Early Advergames, Part II

280zzzap.jpgTime for more weird early advergames. During the research for my last book, I tried to find the first example of a branded videogame. Early games based on films, like Shark Jaws, aren't what I was looking for here. We can think of film licenses as brand extensions, not really as advertisements. What I wanted was a consumer product rather than an entertainment property.

As far as I can tell, the earliest such game is Datsun 280 Zzzap, a coin-op game from 1976. Midway had previously released the game as Midnite Racer, which was essentially the same as Atari's Night Driver, the original first-person racing game. There are no graphics in either game, just the black, black night and reflective signs to show the edges of the road. But the cabinet art and labelling for Datsun 280 Zzzap featured the name of the vehicle, and in some cases an image of the car. I count this as the first intersection of advertising and videogames.

280 Zzzap [Killer List of Video Games]


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