Dec 5, 2023

Rescue The Cookie Queen

Rescue The Cookie Queen game card
Nabisco (1989)
This game card was shared on by IHateDiskettes and it caught my eye because I remember this contest from when I was a kid.  In the months leading up to 1990, Nintendo partnered with Nabisco in a promotion that was called Rescue The Cookie Queen.  Specially marked packages of Oreo and Chips Ahoy cookies included this scratch-off game card.

As you can see in the instructions at the top right corner, the game on the card was essentially meaningless.  It pretty much told you to keep scratching off doors until you found a blue key, and then scratch off the door in the bottom left hand corner to free the princess.  Unless you scratched the "void if removed" square, there was no way to lose up to this point.  The part of the game card that really mattered was the door in the bottom right corner.  If the Cookie Dragon was hiding underneath, the game card is a loser, but if it had the name of a NES game, you would win a copy of that game.

This contest was advertised in a commercial that aired during Saturday morning and afternoon cartoon blocks throughout November and December 1989.  It showed the five games that you could potentially win by playing the game.

The games that you could potentially win in this contest are a pretty random assortment.  Two of them were developed and published by Konami (Blades Of Steel and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest), and two of them were published by Acclaim (WWF Wrestlemania, which was developed by Rare and Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II ,which was developed by Zippo Games, who worked with Rare).  The other game, Win Lose Or Draw, was developed by Riedel Software Productions and published by Hi-Tech Expressions.  If these five titles share any common factor that led to them being included in this promotion, I'm not sure what it could have been.

The standout title in the lot is Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, which I had when I was a kid and wrote about in greater detail earlier this week for its 35th birthday in the United States.
Toy Works advertisement - December 1991

The other game from this contest that I had when I was a kid was Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II.  It was a pretty fun platformer that had elements of adventure and early RPG games.  I bought it from a store in Hazleton called Toy Works that would occasionally put NES games on sale for $9.99.  New games usually cost about 40 or 50 bucks in the late 80's and early 90's, and this was pretty far out of reach for me when I was 11 years old.  However, I was able to save up ten bucks once in a while and pick up a game at Toy Works.  They weren't the kind of top shelf titles that get talked about with reverence by retro gamers these days, but I had a lot of fun with them.

I only have a vague memory of Win Lose Or Draw or Blades Of Steel, but I definitely remember playing WWF Wrestlemania when I was a kid.  It was a game that I always had fun playing over a friend's house but I never owned it when I was growing up.  Still, if you can only get one wrestling game on NES, my recommendation is Pro Wrestling.  It doesn't have the licensed wrestlers or music from the WWF but I think it's a better video game.

Even if you weren't one of the lucky winners of the Rescue The Cookie Queen promotion, you could still receive a prize if your family ate enough cookies.  If you mailed in one of the game cards with four UPC barcodes cut off of a package of Oreo or Chips Ahoy cookies, they'd send you a free issue of Nintendo Power magazine.  When you see the insane amount of money that these magazines sell for on eBay these days, the issue of Nintendo Power may have been the more valuable prize.  My subscription started with the third issue and continued for a few years.  Those copies that I had are long gone (probably thrown away by my mother), but if I still had them today, I'd be able to sell them for enough to buy a halfway decent used car.  It's crazy how things like that play out over the passage of time... makes me wonder what we have laying around the house these days that could go on to sell for hundreds of dollars in the future.

Click here to visit for a high resolution scan of the front and back of the game card, and thank you to IHateDiskettes for scanning and sharing it.