Nintendo ink: a tale of two Splatoon commercials

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Splatoon looks like one of Nintendo’s more innovative recent projects. You could say, it’s … dripping with that old Nintendo charm. The Wii U shooter, inspired by paintball matches and set apart by its transforming-squid combatants, comes out May 29 — and the television campaigns have begun:

The American TV spot (above) is like most commercials aimed at our kids these days, with an annoyingly catchy jingle (“You’re a kid now! You’re a squid now!”) But it also does a really good job of quickly introducing a pretty high-concept game with truly unique mechanics to children and adults alike. That’s vital for any new IP such as Splatoon, a title that was reportedly designed to transform shooters they way Super Mario Kart and its sequels have revolutionized racing games.

Contrast that ad with the equally high-concept Japanese campaign (below), which is like a work of art in and of itself, but only really hints at what the game’s all about (from an American perspective, anyway).

In many ways, ironically, it reminds me of this famous 1990 U.S. commercial for Super Mario Bros. 3. Only this time, the intended audience isn’t readily familiar with the franchise being advertised the way we were with the turtle-bashing plumber who already had a strong fan base.

SPRATOON! WII U.

‘Nuff said.

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Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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