Back in the retail years of the video game industry, if you had a new product, you didn’t just have to advertise it to consumers. You also had to advertise it to stores! One of our favorite types of artifacts is the rare “trade” ad: an ad that was either handed out at trade shows or printed only in retail trade magazines. These are not only rarely seen by the public, it’s rare to find surviving examples!
This one comes from an unknown, tabloid-sized trade magazine. I say “unknown” because we actually sourced this on eBay, from a seller who clips ads and sells them individually. We asked the seller which magazine this came from but they, uh, wouldn’t tell us, fearing we’d steal business from them. But my best guess based on the tabloid size would be either TWICE – a consumer electronics newsletter – Toy & Hobby World, or perhaps an actual CES show daily.
This is one of the coolest trade ads in our collection: an announcement of the Sega 3D Glasses, an add-on peripheral for the Sega Master System. This ad was placed ahead of the hardware’s debut at the Winter 1987 Consumer Electronics Show. Sega’s booth that year also included games like Space Harrier and Quartet.
Ads like this are great artifacts because they help us understand how game companies were selling their products. This isn’t the ad that ran in magazines. This was the ad that got the Sega 3D Glasses on shelves in the first place.
It’s also so aesthetic. The glasses in this ad are different from the final version too, which look a little less cyberpunk.
GOG Bundle Still Available!
GOG, along with a group of game developer friends, has put together a game history bundle for our benefit!
We’ve personally curated a selection of three historically important and interesting titles: The Last Express by Jordan Mechner and Smoking Car Productions, The Manhole by Cyan, and Wasteland by InXile (or originally, Interplay).
Not only have these three publishers agreed to donate all profits to us, so has GOG! If you’re interested, the bundle is available now through December 20th.