…although I would like it on the record that my abiltiy to lose badly at certain games was simply a function of my inability to master 6+ button control schemes. [LINK]
But what, then, should the slogan say? How could the Bureau be concise without coming off as condescending or paternalistic? The teams spitballed phrases and designs. Fay remembers that Davenport came up with the final slogan. Davenport believes it was someone else. “We were just tossing things around,” he said. Anyway, both of them found “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” direct and snappy, with a blithe cheerfulness that would’ve fit at any Boy Scouts meeting. “We wanted to get it to something that was short,” Fay said, “something that you could say winners not only applied to game-playing, but also if you want to be a winner in life, you can’t use drugs.”
Sessions and the Bureau didn’t burden the process with stipulations — just that the design be simple and distinct. “We needed something that was going to be recognizable with the seal there,” Fay said. “Then we wanted to have the short message there, something that would be read and digested by the young people, because the video game players were mainly teenagers — probably 12 to 21 or 22 years old.”
This was really a ubiquitous thing that came after my arcade heyday, but it’s still a fascinating read.