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In Japan, as in the rest of the world, the PlayStation brand is famous for its wacky, original adverts. So much so that the keen beans over at YouTube channel Yawaraka Uchū Kenkyūjo (‘Soft Space Laboratory’) have put together a bumper collection of classic PS1 commercials that range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Sharp and impactful, these short ads (in keeping with Japanese advertising norms, most are a mere 15 seconds long) are a nice little insight into the ins and outs of 1990s Japanese TV commercials. Join us after the jump for our pick of the bunch!

Although the commercials themselves may be short, the first thing we noticed about this compilation video is that it’s almost 30 minutes long – and that’s for the “short” version!

So we’ve picked out seven of our favourites for you today: four ads for the console itself, and three oddball Japanese PS1 game commercials from the 1990s, which you can find at the following times:

0:15 Ichi ni san
1:30 Yamada-san
1:45 The Break-Up
4:02 PlayStation The Best
17:41
Kagero: Deception II
19:28 Banshee’s Last Cry
24:16 Crash Bandicoot

1) Ichi Ni San

We start with the very first PlayStation ads, from back in 1994. In this short commercial, identically dressed men slam their fists onto desks and iron shutters, chanting in unison: “ICHI NI SAN. ICHI NI SAN”. The slogan “Ichi ni san de gēmu ga kawaru” (“on one-two-three, gaming changes“), promised Japanese consumers that the PlayStation would revolutionise gaming, whilst also referencing December 3rd (12/3), the console’s release date.

AND – this is our favourite part – the chanted “ichi ni san” also sounds a bit like “Play-Sta-tion” if you listen hard enough. No, really.

▼ That’s some pretty awesome 90s hair, too.

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▼ 39,800 yen! That’s $335 in today’s US money.

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2) Yamada-san

In this ad, two high-schoolers meet unexpectedly in the street. Under the girl’s arm is a brand new PS1, still in its box.

“You’re thinking, ‘Yamada-san’s bought a PlayStation’, aren’t you?” she asks the guy. “And wondering if we could play it together, right?” He demurs, but she encourages him: “It’s fine”.

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Next, we cut to the new couple ensconced in a game. Aaww.

▼ Incidentally, Yamada-san and her boyfriend got a reprise in later ads for Wizardry VII and Beyond the Beyond.

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3) The Break-Up

Our next commercial also depicts a young couple who played PS together, although their romance didn’t end so well. The ad opens with a woman asking her ex-boyfriend, “We bought this cooking pot together, remember?” “You’re being too sentimental,” he tells her. “Well, in that case,” she says quickly, “I’ll take it. I’ll keep the PlayStation, too. My last Christmas present from you.

▼ “Huh?” the man splutters, as cheerful Christmas bells ring mockingly in the background.

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4) PlayStation The Best

It’s good to share. That’s the message of this adorable commercial for the budget-priced PlayStation The Best line (known as Essentials/Greatest Hits in other countries), which features a baseball-capped girl hogging her friend’s console, while he has to make do with reading a magazine in the background instead.

“This is great isn’t it”, muses the little girl. “It’s such a good racing game! … Hey, we’re, like, boyfriend and girlfriend now right?”

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“Buy your own”, he shoots darkly from behind his PlayStation magazine.

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5) Kagero: Deception II

“I got you! I got you!” squeals the young woman in this ad, as she traps her boyfriend in comical slapstick pranks, beckoning him into a hole in the ground and tricking him into getting rolled over by a giant ball. The problem, explains the guy, is she’s addicted to strategy-RPG Kagero: Deception II (or Kagero: Kokumeikan Shinsho as it’s known in Japanese).

▼ We can’t help but notice a lot of these ads feature couples…

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▼ Say “cheese!”

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6) Banshee’s Last Cry

Next up, it’s a family affair in this ad for spooky choose-your-own-adventure sound novel Banshee’s Last Cry. “When you get to be my age, you’re not scared of anything,” an old man tells his grandson. “Let’s play this then!” says the little boy, holding out the game, only to be met with a rather less hearty “Er…well…erm…”

▼ Turns out, there is one thing grandpa is scared of.

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7) Crash Bandicoot 2

Last to join our magnificent seven of PlayStation commercials is this adorable ad which sees the titular character as a (rather oversized) elementary school student. Crash is chosen to lead the school disaster drill, but unfortunately, his big head causes problems with the escape plan…trapping the kids inside the classroom.

▼ Ok, so he’s putting a class of 5th-graders in mortal peril. But it’s all in good fun!

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These were our favourites, but to be honest, we think the whole compilation is well worth checking out. And if that’s not enough 90s Sony gaming adverts for you, you could always watch the extended version, which clocks in at an impressive 45 minutes!

We hope you enjoyed this little slice of early PlayStation life! Let us know which are your favourites in the comments.

Source: YouTube/Yawaraka Uchū Kenkyūjo via Kotaku JP
Screenshots: YouTube/Yawaraka Uchū Kenkyūjo 

Related: YouTube/Yawaraka Uchū Kenkyūjo channel