Monday, August 8, 2011

Famicom Ads: GeGeGe no Kitaro and Kinnikuman

One thing that I really love are retro game and toy advertisements. They are the sort of thing that really invoke that feeling of nostalgia, perhaps even more so than the actual games and toys themselves. These are the things we used to peruse with longing eyes as children. One of the first things I do when I find an old comic book from the 70s or 80s is to look at the old toy ads.

Famicom Freak over at Retro Gaming Life has put up a lot of posts with old North American game ads, mostly for the NES or Gameboy, that are quite fun to look through. In addition to the nostalgia factor, the ads also often possess creative qualities that are just as good as, if not better than, the art on the game boxes themselves.

As for the Famicom, Disk-Kun has put up an amazing selection of handbills for a lot of Famicom games, which are great fun to browse through. And Youtube of course has a ton of great TV commercials for the Famicom, this video collection here is probably the best. Great fun.

What you can't find too much of on the internet though is ads for the Famicom that appeared in other media. The print ads that appeared in comics and magazines and that sort of thing.

I've been trying to find some of these by scouring used book stores for magazines and comics from the 80s that might have them. Yesterday I was at Mandarake when I found these two publications for 100 yen each:
These are titled "Manga Matsuri" and are basically illustrated pamphlets for animated films that were released in 1985 and 1986 respectively. According to the Famicomblog resident expert on 80s Japanese kid's culture (ie my wife) the studios would promote these films every summer by giving free tickets to kids that were only valid if accompanied by an adult (who would of course have to buy a ticket). As most of them were geared towards boys, however, our resident expert didn't go to them.

Anyway, the main reason I picked these up was because on the backs of each are ads for Famicom games based on characters in these animated films. The back of the 1985 one has an ad for the Famicom Kinnikuman game:
As I've noted before, I really like the cart for this Kinnikuman game, even though as a game it leaves a lot to be desired. I like this ad a lot too, it is very colorful. They released quite a few toy tie-ins as well, such as the Kinnikuman Battle Royale ring:
They actually have one of these for sale at Mandarake now. It costs significantly more than the 3,800 yen it went for back in 1985. Because it is so awesome. It even has a cassette tape. That is how awesome it is.

This also features an ad for a Captain Tsubasa handheld which looks really cool:
Bandai released quite a few handhelds like this based on characters which also appear on Famicom games. They are quite collectible these days, though I'm still partial to the Nintendo Game and Watches.

There is also an ad for a GeGeGe no Kitaro board game:
Which looks kind of neat and acts as a nice lead in to the ad on the back of the 1986 Manga Matsuri, which features the Famicom game GeGeGe no Kitaro:
What I particularly like about this ad is that the vertical writing in big letters says "Lets put a circle around the items you want!"

You'll notice that the advertisers have already gone ahead and put a circle next to every item on the page. Very helpful of them.

Anyway, GeGeGe no Kitaro cost 4,800 yen back in the day. Today you can pick a copy up for about 300 at most stores, but it is a pretty good game:
The controller add-on is a much more interesting part of this ad. I've never seen one of these before. It is called the "Super Controller", which unfortunately makes it an exceptionally difficult thing to do a Google search for due to the fact that any search with the terms "Famicom" and "Super" in it will just get you a bunch of Super Famicom links. The only thing I could find in an image search was this French site which has a picture of it but not much more. At 800 yen for a set of two, it might not have been a bad deal though.

Anyway, there you have it. Some Famicom ads from the past. Hopefully my travels will turn up more of these in the future!

Related Posts:
-M.U.S.C.L.E. Men and the Famicom: Kinnikuman Muscle Tag Match
- Sqooner or Later You Should Give Sqoon a Try


  1. I never knew there was a Gegege no Kitaro Famicom game. I've always wanted to watch the anime/read the manga but never had a chance. Close to where I was living in Tokyo (Chofu) was the shrine where the show supposedly takes place or something. It's a pretty cool shrine in general, but they've got all this Gegege no Kitaro stuff around in the entrance too. Plus, you can literally get any Gegege no Kitaro omiyage you want.

    Also, that "Super Controller" is just a piece of plastic to slip the controller in, no? I feel like it's very possible that the joy stick wouldn't work that well, with that mechanic.

  2. Actually there are two GeGeGe no Kitaro games on the Famicom, this one and a sequel.

    That is interesting about the shrine, I didn't know there was an actual shrine where those stories started from. I actually don't know too much about the show or comics, just the game.

    And it does look like that Super controller is just a piece of plastic that slips onto the regular controller. I'm not sure how well the joystick would work either, I think it would probably be similar to the sticks I got with Crazy Climber, which just work well with that one game:)

  3. Nice post :) I've always liked Japanese cartoon artwork of most kinds. I know what you mean about the old toys ads too. I used to spend months poring over them in preparation for receiving some of the items contained thereon as Christmas gifts, but I often couldn't help but feel a little disappointed in the end. I guess I built them up too much!

  4. Thanks, Simon! I agree, these types of ads (and the catalogs!....oh the catalogs....) were really good at building up unreasonable expectations around Christmas and birthdays. Still though, they were fun to look at...:)

  5. Thanks for posting this, Sean! I love looking at these ads, too. A while back I was planning to post a bunch of Japanese ads from the six or eight 16-bit-era Japanese gaming mags I bought as a teen ... until I found out that my parents had given them away (or sold them at a garage sale. Argggggh! At least they didn't get rid of my early issues of EGM, GamePro and GameFan...

  6. Thanks, Bryan! That is a shame that your parents got rid of those mags, that would have made for some great posts!! My parents have made some questionable disposals of my old stuff too over the years. When I visited last year they were in the middle of moving and had a truckload of stuff they were hauling off to the Salvation Army. I saw my old Apple IIC and a ton of games for it in the pile and it broke my heart! I couldn't do anything to save the computer itself, but I did climb in while nobody was looking and rescue the games!

  7. I actually have one of those controller attachments that I got as a add on for my old NES controllers when I was a kid. The plus pad attachment is basically a disk that goes over the controller, and there's a hole to put 3 different 'arcade' sticks in the middle. Getting a Famicom Twin for x-mas from a Japanese seller online, and I can't wait to see if it fits. Using an NES attachment on a Famicom controller sounds like a way to combine my old NES memories with the new ones I'll make with the Famicom Twin.