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Game Ads From the Days of Yore: Atari Ice Hockey

by Paul


For this installment of Game Ads from the Days of Yore we are going back to the bountiful Atari 2600 well. The Atari had such great commercials because the medium was new and to show actual shots of the game for the full commercial would have been completely unimpressive, hence the use of hideous live actors doing a scene. This ad for Ice Hockey is a bit different than many others because it features a famous celebrity:

One of the greatest comics of all time Phil Hartman makes an appearance in this Atari 2600 commercial for Ice Hockey. Hartman was best known for his long career on Saturday Night Live and then his move to News Radio. Hartman is in a long line of comics whose life was tragically short. In this case, his wife shot him in his sleep leaving us a legacy of great Saturday Night Live sketches and this rather embarrassing commercial.

In case you’ve never played it, Ice Hockey was one of the long series of Atari 2600 games that suffers from a generic name (i.e. Boxing and Baseball) and the limitations of it’s day. It’s not that bad of a game, but compared to modern sports games it’s pretty pathetic. It would be safe to say that the game had never really put anyone into the kind of hysterics that Phil suffers in the commercial. My theory is that the store owner injected Phil with some sort of drug in order to put him into a highly suggestive state. Of course, I also think that the government places squirrels outside my apartment in order to spy on me.

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