7 Advertisements Just Barely Disguised as Video Games

Companies are always trying to sneak advertisements into our daily lives. Not surprisingly, advertising based games (or advergames) have been around almost as long as the video games themselves. Here are some of the more notable examples.

1. Cool Spot

This game, based on 7-Up, was praised for its smooth graphics and challenging levels, despite the fact that the main character was the then-mascot for the company in a Sonic the Hedgehog-style environment. The sequel, Spot Goes to Hollywood, went flat pretty quickly, and Spot was retired as the company mascot shortly after. But he still hangs out between the 7 and U on the soda label.

2. Yo! Noid!


Though the 1989 DOS and Commodore 64 game Avoid The Noid had players delivering pizzas and dodging the annoying Domino's Pizza mascot, this 1990 game for NES let the player act as the monstrosity. Noid traversed through New York using a yo-yo to battle his evil duplicate, Mr. Green. Yo! Noid was essentially a modified duplication of another Capcom game from Japan called Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru; the game play remain unchanged, but different facades were applied to the locations.

In case the pizza eating contests at the end of the levels didn't make the player hungry, the game came with a whopping dollar-off coupon for Domino's Pizza. But back in the early 90's that was, like, a dollar fifty.

3. Kool Aid Man


This game, for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, had very little to do with busting through walls and disturbingly revolved around drinking from a swimming pool full of Kool Aid that also served as Sir Punch's life bar. The object of the game was to quench the thirst of thirty "Thirsties" using the pool of life matter. Confused? So was everyone who ever played it.

4. Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool and Wild Wild Quest


The Joe Camel of the snack food world received not one, but two of his own video games for SNES and Genesis, respectively. Neither game was well received; the game play was considered complicated and boring, and the instruction manuals contained bad rhymes that were very poorly translated from Japanese, such as "As is Chester Cheetah way, is one-person play."

5. The King Games


That creepy King starred in three economically priced video games for X-Box in 2006: Pocketbike Racer, Big Bumpin' and Sneak King. The games were extremely popular due to their low price and high fun content. Burger King and its marketing company won several advertising awards for the campaign.

6. Chase the Chuck Wagon


Another low-fi Atari 2600 adventure, this game was a maze-based and required the player to guide a dog to attain the glorious chuck wagon. The game was only available through proofs of purchase on the dog food bags. Only a handful of customers took Purina up on their promotion. Because very few copies made it into the hands of the public, the game is a prized collectors item.

7. M.C. Kids


Of course the marketing masters for McDonalds had to get involved in the video game world. In this game, two teenage players enter the McDonalds Fantasy Land to chase after Ronald McDonald's "fun bag" which has been stolen by Hamburglar. McDonalds was not pleased with the final product, so they refused to promote the game. The game was too difficult for most younger players, and older players thought that it was a ripoff of other popular games, like Super Mario Brothers 3.

Caroline Donnelly is an occasional contributor to

Quick True/False: World Capitals
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.


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