The Top 10 Nerdiest Mail-Order Ads from the Back of Rolling Stone

By Sherilyn Connelly in Daily Lists, Miscellaneous
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

7) Addicted to Space Invaders T-Shirt, RS #331, November 27, 1980.

And then there were video games. They kept a pretty consistent presence in the back pages for the next few years, up until the time of what we now call the Video Game Crash of 1983. This ad appeared right around the time that Space Invaders was getting overshadowed by another video game we'll get to shortly, but it seems appropriate to me that this was the first ad, considering how utterly enduring that character design has turned out to be. If you don't believe me, switch back and forth a few times between this page and the page for Groove Coaster. It's fun! But the real juggernaut that had taken over by then was ...

8) How to Win at Pac-Man, RS #361, January 21, 1982.


Now, the majority of the Pac-Man merchandise was in the form of T-Shirts by a company called "The Wiz Kids," which proudly proclaimed that they offered licensed products, and that they were the "Printers of the Official Videoshirt."TM (Yep, they had the temerity to trademark that slogan, lest somebody else snatch it up.) But the ads for the not-licensed products were much more interesting, such as neckties, hand-painted ceramic pins, and this especially this publication by Dayton's redoubtable "Computergame Experts." There's just so much to love: The eyeball that gives the unhyphenated Pacman the speed-freak look that his behavior always implied, the cascading logic of learnable secret format (format, you say?) that will not only allow you to impress your friends but in fact play all night thanks to their simple instructions. I can only imagine how many budding Billy Mitchells sent in their $3 and never saw it again, in spite of the "Money Back Guarentee" [their sic, not mine].
LINK: "budding Billy Mitchells"

9) Bar Trek, RS #432, October 11, 1984.


Curiously enough, this is the only Star Trek-related ad I could find. I'd thought for sure that there'd be something during the rise of the show's fandom in the mid-'70s, but no. Hey, at least it's the OFFICIAL Bar Trek T-Shirt, courtesy of the "Retarded Cat Foundation." Uh-huh. And I'm sure that if they COULD have thought of something better for the couple lines than than "Jim Beam Me Up. Vulcan blood green," they totally would have. So get off their back, already.

10) Godzilla LiteTM Refillable Butane Table Lighter, RS #456, September 12, 1985.


And finally, just as Godzilla 1985 was leaving an undistinguished run in American theaters, this was made available to a public desperate for new stylish ways to light tables. (That's what a table lighter does, right?) Among the things I'll always love about Roger Ebert is that he though he rightfully slammed the movie, there was a poster for it visible in his office during the opening credits of his television show. Did he also have a Godzilla LiteTM somewhere in his office? I'd like to think so.

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