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Caught up in the Crossfire

It’s now 2018, sometime in the future, and I’m here to talk about the ultimate challenge, Crossfire!

If you are not immediately playing that famous commercial jingle in your head, you’re made of sterner stuff than I am. The rest of us? Crossfire! You’ll get caught up in the – CROSSFIRE! HOOAH!
It’s all coming back to you now, isn’t it? You are probably remembering one of the most iconic commercials of the 1990s, as two kids in leather jackets on hoverboards in a heated deathmatch with that glorious over-the-top metal jingle in the background. The Crossfire commercial was so instantly memorable and iconic, you forget this was a commercial for what was, at the time, the re-release of more than 20-year-old board game where you shoot marbles at tiny hockey pucks.

I just want to take a moment to admire that this is one of the most perfect examples of an advertiser that went above and beyond the call of duty, and created an ad that far surpasses the product it was meant to sell. The Crossfire commercial was one of the most perfect ads of the 90s, one everyone who watched it remembers, and it’s kind of incredible that we know next to nothing about it or the story behind the commercial. It’s almost criminal that Michael Bay got a movie career for his “Got Milk?” ads, while the folks behind the Crossfire commercial are virtually unknown, languishing in obscurity.

As for the game itself, I never got the chance to play it as a kid – while everybody I knew as a kid remembered the commercials and wanted the game, it fell victim to the trend of overprotective parents that started in the 90s, and those marbles were seen as a choking hazard. So, I went a lifetime without playing Crossfire. Until now.
See, one of the highlights of MAGfest this year was that there was a wonderfully lively panel showcasing Crossfire, and organizing an impromptu tournament. Maybe it was the convention, maybe it was the panel hosts, maybe it was that the room was filled with more loud drunks in leather jackets than your average biker bar, but damn if it wasn’t one of the most fun I’d had in a long time.
I even managed to win a round or two myself, before losing a close match that, thankfully, didn’t end with me banished to the shadow realm like that poor teen in the commercial. Sometimes, a lack of truth in advertising is a good thing.

You know what? It was a hell of a good time, though how much of that was the energy of the crowd, and how much was the actual game, I’m still not too sure about. I’m actually really shocked that, as much money as there is in 90’s nostalgia these days, Hasbro, which owns the rights to the game now, has done nothing to take advantage of what, if re-released well, it could be a nice little windfall for the company. If they have enough money to blow on a Battleship movie, surely a Crossfire revival isn’t too crazy?
As I said before, it’s 2018. It’s sometime in the future, it’s time to bring back the ultimate challenge, Crossfire!


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