The 8 worst gaming publicity pictures

A picture was worth a thousand words before internet-inflation: now it's worth the same thousand words, but most of them are "LOL" or "meh" and they're spread over a hundred blogs of virtually interconnected assholes. Newly released images are replicated across the net more than an Andy Warhol painting trapped in a photocopier, meaning a single bad picture can hit a company’s weak spot for massive damage.

That's why companies hire entire divisions of PR personnel more insanely dedicated to taking the shot than Lee Harvey Oswald – but because people are people and marketing execs are something else entirely, they still release things more offensively stupid than a Sarah Palin-shaped rocket launcher. Like these images, for example.

1. Xbox girls are easy

The infamous image of three booth babes enjoying an unplugged Xbox.  It's more often seen as the "Female Gamers" demotivational poster thanks to one slightly overlooked detail...

So, yeah. Promotional photos are often fake – big revelation. We were already kinda clued in that this wasn’t exactly a candid shot of real girls at a sleepover, thanks to the fact that the gals in this pic:

a) Look good
b) Are dressed up
c) Pretended to legitimately care about stupid nerd stuff like games

Asking these models to actually play the Xbox in the picture as well is like insisting Pierce Brosnan really kill seventy Russian spies - it's a ridiculous demand based on an impossible fantasy. The problem is, no one else noticed there should be something plugged into its holes (something 90% of all online photographers taking pictures of women know - zing).  So if you've ever wondered how console companies can release such idiotic efforts (and after this article, you will), remember: it's because most of the people involved think gaming consoles are a special type of paperweight.

2. Indiana Jones gets even worse than Crystal Skull

Promoting "Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings" was never going to be easy - it came out a full year after Crystal Skull proved that even Harrison Ford can't make Indiana cool, and that's who he is.  Which may be why Lucasarts went insane and tried to find someone who looked even worse.

Whip expert "Dante" looks like someone's uncle arriving uninvited to a Halloween party 20 years late.  He was hired to break the world record for the number of whipcracks in one minute, which would have been slightly less of a disaster if the previous record-holder wasn't him, and massively less of a disaster if he hadn't still failed. Even more laughable, Lucasarts, obviously more impressed with this man's devastating beer gut than anyone else, bought a $3 million liability insurance policy to protect the event from mishaps. We know it’s a safeguard against whiners screaming “lawsuit,” but this geriatric grog guzzler couldn't do three million dollars worth of damage if he was demonstrating a nuclear warhead.

What's even worse is that "most whipcracks per second" sounds kickass but is less exciting than accountants arguing over a beige tax return.  It consists entirely of waggling the whip back and forward like you're trying to dry the handle, being sure not to snag the whip on anything, and is the least impressive-looking thing you can do with a bullwhip short of failing to hang yourself.  

They forced him to attempt the record outside when the weather was utterly unsuitable. When people are attempting something cool like the land speed record, they wait until the absolute perfect moment. When it's the whip guy, they shout, "shut up and get started, the cameraman's already here and he's got a real skill."

3. The wimpiest Wolverine

We're proud of our humorous images here at GamesRadar, but we swear we didn't make this one.  We couldn't even claim to make something so ridiculous and making ridiculous jokes about games is our entire job.

Activision sponsored Edinburgh Zoo's Wolverine enclosure for a year on two conditions:

1) They change the Wolverine's name to "Logan"
2) Nobody tell Activision what wolverines really look like.

See, actual wolverines don’t look cool. They’re weasels. True, they’re fairly large weasels, but still – not exactly an 850-lb Grizzly bear. Here’s a video of a man holding one like a toddler and kissing it repeatedly. If you don’t know they can fight like an animal several times their size, actual wolverines are about as intimidating as goldfish and less scary than realizing you've ordered too much ice-cream. And unless it’s baring its fangs and hissing like a banshee, it makes anyone around them look like a sissy - which is exactly what “Logan” is doing here.

