I remember next to nothing about MTV’s Club Dead, apart from the lingering feelings of horror and disdain the whole “full motion video” CD-ROM game fad of the early-to-mid-Nineties instilled in me. Ballyhooed as the “Next Big Thing,” the FMV game thing was really just a massive cop-out that took advantage of the CD-ROM format’s massive leap in storage space from its floppy disc forebears. It ended up manifesting as an aggressively hyped nightmare of grainy compression, made-for-public-access-TV stage sets, and too many struggling and/or failed actors addressing the screen with a unsettling tone of familiarity.
Dragon’s Lair might’ve been simplistic on the gameplay front, but at least it was backed up by some gorgeous Don Bluth animation — not a haggard former child actor going through the motions for bail money. I have no nostalgia for these games and the only curiosity I might harbor about them is of the most morbid variety.
That said, the 1995 SPIN Magazine ad for MTV’s Club Dead is a masterpiece of middle 1990s trash futurism.
Just look at that garish motherfucker. It’s like someone tried to recreate a Vaughn Oliver 4AD album cover with a shareware graphics editing program…while blindfolded. There’s a hideous majesty in its meat-thumbed attempts to channel the technological zeitgeist into a pitch for some film school dropouts’ attempt at interactive cyberpunk fiction.
So a pretty solid summation of the era, actually.