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The most misleading game ads of all time

Traditionally, a videogame advert is supposed to highlight its product’s strong points in a concise, well-edited package that screams to impressionable consumers: “Buy me, and all my officially-endorsed peripherals!”. That, or be a 30 second, cynically-produced tapestry of lies made to trick and entice people with big explosions, misleading FMV and lady parts.

The latter is the sure-fire path to tread if you’re a smarmy ads guy who knows they’re peddling pump. Thank the good lord the following game publishers would never stoop to such money-grabbing lows … oh.

Naughty, naughty EA. Who got caught by the British Advertising Standards Authority for telling sizable, Xbox-shaped lies in their ads? That’s right, while the Wii may be the generation’s media darling, no one ever wants to talk about its dark, terrible truth. It looks royally pap on TV. And imagine how bad EA thought the Wii version of Tiger Woods looked that they chose to use 360 footage instead.

Worse, they slapped Tiger with Wiimote in hand over said footage - bearing his trademark ‘I’ll sell any old shit for endorsements’ grin. Needless to say BASA weren’t too pleased when they found out the Wii game looked comparable to, oh say, the below.



EA’s considered response was priceless. The publishing giant, in a vein excuse to justify why they used the 360 verison, claimed footage from the Wii version “was not of broadcast quality”.

A cynical ploy to fool impressionable gamers into buying their product it may have been, but Tiger on Nintendo’s little white box remains a decent game. And the successful motion controls arguably add more to the experience than any HD graphics could. Cheaters never prosper, though, and the BASA quickly pulled the ad from British screens.

What’s more epic than superheroes blowing up giant robots, levitating cop cars and Patrick Stewart’s booming tones in the background?

We suspect the answer’s not a top down brawler that lets you unleash the awesome power of Wolverine’s adamantium by slashing bins.

With fugly visuals and uninspired button bashing, Legends hardly lives up to the moniker ‘The X-Men game we’ve been waiting for.’ And, with nary a shred of in-game footage, the final commercial is nothing but a Marvel fanboy’s wet dream. What. A. Lie.

We can just picture the Microsoft ad guys’ pitch for this one.

Ad guy number 1: “So how do we convey to the consumers that this is going to be the Chief’s most desperate, epic fight for the fate of mankind ever? Ideas people.”

Ad guy number 2: “How about we put together a Hollywood-shaming reel of in-game footage combining tightly edited music, cutscenes and imagery?”

Ad guy number 3: “What about showing an in-game Master Chief struggling through a series of life or death battles with the Covenant?”

Ad guy number 1: “Nah, screw all that work. Let’s just film all those Halo toys we’ve got around the office.”

Bravo boys.

Hundreds of Covenant and human forces battling it out. UNSC troops actually killing some bad guys. A sprawling, open-ended battlefield. So much of the ad hints at an experience far more epic than what gamers could actually play.

Don’t get us wrong, Halo 3 is still a really solid and enjoyable FPS. But, unlike the ad, it never feels epic. Don’t believe us? Well, watch the following footage of the last boss fight. We’re fairly sure those hopes of a ‘Believe’ ad-style sprawling finale last as long as it takes to blow up the tiny robot.

Halo 3’s ‘Believe’ advert was just one of many examples of an overly-important marketing campaign. A campaign that lost sight of what its game could actually deliver to its audience.

41 comments

  • MagicArmadillo - April 2, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    what is the song for pacific rift?
  • likedamaster - March 23, 2009 11:54 a.m.

    I can come up with better ones than these, seriously wtf?!!
  • jar-head - March 22, 2009 4:10 p.m.

    I'm sure Halo ODST will put you on the spot with a couple epic battles that should have been in halo 3, why? Because the chief had to End the war, you, just a regular ODST(the Irony...) Will have to save whats left of earth from the Covenant.
  • Defguru7777 - March 21, 2009 9:12 p.m.

    I knew COD 2 would be on here. I always thought that the Halo 3 figurine ads were going for a "History Channel documentary in the future" kinda thing.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - March 21, 2009 12:09 a.m.

    Xmen Legends was a fun game!
  • gmilf71 - March 20, 2009 10:13 p.m.

    all right quit yer dam whining about motorstorm. it was obvious that you wouldn't jump out of air planes in the game. that's why the thing was filmed in live action. soundtrack was awsome, though. gogol bordello.
  • tumes - March 20, 2009 7:52 p.m.

