February 25th, 2010: Sorry about last week everyone. I'm all caught up and lucky for you I'm back with a vengeance. This week I'd like to change things up and take some time to reminisce about the old days of Dragon Magazine, D&D and of course the World of Greyhawk setting which this year enjoys its 30th anniversary. Maybe while I'm at it I'll also shine a light on what could have been. Hang onto your eyeballs and grab a drink, this could take a while...

D&D Advertising

Who indeed? Let's start this journey back in time with some funny classic D&D ads put out by TSR back in the day. Many of these I've grabbed from various forums and blogs around the net so I'm sure many of you have seen them by now, if not when they were first in print for publications like Dragon Magazine or various comic books.
This ad in particular is the funniest in my opinion. This kid in his overalls tries to exude cool, badassery even in the face of carrying his D&D book. Seeing this brings back memories. Ugh! So help me Pelor, I will never wear overalls again as long as I live. Ah, but there is part of me that is curious about the front pouch, does he carry his dice in that? The ad also sends a mixed message. Is he too good to even hang around with the other three in the background who are also playing D&D? (Looks like Keep on the Borderlands.) I don't blame that one kid for standing either, that empty chair there is uncomfortable looking. Moving right along...

Now this crappy advert on the right looks like it was drawn with an Etch-a-Sketch, but the slogan works well enough. I also see it shows the quite common 3:2 boy-girl ratio for D&D groups. (sarcasm) The Basic and Expert Set is what I started gaming with and its ads like this and the ones I've been recently parodying that got me hooked on the game in the first place. And now this leads me to a thought; does Wizards of the Coast advertise as hard as TSR did back in the day? Or do they need to with the game already firmly established? It's a shame because back in the early 80's TSR was all-in kid's faces with things like the D&D Cartoon and this commercial:

The ULTIMATE in Adventure Games! The advanced D&D trio of books was my portal into Greyhawk naturally. And I can't state this enough, my 1st edition books are still in excellent condition after all these years of gaming. Can't say the same for my 2nd edition books. Tsk. And you can't beat the cover art of these books either. 'Who needs to hang around' when you have a book with flaming Efreets clutching half-naked women on the cover?

Wastri certainly doesn't need to!

Speaking of half-naked women, TSR knew that sex sells and weren't afraid to use it. I've seen many 'booth-babes' at Gencon, but here recently not for D&D anymore. Huh. So, we who grew up playing this game with its racy art and ads are now concerned with how tasteful the game is presented to the next generation? Very well. I guess D&D is a family game after all...

Oh yes, speaking of family...apparently this ad (and the previous?)was modelled by none other than Elise "Queen Ehlissa" Gygax, the daughter of Gary Gygax. Come on Wizards of the Coast, I dare you to top that!

Tsk Tsk! Who wouldn't take leopard-skin over plaid?

Next Up:
Development of Greyhawk

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