Ads that subtract

What is Nintendo’s biggest influence on the modern gaming scene? Motion controls? The meteoric rise of the casual market? The range of lifestyle games? They’re all biggies, no doubt. But for our money we’d have to say that the reinvention of the game advert has undoubtedly sent more shockwaves through the gaming bedrock than any of these. You know what we’re talking about: white living rooms populated by long attractive models waving their long attractive limbs as only long attractive people can. The Wii is as much about the waggle as the action on screen, so in-game footage will no longer suffice. Some actors and a load of remotes, how hard can it be? Try telling Sega that…

Iron Chef
Sure he bows to a Wii remote out of respect, but then he also bows to a yellow pepper, so he’s clearly lost his mind. Presented like the cookery show itself (think Masterchef crossed with Takeshi’s Castle, AKA Spike TV’s MXC) two nervous contestants wait to see what ingredients The Chairman has given them. Off comes the blanket, revealing several Wiis and the world’s largest onion.


Samba De Amigo
A winning campaign. Not so much bad but laughably obvious is Sega’s off-the-wall Samba effort. Getting rid of their dress-me-up actorly duo (see below), they opt instead for a genuine monkey. Watch as he bursts through the door with the kind of terrified look you can only get from gluing maracas to a monkey’s hands and forcing it to dance under glaring studio lights.


Ninja Reflex
EA ad creators: as liberal with the Ninja Reflex truth as the game is with value. Ninjas are minimalist in their movement and deeply introverted characters, so they wouldn’t ever flap their arms in this goose-like fashion, especially considering most of the games being demoed only ask for single button presses. The two DS-playing ninjas on the other hand? Ahhh, bless.


Sega Big Bass Fishing
A textbook Sega special. Where Nintendo’s ads are, much like the Wii and DS designs, sleek and to the point, Sega’s ads are madder than that tramp we once met who tried selling us his face. The point of these ads are to put the game actions in real-life contexts. Where exactly CGI lakes, mad gurning and what looks like a Canadian Mountie fit into this equation we have no idea.


King of Clubs
Saying that King Of Clubs is a bit of a budget game is like saying Hitler wasn’t really a people person. Befitting the air of cheap that stinks up the joint whenever the game is mentioned is this masterclass in how not to make an advert. The awkward glances of the family (note: not actual actors) suggest the presence of a shotgun-holding captor just off camera. Smile, or we’ll make you play it for real!


Beer pong 
An upcoming WiiWare game of the infamous frat house pastime (details here), the trailer presents a very twisted view of student living: 1) the students politely line up to play this traditionally rowdy game; 2) where are the braying bozos that always populate such soirées?; and 3) everyone knows students are too lazy to stand up, and this could easily be played sitting down. It’s a fake!


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