Everyone knows that classic video games are fun to play, but did you also know they were once part of a sugar-infused "well balanced breakfast"?
Oh sure, everyone chowed down on TV and Movie themed cereals such as C-3POs, Mr. Ts and of course Urkel-Os, but back in 1982, Ralston Foods took notice of the enormous popularity of video games and quickly signed a licensing deal to release the very first video game cereal.
This lead to a series of retro video game themed breakfast cereals spanning from the '80s on though Y2K'.
In putting together this list of sweetened, fruit flavored, marshmallow corn puffed deliciousness, we learn that not only are all of these cereals extremely bad for you, but that all but one of them are based on Nintendo games.
Donkey Kong - 1982 - Ralston
"Crunchy barrels of fun for breakfast.
Donkey Kong...Donkey Kong Cereal
You'll Love the Crunch!"
The commercial to the very first video game cereal features an animated version of the Donkey Kong, with DK carrying the perilous Pauline up the side of the cereal box, then tossing down barrel shaped cereal pieces at poor Mario, who smashes a mallet down on the barrel which a crunch; All the while a voice over that sounds suspiciously like William Marshall (Blacula, The King of Cartoons) booms between the repeating chorus above, followed by "Now, on your breakfast table, Donkey Kong brand cereal...The sweet crunchy corn taste will drive you ape."
Unlike the video game cereals that followed it, Donkey Kong didn't feature marshmallows or characters from the game. Instead it consisted sugar "sweetened" corn puffs in the shape of barrels, symbolizing the ones Donkey Kong throws at Mario in the famous Shigeru Miyamoto arcade game.
Pac-Man Cereal - 1983 - General Mills
"You can do it! You can do the Pac-Man!
You can do the Pac-Man!
With Pac-Man Marshmallows you can open wide.
Gobble up the ghosts that are hiding inside.
Marshmallow orange, red, pink, or blue,
Gobble up good, or they might chomp you.
You can do it! You can do the Pac-Man"
That was the theme music to a huge dance-infused Pac-Man Cereal advertising campaign that bombarded kids during Saturday morning and after-school cartoons. "Do the Pac-Man" was a dance created specifically for the TV Spot where kids held out their arms and clapped, mimicking Pac-Man's chomping mouth.
Pac-Man was probably the most popular of the video game inspired cereals, featuring surer coated corn-puffs similar to Kix, and marshmallows colored and shaped to look like Pac-Man and the four Ghost Monsters.
Over the lifetime of the cereal General Mills added a Ms. Pac-Man marshmallow, which looked the same as Pac-Man, but featured her iconic pink bow, and finally a Super Pac-Man marshmallow that was the same as the cereals namesake, just larger.
Donkey Kong Junior - 1983 - Ralston
"There's a jungle of delight,
in every fruity bite,
of Donkey Kong Jr. Cereal
It tastes like fruit and it's lots of fun.
New Donkey Kong Junior cereal."
The commercial even has an animated Donkey Kong Jr. saying, "It's wild with fruit flavor."
Nintendo Cereal System - 1989 - Ralston
It's for Breakfast Now!
It's a cereal - WOW!
Super Mario Jumps
In a fruit flavored crunch!
Here's Zelda too!
It's berry good news!
Mmmm, you just can't loose!
Two cereals in one. Wow!"
A new, and short-lived, concept in sugary breakfast cereal originally introduced by Nerds cereal (also from Ralston), featured two different cereals in one box.
The cereals themselves weren't all that different from one another. Both were flavored puffed corn and featured shapes that hardly resembled the characters from the games on which they were based.
The Super Mario side was fruit flavored and included shapes of Mario, Koopas, Goombas, Bowser, and is probably the first cereal to feature mushroom shapes...or the shape of an chubby mustached plumber for that matter.
The Zelda side is all berry flavored heart, sword, key, a boomerang and Link.
Pokemon - 2000 - Kellogg's
Sorry, no commercial jingle for this one.
In the only Nintendo branded cereal not released by Ralston, this is just one entry into the ludicrous Pokemon branded foods that ranged in everything from Pop-Tarts to Beef Curry. It is also the only cereal on our list that was sold in both the United States and Japan.