Not every video game is a smash hit. Not every game is a Super Mario Brothers or Pac-Man. Sometimes you find one that is just a game. Have you played this one?
Centered around the long time mascot of a popular beverage, Kool-Aid Man was a video game released for the Atari 2600. A second, completely different game was made for the Intellivision.
The game remains as one of the most obvious product placements in video game history. In a further attempt at marketing the beverage, the game was obtainable for free by mailing in 125 proof of purchase points.
While it was initially available exclusively through mail-order, it was later released through traditional retail outlets.
Let's take a closer look at the two different versions of this thirst-quenching game.
The Atari 2600 Version:
The setting was a simple pool of water and the object of the game was to quench the “thirsties”. Thirsties were round creatures that tried to drink up all of the water in the pool. Hitting a thirsty that wasn’t drinking water caused the player to be bumped back and lose time. However, a thirsty was vulnerable when drinking from the pool (an action indicated by a straw of variable length extending from the thirsty to the pool.) Hitting him used Kool-Aid to quench the thirsty’s thirst, and thus saving the pool. Winning a level usually required quenching around 30 thirsties, which will take the player to a faster level. The game is lost either by running out of time, or by losing all of the water in the pool. The Kool-Aid Man can obtain power-ups, giving him temporary invincibility. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, wow that sounds confusing and crazy... but why don't you play this game right now!?!? Go ahead!! Click this link and play the game on the internet archive!!
The Intellivision Version:
This version made a little more sense. The gameplay involved two kids running around trying to make their favorite drink while being chased by... ghosts? Yes. Ghosts. The kids had to get the water, get the Kool-Aid mix, mix it together, and then Kool-Aid Man would heroically bust through the wall to scare the ghosts!!!!
Here is some game play video :
Was Kool-Aid Man a great game? No. Do we love the fact that this video game exists?