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Watch Nintendo's first-ever TV promo aired in the United States

The style of the Mego Time-Out's promo would come to be repeated in ads for future systems across all of games.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 13, 2024

1 Min Read
A football player playing the Mego Time-Out in a 1980 TV commercial.
Image via Nintendo/Video Game History Foundation.

The Video Game History Foundation has recovered and released the potential first-ever TV commercial for a Nintendo system in the US and outside Japan overall.

Per the VGHF, it found the 16mm commercial through game historian Chris Kohler in an online auction. According to him, the handheld is the Mego Time-Out. The commercial dates back to 1980, and it can be watched below.

The Time-Out came about through a licensing deal between Nintendo and US toy company Mego. In the US, Mego released four early Game & Watch systems identical to the originals, but with its logo and new "Time-Out" branding.

Four games for the handheld were made: Toss-Up, Fireman Fireman, Flag Man, and Exterminator. Toss-Up is the only one in the promo, presented as a sports game so good, athletes will play it despite (or even because of) whatever injury they get.

As VGHF notes, the focus is on young players and presenting the Time-Out as an ideal device to have on the go. Similar marketing would be used on the Nintendo Wii and 3DS respectively, along with the Nintendo Switch.

Outside of Nintendo, Sony would adopt a similar tactic for its PlayStation Portable and Vita handhelds.

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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