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Top 7... Blatantly sexist game advertisements

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We suspect it’s very difficult to work in game advertising. Videogames are a scary new artistic medium, and as such, not everyone knows how to market them – even to their target demographic. More than with anything else, videogame ad-makers love to target their audience with sex and sexy imagery, but that’s nothing surprising – advertisers have been using gender dynamics to sell products on TV since the Folgers coffee days.


Above: “Good thing he likes my coffee – otherwise I might lose him to the secretaries at work!”

Still, as games branch out and begin to reach a wider audience, advertisers are relying on more and more out-there PR stunts to get their product noticed. Where is this marketing madness heading? Well, we certainly don’t have the answers here. What we do have is a collection of game ads that veered way off course in trying to appeal to their target demographic, and instead came off as 30- to 40-second chunks of ridiculous, outrageous sexism.


7. Uncharted 2: It’s like a movie!

Sony’s recent spate of PlayStation 3 ads have generally been a big improvement over its usual marketing, seeing as they’ve gone from being incomprehensibly creepy to actually promoting the system’s games and capabilities with a decent measure of humor. The ad for Uncharted 2, however, takes a baffling stance toward the ever-rocky relationship between women and videogames – and in the process, dismissively sandwiches footage of one of 2009’s best (and, ironically, least-sexist) games in the middle of a gag about how girls don’t understand technology.


Above: ‘Dear Sony, my hot girlfriend is an idiot who thinks videogames are movies. Please advise’

The joke is that Jason’s girlfriend thinks she’s been watching a movie while her boyfriend plays Uncharted 2, with controller in hand, presumably dying over and over again. For two days. And OK, that’s kind of funny, and it smartly underlines the ad’s central message: Uncharted 2 is a damn fine-looking game. But the punchline – the girlfriend’s adorable stupidity is all fine and good, because she’s hot – just leaves the guys looking sleazy and falls back on the tired old idea that women, and attractive women in particular, are utterly clueless when it comes to tech.

Oh, Mr. Butler, you clever VP of Big Action Moments, you. Of course it’s not an issue - Mr. Melvin’s getting laid either way! AMIRITE?

In the interest of fairness, though, it’s worth noting that Sony offset the above ad’s wry chauvinism with the “Unsatisfied Girlfriend” ad, starring a woman upset because her Luddite boyfriend won’t hook his PS3 up to the internet.

See? Women aren’t all idiots when it comes to technology. Some of them are also harpies who complain about you to strangers and will never ever be satisfied with anything you do. Not sexist at all.


6. Super Princess Peach: Little warriors

OK. Normally we’re all for messing with traditional gender tropes, especially for comic effect, but our biggest issue with this ad is the suggestion that Peach should be a role model for little girls. Excuse me, Mr. PR man: were you aware of the role Princess Peach plays in the sexual hierarchy of the Mushroom Kingdom? You sure you want girls to emulate that?


Above: Real progressive pouting there, gals

Princess Peach’s legacy has been an everlasting scar on the world of gender politics and gaming for decades, and this ad only rubs salt into the wound. We’re all for giving Peach the ability to prove herself as a courageous heroine equal to her male counterparts, don’t get us wrong. But does the game Super Princess Peach tear down traditional gender roles or reinforce them? …Well, let’s put it this way: in Super Princess Peach, Peach uses her wildly fluctuating emotions to defeat her enemies.


Above: Clockwise from top left: Joy, Scorn, Calm, Sadness. Oh, and in the center is Vacant Stare

Have you ever seen an enemy defeated by drowning them…in your tears?


Above: Yes, that’s Peach crying into Petey Piranha’s mouth to defeat him. We can only hope this doesn’t lead to more hentai

Mario gets to throw fireballs from his hand, whereas Peach and her army of followers get to do…that. Obviously, not the best role model for little girls. Wanna know the worst part? We know from experience (and many rounds of Super Smash Brothers Melee) exactly how strong Princess Peach is capable of being:

Haha, if Peach is shown displaying any kind of agency or strength, it’s hilarious.

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64 comments

  • dropdeadjames - November 2, 2010 8:56 a.m.

    oh, c'mon. rape? that's taking it a little too far. calm down.
  • ranivus - February 8, 2010 11:54 a.m.

    Well i understand all of those as 'blatantly sexist' the last one is kind of way out there. Way out there as in those are all Japanese commercials whereas, all the other ones are western commercials. They have gameshows about fake and real breasts, prankshows in public bathrooms, and another show where contestants get smacked in the nuts by aluminum bats. Those tecmo commercials are pretty tame compared to many other things available in japan. It would have made more sense putting some of those swedish VG commercials in there instead.
  • NicksRage - January 18, 2010 8:48 p.m.