    Hmmmm. Dunno bout all of this. The Halo ad, even if it wasn't representative of the game, was one of the few bits of game advertising that I'd say has some intrinsic value outside of its target audience. I really don't get the hype over the Halo franchise, but I can connect to that ad regardless. I'd say the only one that tops it is the Playstation Double Life ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Bqq38WZctA) which has prose so good it makes me shiver. With regard to the Dreamcast, I think it's a bit more clever than they say. It's like saying Obama's slogan of "HOPE" was stupid because life sucks. Life does suck, and regardless of his ability or inability to bring hope it's a good advertisement because it explores possibilities. Same with Dreamcast. To put it another way, the implication is that "Maybe 10,000 people to play with because we're a failed console" is a better slogan because it's truthful. Also, almost no one had the net in '98? I didn't have a router then, but I sure as hell had the net. I'm not trying to be overly critical here, there's some good stuff in the article. It just seems that there are also some weird generalizations and padding that harm the integrity of the article.
  • Spybreak8 - March 20, 2009 6:47 a.m.

    COD 2, I've seen, Perfect Dark I haven't! Holy cow she's hot until they show her and then you're like go back to the bed sheets look lol. Gotta love marketing. Oh and the biggest thing here is that you can do a whole lot more not in real time, being a designer and all I would show off the hard work I put in the CGI as well. Still not showing in game footage, as really what the player sees with interface and all, shouldn't be condoned.
  • JohnnyMaverik - March 20, 2009 3:43 a.m.

    I don't mind it when they go all artistic like in the perfect dark or Halo 3 adds for example but that HAWK add really gets on my tits, and not very impressed with the golf (cant rememba the name of the game and really dont want to either) either. I meen that HAWK add "representative of actual gameplay", bullshit, ultra fast action, panning camera angles, visuals that look they belong in a Spielburg masterpiece, it'd be great to watch but bloody impossible to run on most machines or more to the point even play. Perfect dark was still an orgasmic game though, and back when I was 10 believe me those graphics didn't look too bad... I'd have shagged her, although come to think of it I wouldent have really known how. I still play it sometimes.
  • coda_ - March 20, 2009 1:54 a.m.

    That juice in the perfect dark ad looked effing delicious.
  • IceManYEA - March 19, 2009 10:13 p.m.

    Were can i find Perfect dark ad?
  • Jimmyjammy - March 19, 2009 6:24 p.m.

    The 'Believe' ad was fantasmagsm but the key was in the name: be-lie-ve. I waited the whole damn game for that fucking level. So disapointed...
  • Furyspittles - March 19, 2009 5:27 a.m.

    I'm not trying to jump at the first site of discrimination or anything, but Did anyone else think the perfect dark ad was a little sexist? lol.
  • Yellowhat17 - March 19, 2009 3:33 a.m.

    @Cwf2008 If you don't like the site and criticize for the stupidest things, why do you read it? reCaptcha:poten Michelena
  • Stabby_Joe - March 19, 2009 2:58 a.m.

    Lost Planet's was also a good example, huge raging battles... but the game was confined to just your character most of the time...
  • noobeater - March 18, 2009 8:46 p.m.

    admit the hawx advert looks good tho oh and i kinda liked the halo one u should all see the american banjo tooie advert i think its hilarious...(oh and so is the japenese version of banjo kazooie but ill leave u to find that do tho its great): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBYOfwi7ElQ
  • Yellowhat17 - March 18, 2009 8:21 p.m.

    Perfect Dark N64: Awesome game. Even more awesome ad.
  • oryandymackie - March 18, 2009 7:19 p.m.

    man, I loved the first MotorStorm. No male in my classroom had ever seen such graphics. On a school trip when we saw the PS3, complete with Motorstorm, we stood, mouths agape, for a full 45 minutes
  • ELpork - March 18, 2009 7:07 p.m.

    Ahhhaha, ahhhh, Ohhh COD 2.....
  • RebornKusabi - March 18, 2009 6:21 p.m.

    I remember the Perfect Dark ad... I was 11 or 12 at the time so the sex appeal kinda sold me- too bad the game was nothing like that! Did I say "Too bad"? I meant good news, because even though I had gotten the game for sex appeal (Which it didn't have >_>) I stayed for the completely badass and insanely impressive game that it was contained within that cartridge. I consider to this day that the Perfect Dark ad mislead me in a good way- my horny teenage self got a gutpunch for it's stupidity but my gamer self got an awesome game!

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