The most misleading game ads of all time

Representative of gameplay, hmmmm? Now, be fair, Ubisoft, you might occasionally let us protect a squad of Ghost Recon-esque soldiers and blow up tanks. But it never looks quite like the advert, does it?

Call us cynics, but the ad’s promise of flying through skyscraper-strewn cities, with dramatic, panning cameras, and elegant, lightning quick manoeuvres from the fighter jets isn’t quite as exciting in-game.

And a closer look…

Still willing to stand by that ‘Representative of gameplay’ stance, Ubi?

We accept it’s a clever, inclusive slogan. But, c’mon, you really think six billion players could play Dreamcast online together, Sega? Even if you’d given everyone a Ferrari, a mansion made of gold and an ivory backscratcher to convince folk to buy your console, you still wouldn’t have hit that mark. Let alone the reality of a console that only sold 10 million units and was constantly overshadowed by the PS2.

Sega were perhaps just trying to emphasise the potential of having the first ever online console and the multiplayer possibilities that could bring. But they were probably overlooking a few trivial factors that prevented every single person on Planet Earth from buying their console. Like hardly anyone having the net back in 1998, for instance. That, and such piffling things as world hunger and desperate poverty spanning entire continents.

Infinity Ward may be some of the most talented developers in the industry, but the advert for COD 2 could barely be run on a HAL-style supercomputer, let alone the 360.

The beautifully rendered footage and carefully edited action was created with the sole purpose of convincing gamers of the power of the new Xbox 360. Understandable from an amoral sales point of view; reprehensible for promising a view of the game the final product couldn’t possibly deliver on.

The above footage may look quite nice – especially for a first generation 360 game. But it can hardly compare to the gripping power of the ad’s Killzone 2-beating graphics. Thankfully, those kings of justice at the British Ads Authority were quick on the case again. BASA slammed Activision’s misleading advert for not “reflecting the quality of graphics in the game’. And they subsequently banned the publisher from broadcasting the ad.


  • 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 ( 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):
  • 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!

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000