Child Molesters and Sexy Fighters: A Study of Video Game Commercials
The Kinect for Xbox 360 and PlayStation Move might be fun to play with, but people do not look very cool while they're doing it. Air guitar is not particularly flattering (even if done on stage), and neither is air-anything else, as pleasurable as it might be. This is why I find it strange that a group of admen somewhere in the world think these kinds of commercials would appeal to anyone.
Wow. The best part of the above vids, aside from the air-humping, is how visibly difficult it is for the actors to maintain some semblance of a smile. I'll admit, I am not the target market for a horse racing sim, but I can't see how Koei will profit when they're showing potential customers how much of a dolt they will look like while playing the game.
Game developers and their ad agencies have gone down this road before. Throughout history, games have been promoted with actors trying way too hard to make it seem like they're having fun pretending to play the games. Here are a couple more particularly egregious examples...
I've tried the above technique before. It doesn't work. And that guy's creepy look from the video's still image might just be the most disturbing expression in this heavy list of creepiness.
Why didn't you save your own game, Harry? Why would it even matter in Ready 2 Rumble? And why are you hanging out with a bunch of local teenage boys late at night in your robe? Dreamcast had a lot of excellent commercials, but leave it to Best Buy to ruin the franchise.
Even Serena Williams, a style icon and gifted athlete, looks horribly awkward doing a forehand with a Move controller in the above banned Top Spin 4 spot.
Remember R.O.B.? Now THAT was a useless piece of hardware.
There are two other types of video game ads, which seem to do a much better job of making their subjects look entertained, while not making them look like Napoleon Dynamite's backup dancers. The first (and best) are dramatized versions of the games themselves. These have become popular among AAA shooters as of late, most famously this Gears of War commercial:
Modern Warfare did it, too—but not as well.
I understand using some fancy software to make cinematic commercials that looks better than the in-game graphics, but this is going a little too far, Nintendo...
More hit-or-miss are those brave spots that montage between the previous two kinds. They can either be really cool, hilariously bad or nausea-inducing.
In-game footage, valid claims of technical superiority, Michael Jackson, Joe Montana and perhaps the greatest forgotten hero of the 1980s—Buster Douglas. It's a shame that all of the really great commercials from SEGA, like this one, couldn't keep them in the hardware business.
The above videos is just some more awesome fusion ad work from SEGA. Note that the kid isn't PLAYING the console—he's just in awe of it.
"Well, the characters in the game don't look sexy enough. Let's go hire some sexy human chicks for the fighting instead and show the quickest shots of the game that we can get away with in-between! Meeting over. To the bar, gentlemen."
I don't know about anyone else who was a kid when this came out, but I remember seeing this on TV and going nuts with excitement on my trundle bed.