Dungeons & Dragons TV Commercials Then and Now

Posted by Labyrinthian in , , , , ,

Dungeons and Dragons has changed a lot over the years. Yet one does not need to delve into the rulebooks to notice the alteration.  One only need to take a look at two commercials, a first edition commercial from the 80s and a much more recent commercial for 4e.


(Yes, that was Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.)


(We got to see that Beholder last year in our trip to Gen Con.  He looks pretty awesome, and is really massive.  I'm sad to say the poor fellow has lost some teeth though.)

The two commercials are so vastly different that it's hard to believe that they are for different editions of the same game!

Now I want you to do me a favor, and I know this is going to be difficult.  

I want you to forget everything you know about roleplaying games.  Pretend you don't know anything about them.  You are just a someone who is bored and is looking fun to do.  You are watching TV, and these comercials air back to back.  

Which commercial do you like better? Which game do you buy? Why?

This entry was posted on Monday, January 24, 2011 at Monday, January 24, 2011 and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Holy crap, what a contrast!

That new commercial blows ass. I would totally play the TSR game.

January 24, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Ugh, I hate both commercials! Of course, one is over thirty years old and is VERY dated.

Analytically, I would say I'd have to play the first game from TSR. It does the best to show you what a game can be like. The second one is just... too... I don't know what it is going for. It expects you to already "know", which is poor advertising in the modern day of recruiting new players.

Now, if they CGI'd the first commercial, then they'd have something there.

January 24, 2011 at 1:45 PM


Not fair to judge the first one out of context.

January 24, 2011 at 1:56 PM

No, it isn't. Sorry.

But I did acknowledge its age. Also, it did still get its main idea across better than the second one. Not bad for a trigenerian commercial.

January 24, 2011 at 4:04 PM
AJ Butterwick  

I'd have to say THEN gets my vote. It shows people at the table having fun. The NOW shows a (nice looking) Beholder at various places around a city that may or may not have anything to do with role-playing games.

January 24, 2011 at 4:42 PM

For what it's worth, "Then" gets my vote as well. While certainly a little dated, it is the one that makes excited to play. I would have loved that commercial when I was a kid!

The second one just makes me wonder if the Beholder would work as a scarecrow...

January 24, 2011 at 5:28 PM
anya marie mcdonald  

I too would have to go with the "Then" commercial.

The second commercial would have been better if they would have had some players fighting the Beholder, but I guess that was too much to as for.

February 15, 2011 at 6:30 AM

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