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CSBG Archive

I Saw It Advertised One Day #22

We continue a MONTH of I Saw It Advertised One Day! Each day this January you’ll get a piece looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. In each installment, we’ll take a look at three ads!

Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.


I really don’t get the appeal of having intentionally fake reviews of a video game.

I get the idea of treating the release of the video game like the release of a film, but why not then just get ACTUAL reviews of the game?

You have to almost admire how the company just flat out tells you that this is almost certainly going to be a bad deal.

You pay $3.33 and we guarantee you that you get a minimum “catalog value” of $4.50!!

What a bargain!!!!

So with that last ad in mind, let me just bask in the actual NON-SCAM-osity of this Scripto giveaway.

GASP! A giveaway that is just a…giveaway?!?! How can this be?!!?

Good on you, Scripto!

That’s all for this installment! If you can think of some goofy comic book ads you’d like to see me feature here, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Do not make suggestions in the comment section, so that they can still be a surprise for future readers! In fact, I think I’ll just delete comments that contain future suggestions.


I don’t mind fake reviews if they’re in the spirit of the product, like hilariously made-up comments on the back of a humor comic book.

But yes, when it comes to this game, the move seems pointless.

The game ad was from 1983 (based on the copyright info in fine print at the bottom). I could be wrong, but I dont’ think any videogame magazines existed at that time, or that there there were any other magazines that published reviews of videogames? Maybe the joke underlying the ad was the (at that time) preposterous conceit that these silly little videogames could be the subject of reviews, just like movies.

Small joke in the coin ad — notice the name Matt Numis.

When erasable pens were introduced, I thought that was the greatest invention of all time, and that mankind could stop even coming up with new products. Then, of course, I tried one and found the secret to the erasing is actually obliterating the paper rather than the ink. I hope they improved over the years.

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but when that James Bond video game ad came out, I was about 7 years old, and until you posted it up here and I reread it, I always thought it featured real reviews – maybe I wasn’t the only 7 year old out there tricked by this ad?

Mr. M beat me to it, but there were no places to compile real video game reviews from. Since Bond movies were popular, they wanted to capture the spirit of the videogame in a tongue-in-cheek way. So they took the normal text that would have accompanied the and broke it up into movie critic blurbs. For example without the movie ad style, it would probably have conveyed the exact same info but in a paragraph form:

“Sensation, a real thriller. This game is James Bond all the way. The action is so involving, you’ll feel like James Bond yourself. You’ll try to capture the pricless Faberge gems while bounding across the speeding Octopussy Circus Train, and the longer the game goes on, the more furious the action becomes. Karate kicks, jumps, lasers, knife throwers, gunmen and the James Bond theme to boot. A truly unique game that captures Bond at his best. ”

Someone at the ad company probably decided, since this is a movie property tie in, let’s make it look like a movie ad to really drive home the idea that it captures the feel of those movies. Then the broke up the text into movie review style. Asking why they didn’t use real reviews misses the point. It was never meant to convince the public the reviews were real. There were no real videogame reviewers at the time. The blatantly fake names show it was tongue in cheek.

Yeah, it took me a few times to realize that the James Bond game ad was full of fake quotes.

Why would Morley Safer care about video games and/or Bond? I get the rest are either papers or film critic Vincent Canby, but Safer?

And it’s an Atari game, so the graphics really aren’t THAT intense…

did an erasable ink pen cost more than 2 candy bars and a stamp in 1984?

You only needed one wrapper.

I’m pretty sure that was the going exchange rate in prison, jjc.

Ah. I don’t read good.

You only needed one wrapper.

Plus you got the benefit of the chocolate bar.

In the late 90s, I worked in an office that maintained paper records of everything. I think that the only computers in the entire building were in the finance and payroll sections. Because these records were intended to last the life of the company, pencils were not allowed.

One of my coworkers brought in erasable pens so that she could keep her documents clear and easy to understand.

At one point we had to go back six months to research something in her division. I forget what it was. But, we found all of her paperwork completely blank. Everyone else’s was fine. The erasable ink had been obliterated.

The best we could figure is that the paper sliding against itself as documents were put in and taken out acted as an eraser.


There were certainly places to get video game reviews at the time. Electronic Games started in 1981 and was only one year from shutting down in 1984. Probably a few other (short-lived) mags existed as well. Even Marvel had the recently folded Blip.

Were erasable pens that expensive and/or rare at that time? Because the deal seems to be that you buy a $0.10-$0.25 candybar, affix another quarter’s worth of postage, then wait up to two months for a pen you could buy at a dimestore for around a buck. I understand you still get the candybar, but there won’t be the slightest biological trace of that treat by the time the pen arrives. It’s not like it’s a limited edition Captain America or Batman that you might keep around long after the ink is dry or the eraser is used up.

It’s not only not a scam, but other than waiting a while for the pen to show up in the mail, it might actually be a good deal. I know it’s a promotion to market a new product, but it’s still a roundabout way of getting a garden variety pen from the consumer end.

Then again, that’s kind of the point of this column.

And I wonder how many Baby Ruth and Butterfinger wrappers were in the breeze in Monticello MN during that promotion. This ad really has my knoggin’ throbbin’.

My recollection is that the EraserMate pen was all the rage in my grade school circa 1981? So about 3 years before this ad. But not long after actually USING one of those pens, the novelty wore off fast, and you realized that using either a normal pen or a pencil was far superior for just about any conceivable task.

So (OK, I’m making a ton of assumptions here) this promotion might have been a promotional attempt with the basic message of “Hey! We make erasable pens that don’t suck now! Try this free sample if you don’t believe us!”

Yeah – the erasable pens of that era used an ink that could be erased by a regular eraser – so in effect it was an ink that didn’t completely dry, and would smear even worse than #1 pencil lead. God forbid it had to be used by a lefty like myself – it would be a blue smear both on the paper and on the hand…

I actually ordered the coin grab bag about 1969. The “bag” amounted to a small paper pouch containing three foriegn coins, a worn buffalo nickel and a worn steel cent…

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