Friday, April 5, 2013

"Make Your Own Music Video", Sega CD, 1992.

Everyone who ever saw this ad will remember it forever. First and foremost, before even "is it a game?" (it's definitely "entertainment software", but that doesn't necessarily mean it's any fun) is ... "could they have chosen two flashier-in-the-pan also-rans?" There are plenty of popular bands from the early '90s who are still, in their own way, keepin' on keepin' on, but I don't know if either of these ones were still going concerns as late as 1993 8)
"Make
Your Own"
If you think you have what it takes to edit, mix and create your own explosive, high-impact, incredibly cool, absolutely new music videos for mega rap act Kris Kross and global super group C+C Music Factory...
...What are you waiting for?
Just lock and load one of our revolutionary new compact discs into your Sega CD. Strap yourself in. And get ready to experience a massive rush of intense wall-to-wall sound, digitized live-action video and in-your-face challenges by real artists or a celebrity veejay. All you need to make your own head bangin' videos is awesome talent and lightning-fast reflexes. You control it all as you select, edit, slice and dice. You're working with hundreds of clips from real music videos, movies and never-before-seen video footage -- all in synch with dizzying special effects and the hottest, freshest music ever. Wrap it up and get your grade, straight from the veejay or the artists themselves. Kris Kross and C+C Music Factory -- two revolutionary interactive music videos from Sony Imagesoft for Sega CD.
All right, how are we going to market this stuff? It's bleeding-edge, interactive multimedia! I don't know -- go have a look at an issue of Wired magazine! (anachronism: this ad was published the year before Wired's first issue. The actual relationship must be inversed: this is the inspiration of Wired!)

"[E]xplosive, high-impact..." I think the word they're looking for here is eXtreme, though I don't know if that glorious '90s guiding principle had been coined yet or if we were still just blindly groping toward it with the "[x] or die" phenomenon. In any case, still a bit of a mismatch -- Public Enemy was explosive! Kris Kross was... fortunate. "Mega rap act Kris Kross and global supergroup C+C Music Factory" -- We, the people making this ad, have never heard either act, but need to come up with descriptors for them. To be fair, I don't know that we ever achieved consensus on just what genre C+C Music Factory were. Gormless techno? I-just-bought-an-Amiga-and-don't-know-what-to-do-with-it-core?

So much to work with here.

  • "Lock and load" What? We're talking video games here, not chambered ammunition... though we might have used it in a psy-op to flush Manuel Noriega out of his compound.
  • "one of our revolutionary new compact discs" -- you mean a CD-ROM?
  • "intense wall-to-wall sound" (depending on your TV set's subwoofers)
  • "in-your-face challenges" (it was the '90s, everything was in your face. Subtle, passive-aggressive challenges would have to wait for a more subdued era.)
  • "a celebrity veejay" -- please, you're embarrassing both of us. Would VJ have been too jargony? How famous is this celebrity if they're not named?
  • "head bangin' videos" - no one in recorded history has ever banged their head to Kris Kross.
  • "slice and dice" - editing tape media often was done with razor blades and scotch tape, but presumably these digital whiz-kids have something a little more sophisticated in mind. This isn't the "intermedia drudgery" simulator.
  • "never-before-seen video footage" -- never-before-seen because it justly ended up on the cutting room floor, perhaps?
  • "two revolutionary interactive music videos from Sony Imagesoft" -- for quite some time, I harboured a pet theory that Imagesoft was actually a troll development house, deliberately polluting consoles' good names by gumming them up with inept games, sewing salt in preparation for the PlayStation 1's arrival. This product doesn't substantially challenge this hypothesis in any way.
  • Just imagine if this had taken off (instead of, er, becoming a target of universal derision), we could have enjoyed the Guitar Hero phenomenon (software wrapper for endless pop music products) a decade earlier.