Commercialization in games is a controversial subject. As the medium has attracted more mainstream appeal, it is inevitable that it’ll be considered as a potential marketing vehicle. Nowadays, we bemoan the fact that endless product placement appears in AAA titles, but it’s hardly a new occurrence. Back in 1992, McDonald’s – considered by many to be the de facto face of unrestrained consumerism – lent its likeness to several video games, the best of which is arguably M.C. Kids.
Being a platformer originally for the NES released in the wake of Super Mario Bros. 3, many dismissed it as a lacklustre attempt to wedge in on the Italian plumber’s turf. Indeed, there are superficial similarities, such as a world map and collecting coins, albeit in the guise of the McDonald’s “M”. However, those who looked past its branding and apparent unoriginality quickly found a surprisingly playable chunk of platforming goodness.