas Ads                         Vintage Winter Ads
Vintage Valentine’s Day Ads              Vintage Vacation Ads
Vintage Medicine Ads                          Vintage Liquor Ads
Vintage Baseball Themed Ads          Vintage Soda Pop Ads
A Vintage Look at the CFL                  Vintage CNE Ads
Vintage Halloween Ads                       Vintage Moustache Ads
Vintage Merry Christmas Ads


Atari is a classic. Before Mario and Nintendo invaded homes, Atari’s joysticks and this giant stack of games was king of the video game world.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

High school misfits, Bill and Ted not only got 2 movies of their own, they got Nintendo notoriety to go with them. On NES and Game Boy you could have an excellent adventure of your own.


There’s a long tradition of using beautiful women to sell video games to men, and this Contra ad does just that. There’s no telling how many dudes hoped she would be their player 2.

Game Boy

There are also a few mis-steps in the history of video game ads, including this one. There’s little to no chance that this ad gets the go ahead today with it’s total lack of racial sensitivity.

Game Boy Game Keeper

Reminiscent of cell phones that came with a briefcase, the Game Boy Game Keeper was a status symbol for kid gamers all over. If you could bring extra batteries, games, your light, ear phones, and more, you were good to go!

Masters of the Universe

He-Man conquered movie screens, animated TV, and toy shelves, but he also came to the world of video games. Take a quick second to look at the difference between the graphics in the image, and the graphics of the game on the 2 small screens and you’ll be instantly reminded of how far video game technology has come.


This is a clever ad, it’s just too bad Neo•Geo never really did compete with Nintendo or Sega or anyone really. That does look like a good hot dog though.


The folks at Parker Brothers wanted everyone to know that Popeye was available to them on virtually any gaming system they could think of. With 4 Atari’s and the iconic Commodore 64 listed, it’s hard to imagine anyone who couldn’t have played Popeye.

Star Wars

Star Wars is just as relevant in 2016 as it was in 1982. But boy has it come a long way. Luke sure does look ready for a fight here!

WWF Wrestling

There are more wrestling games in video game history than we can count, but looking back at the old WWF games is a lot of fun. Sadly, both Macho Man and Ultimate Warrior have passed away, but their legends live on in ads like this and the memories of wrestling fans.



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Joshua Murray

About Joshua Murray

Fuelled by ideas, opportunity and coffee, Joshua attacks the social media landscape every day with a purpose. His experience in retail, customer service and public relations have combined to give him a 360 degree view of social media for brands and he is committed to helping all of his clients leverage their voice in the social sphere.