The promotional images look like Activision are taking the piss out of their own game (though they shouldn't have bothered, since most reviews did it for them.) Oh, and in an unbelievably apropos parallel to the game, this doomed attempt at promoting wolverines involved sponsoring Edinburgh Zoo's wolverine breeding program, despite the fact that the zoo only has one wolverine. Which we now suspect has hairy palms.  Activision couldn't do worse damage to Wolverine’s masculinity unless it made his costume pink and replaced his claws with curling irons.




  • Metroidhunter32 - September 25, 2010 3:42 p.m.

    Last was the worst by far.
  • g4m3rk1dd - September 24, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    that last one is by far the second most disturbing thing i will ever see in my life... the first being the Nintendo Wii...
  • Clovin64 - September 24, 2010 8:47 p.m.

    "Sony’s backtracking was more bloodstained, desperate and ineffective than accidentally people-mowing your motorboat twenty meters up a packed nude beach and then trying to put it in reverse" Well put. Sony, what the FUCK were you thinking? This whole article had me in stiches. Video game companies can be incredibly stupid.
  • AlmightyFuzz - September 24, 2010 8:21 p.m.

    I meant I haven't heard of any these PR stunts...
  • AlmightyFuzz - September 24, 2010 8:17 p.m.

    You've probably generated more publicity for these games with this article than the PR stunts managed, because I haven't heard of any of these!!
  • The_Tingler - September 24, 2010 6:10 p.m.

    @jmcgrotty: "I honestly don't see why anyone has a problem with the Sony goat ad. It's an ad, not reality." Hee, I understand why you'd be wondering why people make such a big deal about an fake ad. The reason people make a big deal about it is that it WASN'T fake - it WAS REALITY! It was a press event, not an ad! They genuinely, real life, did everything GamesRadar said. Topless women, goat sacrifice, inviting members of the press to pull entrails out of a carcass. And then made excuses.
  • DrIntrigue - September 24, 2010 5:46 p.m.

    I remember that Ascii ad! And yes, it was lame, even at the time.
  • philipshaw - September 24, 2010 2:32 p.m.

    Classic Sony PR
  • Waldo - September 24, 2010 1:09 p.m.

    Great article. Some of you guys and gals at GR should think about writing as a profession! I loves me a good like-ism! Seriously, you guys put some thought into your articles, even the ones meant to be silly.
  • big0jeff - September 24, 2010 12:36 p.m.

    Wow! I would have thought that you guys checked your facts before you post something. That Sony stupid PR stunt happen way before God of War 3!
  • BigWillis - September 24, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    That Wolverine is giving the thumbs up, which makes this all much more hilarious.
  • AuthorityFigure - September 24, 2010 11:05 a.m.

    I have the Ascii Pad and the original box too! It is awesome. But, I never dressed that way because my pad didn't come with a make-up kit.
  • jmcgrotty - September 24, 2010 8:16 a.m.

    I've always been confused by this. I honestly don't see why anyone has a problem with the Sony goat ad. It's an ad, not reality.
  • ScrEAMaPiLLar - September 24, 2010 7:18 a.m.

    The last one. SONY what the f*ck? Good article had no idea any of these PR moves actually existed.
  • sepirothpk - September 24, 2010 7:04 a.m.

    GAIARES isn't a Japanese word, can't be written in the language
  • shyfonzie - September 24, 2010 5:35 a.m.

    What the fuck is wrong with Sony!?
  • publicanemone - September 24, 2010 5:16 a.m.

    @ #8 The eye-shadowed, fur-wearing dude ruined the whole thing. It would've been a huge success otherwise.
  • ElAmmoBandito - September 24, 2010 3:44 a.m.

    What about the new move men from sony?
  • Rubberducky - September 24, 2010 3:36 a.m.

    I enjoyed the kitties. Meow
  • tacoman38 - September 24, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    So I went to the link with the wolverine video. And it had 65 hits. I wonder how many were from GR. @Doctalen Truth.

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

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