In 2021, video game marketing tends to be pretty slick. But it wasn’t that long ago that the medium, in the process of trying to drag itself out of the advertising dark ages of the 1980s and ‘90s, was still prone to some decisions that have aged a lot worse than the games they were selling.
And few have aged as poorly as the official Halo 2 condom, which as you can see by the foil packaging Microsoft went to the trouble of making, sure was legally cleared and certified as a functional prophylactic. The “coming soon” was, I’m sure, just a coincidence.
As you can probably imagine, 17 years later these are getting pretty rare, and this one has surfaced recently because it was picked up by Xbox collector @GameboxUkv:
I am very happy for him that he got one that was specifically “new in box,” given the horrific alternative. As he says, there aren’t many of these out there in 2021; he only knows of one other in the hands of a collector, though you can see another that Microsoft had sitting around in the archives here in this video by Halo studio 343 from last year:
There are things you look back on as you get older and say you “regret,” but those are usually things like overly-baggy jeans, and you don’t really regret them, you’re just laughing at the tricks played on us all by the slow passage of time. But this? What was the thought process behind a Halo 2 promotional condom beyond “hurnh hurnh let’s make a condom for the fellas”? (Rhetorical question, there wouldn’t have been one!)
Imagine, if you will, a romantic evening in early 2004. The meal is over, it’s a warm summer night, and as you share a cab ride home things start to get intimate. You head upstairs, kissing passionately as you both land on the bed, and then you reach for a drawer on your bedside table.
Out comes a Halo 2 promotional condom. And you both die of shame. RIP.