The Gratuitously Sexy Arcade Game Ads Of The 1970s

The unlikely collision of glamour girls and vintage video games in trade advertising.

As we’ve previously discussed here on The Reprobate, there is nothing that advertisers can’t use sexy women to help sell. In the great history of gratuitously sexy/sexist advertising, arcade games and pinball machines are probably not the most unlikely products to have scantily-clad women draped over them – though certainly, the disconnect between the women seen in these ads and the reality of the sort of people you’d find hanging around amusement arcades is considerable. These ads were, of course, aimed at the industry rather than the customer and presumably, the sort of businessmen who ran these joints were the sort who would respond more immediately to a woman in hot pants and a tight T-shirt than to any description of the aesthetic qualities of a game. Making a game look exciting in a print ad was hard enough as it was – and for someone who was simply concerned about how much money sweaty teenage boys would be willing to pump into a machine while attempting to rack up a high score, such niceties were hardly important anyway. Like car advertising, glamour girls were used to make the machines – already impressive creations designed to attract the eye – look even sexier.

Below are a collection of trade ads that emphasise cleavage and curves over pixels and gameplay. We won’t, of course, see the like again.