Friday, November 30, 2007

Guild Wars: Nothing to Brag About

So, the game has a new commercial coming out. Or, rather, the game has characters featured in an ad for GameStop, the game retail store I wouldn't set foot in if I was on fire and its floor was covered in a solid meter of water. So, maybe I'm a bit biased but I'm not exactly feeling the spot which you can see here. Oddly enough they don't let you embed it yourself or I would have just posted it here and shared it with my vast audience of....two or three people. But, still, power of the internet, viral marketing, the magic of Stephens' tubes, other vague buzzwords that make it sound like I know what I'm talking about and make the point that they really haven't leveraged the medium as well as they could have.

The spot features some of the new Heroes from GW:EN. Except it really doesn't because they don't sound or act anything like themselves and, instead, it plays out like the kind of crappy machina you can find on YouTube and elsewhere. The Dwarven Monk who's name I've never bothered to learn and Pyre, the Charr archer, stand around a big fire whining about the lame gifts hey got for the holidays. And then the Asuran whom I strangle in my sleep every night comes moonwalking in bragging about how his mother got him a stocking full of games or something. Really, at that point, my mind is too clouded by rage to properly focus.

It doesn't sell the game. I'm not even sure it sells anyone on the idea of games being something to buy, either. And if the point is to be "funny" then it's missed the mark in a manner normally only achieved by blind marksmen trying to skeetshoot in the middle of a frisbee tournament. In the middle of gale force winds.

The subtext of the commercial is also odd, to me. The characters sound like, well, snot nosed punks instead of their normal selves which is expecially jarring with Blech. Taken altogether it seems the intended audience for the spot to be, not gamers, but the parents of those who game and are looking for something - or someplace, rather - to get them. If they do they'll be the ones with the happy child. The overly enthusiastic practically spastic one making a jerkgasm fueled spectacle of himself. It's part of a disturbing trend I've noticed in advertising lately. That of holding up if not reprehensible then ill-advised behavior and lauding it as an example of what you want your customers to do. That you want them to be the over-eager, awkward, anxious dolt or to at least associate that sort of person with your company. Because, yes, head to GameStop if you want to be the kind of person whose ingrate loved ones don't look at your gifts with the distaste once reserved for tube socks and neckties. And you, too, can have your relatives and friends bouncing up and down with sugar filled glee at the thought of spending hours of their lives locked away from the world and swallowed up in the kind of electronic bliss that makes them think things like a dance emote are cool. I just don't get it.


Brinstar said...

Gah. What a horrible advert! I can't believe that they've reduced such an awesome game to that shit.

Sausaletus Rex said...

Quite right. Although it's nice to see some advertising and the mainstream media attention paid to the game. It's not exactly the sort of thing that would get anyone I know to rush out to the store and pick up a copy. Instead, it's the kind of thing that makes me wonder whether it's too late to pack up my boxes and get a refund.

This is the sort of thing where, were I still in charge of a forum or something, I'd start a contest for people to come up with their own commercial. Either for GW itself or Gamestop because a)It's awful and b)It could have been done so much better and c)I'd want to turn that sense of outrage into something positive. As it is, I don't have such a soapbox anymore so all I can do is just rage into the night. Good to know I'm not off on my own, howling at the moon, though.