product placement is commonplace in TV & Movies, and there are quite a few examples where this has entered the video game market. If people are cynical, advertising products in video games is the perfect marketplace. There are lots of young impressionable minds who will consume both the video game they are playing and then want the tasty treat they see on the screen.
The games these products promote are often sweet and savory which is exactly what young gamers crave during their gaming sessions. This list explores the times when food and drink marketing took a bite out of the video game market.
10 KP Skips Action Biker With Clumsy Colin
Launched in 1974 by KP Snacks, Skips are a prawn cocktail flavored snack that has remained popular in the United Kingdom to this day. Clumsy Colin appeared in various TV adverts promoting Skips, but it wasn’t until 1985 when Colin made his first appearance in KP Skips Action Biker With Clumsy Colin.
Released for the Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit family, and ZX Spectrum, the aim of the game was to help Colin find different parts for his motorcycle, whilst avoiding different obstacles and keeping an eye on the bikes fuel tank. Interestingly, the Commodore and Atari versions were completely different from the ZX Spectrum, both in terms of their gameplay and storyline. The Commodore and Atari games had an isometric style, whereas the Spectrum featured 2D graphics.
9 Chester Cheetah: Too Cool To Fool
Originally released in 1948, it’s fair to say Cheetos have been around for a long time. This tasty snack has made billions of dollars and is enjoyed around the world. Chester Cheetah first made his appearance in TV commercials in 1986, and then later appeared in video games Chester Cheetah: Too Cool To Fool in 1992 and Chester Cheetah: Wild Wild Quest in 1993.
Capitalizing on the popular games like sonic the hedgehog and Super Mario, Too Cool To Fooland wild wild quest both had platform-style gameplay. Only ever released in North America for Sega Genesis and SNES, these games no doubt helped to sell a few more packs of this cheesy snack.
Cheesy potato puffs Quavers were launched in the United Kingdom in 1968. Although the cheese flavor tends to be the most popular, there have been different flavors over the years including prawn cocktail, and salt & vinegar.
In 1992, Quavers mascot Colin Curly appeared in the puzzle game push-over, the plot of which revolved heavily around the savory snack. Colin has lost his packet of Quavers in a giant ant hill, so helpful GI Ant sets out on a quest to recover them for him. The aim of the game is for GI Ant to set up dominoes to fall in place which opens the door for the next level. This wasn’t as simple as it sounds, as different dominoes reacted in multiple ways. This inventive puzzler had 100 levels to test players and their lateral thinking skills. Released for home computers the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, and SNES console, the Nintendo version completely removed any trace of the Quavers branding.
7 MC Kids
There aren’t many more recognizable and iconic brands in the world than the golden arches of McDonald’s. Since being established in 1940, McDonald’s now serves nearly 70 million people a day across the world!
The famous golden arches were used to good effect in MC Kids which was released in 1992 for the NES. Players take control of Mick or Mack who must help Ronald McDonald retrieve his magical bag which has been stolen by Hamburglar. Developed by Virgin Games, (who also feature another game in this list) the European home computer version of MC Kids was called mcdonaldland.
6 Zool: Ninja Of The Nth Dimension
Established in 1958, Chupa Chups have gone on to have incredible success across the globe selling over 4 billion lollipops every year! Released in 1992, zool sets its stall before the game had even started as a loading screen proudly presented “in association with Chupa Chups the world’s best-selling lollipops”.
The opening level of zool has a lot of different candy on screen, and the world-famous lollipops are prominent throughout. Initially released for the Commodore Amiga, zool was marketed as a home computer platforming game to rival the likes of sonic the hedgehog. Although colorful, the game didn’t match the boasts from developer Gremlin Graphics and received lukewarm reviews. 29 years after its original release a remaster called, Zool Resized was launched and removed all traces of Chupa Chups from the game.
5 Cool Spot
Created in 1929, 7 Up has featured dozens of different variations on the traditional lemon and lime flavor which is enjoyed around the world. The 7 Up branding is immediately seen in the opening title screen of Cool Spotwhere the titular character is seen surfing on a 7 Up bottle accompanied by a version of Wipe Out by The Surfaris.
Developed by Virgin Games, the animation of Cool Spot was particularly good and was a sign of things to come. Virgin would put this technical expertise to good use by producing other platforming games with excellent graphics and animation including Disney’s Aladdin, Earthworm Jimand The Lion King.
Pepsi is the oldest product on this list and was incredibly created in 1893. The Pepsi challenge has become famous across the world and was used as a way to tempt customers to move away from rival drink Coca-Cola.
In 1994, mascot pepsi-man appeared in his first game, fighting vipers for the Sega Saturn as a playable character. It wasn’t until 1999 that pepsi-man appeared in his own game on the PlayStation. Remove possibly the most cynically marketed game on this list, pepsi-man sees the titular character running through levels avoiding obstacles whilst collecting cans of Pepsi. In-between stages there were (quite frankly bizarre) full-motion video (FMV) clips showing someone drinking Pepsi and encouraging the player to have one as well.
3 M&M’s Kart Racing
M&M’s have reached very lofty heights since their release in 1941. There have been characters created and even specialty stores called M&M’s World in Las Vegas, Orlando, New York City, Henderson, Shanghai, Mall of America, and Berlin.
Kart racing games have endured as a genre of driving games for over 30 years since the original release of Super Mario Kart on the SNES. There have been plenty of contenders for the best kart racer, but M&M’s Kart Racing isn’t one of them. Featuring in the Guinness Book of Records, M&M Kart Racing holds the title of being ranked as the worst kart racer ever, with an average score of 22.5%.
two Doritos Crash Course
Doritos have been enjoyed all over the world since their debut in 1964. Their commercials have featured heavily at Super Bowls, with increasingly inventive ways to entice hungry fans.
Doritos Crash Course was released in 2010 as a free download for Xbox Live Arcade. At the time Microsoft was heavily promoting its avatar marketplace which gave gamers a chance to create a virtual version of themselves that could be used in different games. Doritos Crash Course allowed players to put their virtual selves through their peace by running an obstacle course similar to those featured in the TV show Ninja Warrior. Despite being a free download, Doritos Crash Course wasn’t a cheap cash-in and provided a lot of fun for players across the world.
1 sneak king
McDonald’s rival Burger King has been feeding people across the world since it was founded in 1953. Their mascot, “The King”, has featured in several games including EA Sports Fight Night Round 3 as a ring guy.
However, in 2006 The King starred in his own games as part of a Burger King promotion in the USA. Pocketbike Racer, Big Bumpin‘, and sneak king were available for $3.99 if people bought a value meal. sneak king is a stealth game where The King must deliver burgers to hungry people without being seen. Maybe the developers had the Hitman series in mind when they were making this game, except instead of Agent 47 sneaking up on someone and garrotting them, he presents them with a burger.
MORE: The Most Iconic Food In Anime