Top 10 Video Games That Are Basically Just Ads



Top 10 Video Games That Are Basically Just Ads

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Script written by Ty Richardson

Wait, do you guys just want me to buy something? Welcome to and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Games That Are Just Ads!

Special thanks to our user “Bandicoot95” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at
Top 10 Games That Are Just Ads

If only these games had a “Skip Ad” button… Welcome to, and today, we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Games That Are Just Ads.

Advergaming used to be (and sometimes, still is) a big trend where video games are meant to sell you a product. Most of the time, it’s food while others are actually here for a good cause. Entries on this list are being advertised for either being overall exceptional, outright ridiculous, or a little too in-your-face with its product placement.

#10: “Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension” (1992)

Developed by Gremlin Graphics, this 2D platformer has you running around as a gremlin ninja who must complete his training on Earth while collecting lollipops and candy. Sounds simple and…wait, was that a Chupa Chups billboard back there? Yes, this game advertises Chupa Chups, a Spanish candy company mostly known for their lollipops. While “Zool” is remembered fondly, we can’t ignore the amount of times we see the Chupa Chups logo in just the first level! Believe it or not, the game was such a success that it spawned a sequel a year later, featuring just as many Chupa Chups ads as its predecessor. Well, at least the game was good.

#9: “M.C. Kids” (1992)

Ronald McDonald has often been compared to being just as big of a mascot as Mickey Mouse. So, McDonald’s capitalized on this for a while and released a handful of video games in the 1990’s. Enter “M.C. Kids”, a platformer where two kids must retrieve Ronald’s magic bag from the Hamburglar. Many of the game’s elements were borrowed heavily from “Super Mario Bros. 3” and “Star Tropics” with most of the environment and power-ups taking form of McDonald’s products and golden arches. While it’s easy to hate on this game for its difficulty spike and never-ending ads of products and characters, we must give credit for the game design and innovative physics. Hey, 1992 was a different time!

#8: “Yo! Noid” (1990)

As popular enough as the “Avoid the Noid” campaign was, did it really deserve a video game? Call it a strange move, but Domino’s joined the onslaught of platformer advergames in the 1990’s with this title for the NES. The Noid must save New York City from his evil twin brother, and if he is to succeed, he shall be rewarded with…PIZZAAAAA! Not hungry yet? Well, maybe bonus levels of pizza-eating contests will suffice! Look, Domino’s, you could have just given us the dollar-off coupon that was on the back of the box and called it a day. It would have saved us from the graphical glitches, insane difficulty, and nauseating movement of the environment.

#7: “Darkened Skye” (2002)

So, get this; we have an action adventure game set in a fantasy realm, telling the story about a young woman searching for her long-lost mother while battling creatures with her mystical staff. Now, what part of that tells you to start advertising Skittles? Inspired by the commercials encouraging consumers to “taste the rainbow”, the game has you collecting Skittles to power your staff in combat, a feature some critics described creative where others found it to be some of the most blatant product placement in video game history. Either way, the advertisement was explicit and annoying, and the game was not well received, to put in generous terms.

#6: “Chex Quest” series (1996-2008)

Hang on a minute…this looks familiar. No, you aren’t seeing a mod for Doom. This is Chex Quest, an FPS where players take on the role of the Chex Warrior to stop the invasion of goopy aliens called “Flemoids”. Where Doom had simple laboratories and walls covered in gore, Chex Quest had the company name plastered in most of the rooms. Just in case you forgot that this is a Chex game, pickups for armor took shape in the form of what’s called “Chex armor”. Despite poor reviews, the public praised the game, leading Chex sales to increase to nearly 300%, allowing two more games to spawn, a few years apart from each other.

#5: “Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool” (1992)

If lollipops, cereal, and fast food can have video games, why not cheesy, powdering snack foods, too? Enter this Cheetos mascot Chester Cheetah, starring in this 2D platformer where Chester must locate the missing parts to his motorcycle…and that’s about it. While there is no direct acknowledgement of the finger-licking food, the game lets collectibles serve as the product placement. Health is represented by Cheetos Paws, and tokens are pictured with Cheetos Cracker Trax. Given the game’s negative reception and discontinuation of Cheetos Paws, we can only guess that it isn’t easy being cheesy.

#4: “America’s Army” series (2002-2013)

Before the “Call of Duty” franchise dominated the military shooter genre, we had this simulation game that promoted the United States Army. These games were designed as recruitment tools, giving gamers the reality of being in the military through virtual demonstration. Despite its success and critical acclaim - as well as a few awards - the America’s Army franchise has been criticized as a form of “militainment” with some going as far as to call it propaganda, cuz well come on, it is right? One interesting aspect of AA’s design was that while you fought teams of other players, no matter which side of the match you found yourself on you’d always see yourself as Americans and the opposing team as…not.

#3: “Cool Spot” (1993)

When it comes to junk food, we understand characters like Chester Cheetah getting a video game. At least there’s something to work with there, but a red dot? This 2D platformer lets players control the mascot of 7Up as they jump and shoot soda bubbles to rescue other cool spots. While the game doesn’t advertise heavily, the real spotlight is on completing the game on Hard Mode. Upon completion, you are told to take a picture of the screen and send the photo to Virgin Games for “the Grand Prize”. Yep, the entire game was part of a contest to promote 7Up – with some reporting the grand prize ranging from such fantastic items as a small plastic toy or a couple of cases of 7up. Awesome.

#2: “Sneak King” (2006)

When it comes to video games, this is not Burger King’s first rodeo. In “Sneak King”, customers roam the environment on empty stomachs, and it is up to our nightmare-inducing majesty to stalk, surprise, and serve them up a delicious meal only Burger King can provide. (If this sort of thing was to happen in real life, we can only imagine it going something like this. (Show Robot Chicken) Release alongside “Big Bumpin” and “Pocketbike Racer” which also promoted this nightmare fuel, “Sneak King” takes the cake (er…Whopper?) for cooking up a large promotion for the fast food chain’s individual products. Despite obtaining poor reviews, the games increased Burger King sales by 40%, making the marketing stunt a success.
Before we advertise our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:

“World Gone Sour” (2011)

“Pepsi Invaders” (1983)

“NERF N-Strike: Elite” (2008)

#1: “Pepsiman” (1999)

He is the brave, the bold, and the savior to quench the thirst of many. He is…Pepsiman! Players must navigate obstacle courses to save the thirsty people before the time runs out. Some levels are based off the commercials, like the red truck chase. (Is that a Coca-Cola truck?) What sticks this game out most is the insane amount of promotion for Pepsi in this game. It’s literally everywhere! Pepsi on billboards, Pepsi on trucks, Pepsi City, Pepsi Pepsi PEPSI! Even the cutscenes serve as a mini-commercials with bizarre slogans such as “Pepsi for Pizza” to promote the product, complete with spinning logo and all. We get it, Pepsi; you’re Pepsi, he’s Pepsi, everything is and should always be…Pepsi.

Do you agree with our list? What advergames do you think have an outrageous amount of product placement? For more Top 10’s published every day, be sure to subscribe to! I’m Hungry.