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Promotional Consideration: Mario's DIY signs

Eric Caoili

Promotional Consideration is a weekly feature about the Nintendo DS advertisements you usually flip past, change the channel on, or just tune out.

Giant advertising firms with international clients and extravagant budgets aren't the only people working hard to push their video games on you; small mom-and-pop stores also develop stratagems to attract the casual shoppers who haven't yet decided on what to buy. These sales-generating tactics can be something as simple as putting up a notice about in-demand consoles being in stock, or as annoying as hard-selling you on preorders and magazine subscriptions.

One of our favorite schemes, and the topic for this week's Promotional Consideration installment, relies on setting up homemade signs with creative interpretations of video gaming's most recognizable mascot, Mario. Join us past the post break for some of the interesting Japanese in-store displays that we've come across.

Crazed eyes. Unblinking stares. Thousands of teeth.

Of all the different Mario Bros. reimaginings out there (e.g. realistic and brawny figures, bloated plumbers), this is definitely the creepiest one we've seen to date. If we ever spotted this sign in a store, we would not only refuse to approach the rack of DS games, but we'd turn around and flee, unapologetically knocking over customers as we pushed our way to the door.

This is the same alternate-dimension Mario that appears in those nightmares you swear were real, the ones where he sneaks in through your bedroom window while you're sleeping, pulls your blanket back with his dirty-gloved hands, and begins to fit your head into his wide mouth. You can feel the acrid heat of his breath and what feels like thousands of teeth scraping against your scalp before you wake up, screaming. You try to tell yourself it was only a dream, but there's no other explanation for the blanket on the floor and the missing spare change that you KNOW you left on top of your dresser.

The disturbing sign was found in a second-hand shop, likely appearing one day without explanation or ceremony. The red characters rising around the anatomically incorrect Nintendo DS all say, "Beep!" while the larger text above reads, "Samba Rhythm!" The esoteric headline actually manages to leave us more scared than we already were. To add to the weirdness, Mario and Luigi's hats have "To" and "Re" written on them instead of the traditional "M" and "L."

Super Leaf. Running jump. Temporary flight.

Also spotted at a shop for used goods, this poster advertises the store's used Famicom, Super Famicom, and Game Boy games with a Raccoon-suited Mario in a pose similar to Super Mario Bros. 3's US boxart. Instead of having sensibly-colored skin, however, Mario's face has been left yellow, appearing Simpsonized. Interestingly, the "M" on his hat is missing. Could these just be forgotten details? Or are the evil twins from the other ad killing off the originals by slowly stripping away their defining features?

A new dream. A forgotten brother.

This in-store sign combines the mustachioed siblings with Nintendo's other uber-successful franchise, Pokemon. Mario, his cap worn backwards and his jacket stolen from Ash Ketchum's closet, grips a pokeball. He vows with determination in his eyes, "From now on, I'm going to become a Pokemon master! Better than Koopa and Team Rocket!!" Luigi, in tears, pleads behind him, "Brother, stop!"

We wish we had crazy advertisements like these in our video game shops; they're certainly a lot more interesting than the boring stands we usually see promoting bald space marines.

[All photos are courtesy of Jackson Boyle, Brett Ohland, and b/a.]

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