Live In Your #FlashbackFriday, Play In Ours

Because ours has commercials!

Earlier this week, I was thinking about how timely election day is to Thanksgiving and Christmas, since politics and large gatherings go together so perfectly.

Said no one ever.

Politics, family arguments, and family arguments about politics have always had a place in society, and holidays always seem to ramp up those feelings of detest. Unless you’re a person who keeps their opinions off the dinner table – holiday or otherwise (like me, despite an incredible human struggle), you probably have had tense conversations on Facebook, or over turkey and mashed potatoes at least once.

When I was thinking about timeliness of elections and family holidays, I was reminded of a commercial I saw plenty of times between Thanksgiving and Christmas one year, where family strife over, well, family stuff, comes to a head for one family member, who decides to break the obviously intense mood of his family’s holiday meal by confessing something important.

And once he does, some unexpected holiday guests arrive to unite the feuding family.

In this commercial, from the 1998 holiday season, it is not “agreeing to disagree” or “mom screaming for everyone to get along” that ends the arguments…it is a video game console and some of its popular characters. Specifically, they’re united over the Sony PlayStation!

Leave it to the fifth generation of home video game consoles to bring family together.

Fun fact – On the night I recorded this commercial (during the primetime special Saturday Night Live Goes Commercial, Volume 2), I also recorded the infamous Old Navy Performance Fleece commercial. I remember seeing it frequently that holiday season, always laughing at “plot twist” of the commercial, and at sixteen years old, believing that this must happen in families!

And speaking of that plot twist – what a plot twist! One family member comes out as Democrat, and it is FAR WORSE than anything this family has done.

How many families would totally grind their holidays to a halt over such

The Sony PlayStation was introduced in Japan in December 1994, with a worldwide roll out in 1995. The console came during the middle of the fifth generation of video game consoles (1983-2003), directly competing with the Nintendo 64, and eventually the Sega Dreamcast. The PlayStation was not the first compact disc-based console, but it definitely was an improvement over previous attempts. The mascots featured in this commercial are Crash Bandicoot, Lara Croft, and Marcus “Needles” Kane (I think, based on pictures – please clarify if I’m wrong) from Twisted Metal 3, which just was released in October 1998.

Between the PlayStation and PlayStation One (a smaller version released in 2000), 102.49 million units shipped, the first console to exceed 120 million units. This commercial wasn’t to promote a specific game, but instead to promote the system as a whole, bring “goodwill toward men,” and friendly competition instead of family strife.

It was eventually succeeded by the PlayStation 2, in September 2000. And later this month, 22 years after a family fought and stared in shock over one member “wanting to be a Democrat” (HORROR!), the fifth PlayStation console will be released.

Hopefully, owning one will unite a family on the holidays.

“You can’t stop, grandma!”

It can’t hurt.

Have a fantastic Flashback Friday, and a great weekend!

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