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Rare Nintendo promotional videos provide a glimpse of '90s marketing

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

If you think modern video game marketing is outrageous, you should be thankful today's publishers aren't still putting together content that's as unintentionally cheesy as these videos from the early 1990s obtained by PriceCharting.

The site purchased six promotional VHS tapes produced by Nintendo in the Super NES era, and posted them on YouTube for all to enjoy. According to PriceCharting, these videos would have been created for "retailers, promotional partners, licensees and other businesses Nintendo worked with."

Three of the videos were made to promote Nintendo-hosted competitions — the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, 1991 Nintendo PowerFest and 1992 Nintendo Campus Challenge. The 1991 PowerFest never actually took place; instead, it became the 1991 Campus Challenge.

Another video, "How We Do It," appears to have been created for retailers as an explanation of the way Nintendo of America worked — how it upheld the Nintendo Seal of Quality, how it dealt with support calls from customers and more. A 22-minute video from the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show focuses on Donkey Kong Country on the Super NES and the Super Game Boy peripheral.

Nintendo expected to sell 1 million copies of Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball

But perhaps our favorite video is the promotional piece above for Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, the 1994 baseball video game featuring — as the video points out — one of the most well-known athletes of his day.

Nintendo touted a $4 million marketing budget and a spot on the cover of Nintendo Power magazine in an effort to encourage retailers to stock the game, and said it expected to sell 1 million copies. And it interspersed footage from the Super NES title with clips of Griffey's exploits on the field, while noting that the Seattle Mariners star ranked at the top in athlete awareness among 11- to 17-year-olds.

"In a recent national survey, he received a coolness rating of 100 percent," the video says.

You can't argue with that.

Check out all six videos on PriceCharting.

[Thanks, JJ!]

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