Article 18—T•HQ TV commercials (1993)

From the days when T•HQ still had a bullet point in the company name, here are three TV spots for Super NES games: The Ren & Stimpy Show: Veediots!, Sports Illustrated: Championship Football & Baseball and The Lawnmower Man.

T•HQ had a poor reputation in the early ’90s. The company’s obsession with TV shows
and movies led it to spend more money on licensing than it was willing to spend on actually developing good games. Later in the decade, it would begin to realize the error of its ways and start to greatly improve its product quality, which would eventually lead to prosperous growth and exhalations of relief from game reviewers. But before that happened, the company actually tried to conceal its involvement in certain games by creating new publishing labels, some of which were borrowed from development studios that T•HQ had acquired. This is why the Sports Illustrated game featured here is branded with the Malibu Games logo. (Black Pearl Software and Kokopeli Digital Studios were also T•HQ aliases.)

The Lawnmower Man commercial reminds me of the day when representatives of T•HQ and developer Sales Curve came to the offices of VideoGames magazine to show us the game. As much as I turned up my nose at T•HQ games at the time, I have to admit that I was really blown away by The Lawnmower Man. I thought the movie was lousy and I didn’t care for the Stephen King short story on which it was loosely based, but the game knocked my socks off. The graphics and sound effects were great, the
gameplay had tons of variety and the music (by composer Allister Brimble) was amazing; I still have some tracks from this game on my iPod. It was the first T•HQ game that I really enjoyed, and I always saw it as a turning point in the company’s evolution.

Note how the Lawnmower Man commercial states that the game was “also available on Game Boy and CD-ROM.” The CD-ROM version (for the PC and Sega CD) was a completely different game, and the Game Boy version was never released in North America. (It did hit store shelves in the U.K., though…and in Japan, where both the movie and the game were titled “Virtual Wars.”) Even on the Game Boy, The Lawnmower Man was solid, with a pretty good approximation of the first-person “virtual reality” stages of the SNES game. The same can be said of the Sega Genesis port that was released later. I may be a “veediot,” but I know a good game when I see one!

© 2011 Chris Bieniek. Certain video game images, characters and logos on this Web site are copyrighted or trademarked by their respective publishers.