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Joystiq presents

Promotional Consideration: Hataraku Chocobo

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

Square Enix has been pushing Final Fantasy IV hard this week in Japan, advertising the 3D remake with five different CG-filled commercials. We were curious to compare these spots with how the RPG was marketed when it first appeared on the Super Famicom, all the way back in 1991, and the two approaches couldn't be any more at odds!

Airships. Rydia's Titan. And a ludicrous squid.

Real quick, here is one of the five commercials airing in Japan right now for Final Fantasy IV DS. The 15-second spot is designed to show fans how much has changed since the original game, showing off its grandiose CG scenes, colorful 3D combat, and use of voiceovers to draw in followers of the franchise who are thinking of replaying FFIV despite its various ports to the PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, and Game Boy Advance over the past 16 years.

Now, let's move onto the two ads that originally aired in 1991 for SquareSoft's (pre-Enix) Super Famicom classic.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

No cutscenes -- not even a single frame from the actual video game. Instead, we have an ostrich running wild along a shoreline in slow motion, an unseen man laughing without abandon, and the chocobo music playing in the background. The second commercial is even more absurd, the camera panning down from the FFIV logo just in time to catch the struthio camelus bleating. Why the ostriches, you ask? You can see the connection drawn between chocobos and ostriches when you consider that SquareSoft's large, mostly-yellow birds are similarly flightless and ridiculous-looking.

Like the chuckling off-screen guy in the commercial, we can't help but perk up and smile whenever we see a cute chocobo or hear its cheerful accompanying track. Perhaps that was the aim of SquareSoft's campaign? For your listening pleasure (and ours), here is an audio collection of all the different chocobo theme songs from Final Fantasy II to Final Fantasy XII.

So, were these offbeat commercials successful in selling Final Fantasy IV to Japan's early 90s gamers, solely on the wackiness of its chocobos (or, in this case, its chocobo substitutes)? Well, people were likely compelled to buy the Super Famicom title more by the popularity of the franchise and the quality of the actual game, but we like to think that its millions of worldwide sales were partly due to these silly ads. We wouldn't want to make a chocobo cry by telling him or her otherwise.

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