    Tecmo needs to take a cold shower. LOL!
  • Vader999 - January 18, 2010 12:18 p.m.

    Geez loweez! Those boobs are like eggs waiting to hatch! Has Temco gone batshit insane? Instead of Boobs how about showing off something worthwhile instead, like story? drama? action? No it has to be boobs.....no wonder ultra conservatives and women never get into understanding our hobbies........
  • lymanzaar - December 24, 2009 11:36 p.m.

    Joe, where do You find this stuff. Commericials are the most forgotten relic of society, next to knitting. Maybe it's due to the game industry being born in Japan, where Woman's Rights aren't as forfront as they are here in the states.
  • Juggernaut140 - December 22, 2009 7:41 a.m.

    Once again, Gamesradar over analyzes something to squeeze out another article that shouldn't exist.
  • StoveToTheFace - December 8, 2009 10:54 a.m.

    I dont think using sex to sell games is sexist...evey media form does it...moves, tv, internet sites (including yours)..just becuse sex sells dont make it sexist. Now saying somthing like "Women should stop playing games and just leave it to the guys" (now that would be sexist, and not right). but come on no one wants to see a fat or ugly women naked or a fat and ugly male naked, even clothing stores use sexy women and men to model their clothing for the very reason games use hot women as their lead characters and adds use them to sell their games. We are to uptight as a nation go to japan sex is EVEY place you look, the UK too... i say ease up looking at a naked women on a game dosent make you or the people that made the game sexist unless they are making women inferrior to men, statments in games and things characters say sometimes tend to be more sexist..o and the PS3 add really? thats just stupid in no way shape or form sould that be on the list...i can see a few that mabey could be on this list but most i dont deem sexist...this is just my take on the subject but i say dont call somthing sexist when the list you have made up is exactly waht you are saying is sexist...which is think both list and games arnt for the most part.
  • civver - December 7, 2009 11:48 p.m.

    What the hell, where did the ad in number 1 even air? Anyone with a the tiniest smidgen of self-respect would not let it air.
  • reaperman22 - December 7, 2009 6:18 a.m.

    "Touching is good" lol
  • Arukami - December 5, 2009 2:13 p.m.

    Nice Juiced...eheh!
  • Ravenbom - December 5, 2009 10:03 a.m.

    To be fair, they're not really different than half the ads during a football game. (The Juiced ad being the exception) Good article though, Joe.
  • salamander_scales - December 5, 2009 8:43 a.m.

    Try hiring a woman journalist if you want to have articles of this nature. I doubt Joe Newman knows what he is talking about.
  • warhammer3 - December 5, 2009 6:24 a.m.

    first of all, dont act like guys who buy these games arent pervs. second the producers of these games think there is a market for them. but obviously they do not sell, so they are wrong. like i always say way spend 60 dollars on a game like that when you can just get a porn for 20?
  • bloodyshadow - December 4, 2009 11:36 p.m.

    I bought DoAX for the fun of belting hot chicks in the face with volley balls and I kinda got into it for the collectathonish gameplay. Didn't really appeal to me as a sex thing, although I knew that's what they were going for. When DoAX2 came out, I bought it cause I sorta liked the first one... 0 out of 50 achievements. Also, I was excited when I found out there was a video game character named "Bloody Shadow..." Then I found out it was Rumble Roses.
  • silvereye - December 2, 2009 8:36 p.m.

    Aw crap, looks I have been WORSENING the situation than helping it. I am one of those lonely teenagers who wanks to virtual games, apolgies gamers but I think ive just worsened your problem than helped it because of my unattractivness. :( Perhaps GR should do a dating guide for the lonely male gamer? :P
  • AlexMercer1337 - December 2, 2009 9:50 a.m.

    The last video was disturbingly perverted. Thanks for permanently scarring my life.
  • dmaster225 - December 2, 2009 5:52 a.m.

    I was cracking up at number 4 where the boobs were shaking wild. The funniest part was the guy shaking the controller like crazy and then "your wrists will be stronger" hahaha thats a classic.
  • vigeoman - December 1, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    lol i waz the kid with the moustache in six grade no joke
  • awinnerisjew - December 1, 2009 4:43 p.m.

    Anybody else notice that that was Wilson from "House" in the Solar Fox ad?
  • MangaPunkSai - December 1, 2009 2:56 p.m.

    Great, Sony. I love how the implication with either ad is that women just don't play video games. Hi, I'm a 26 year old woman, I own a 360, Wii, PS2, DS, N64... and well a bunch of stuff. I've been playing video games since I was 7. My favorite game series at the moment is Assassin's Creed. I exist. I remember there being another Sony ad where a guy tries to trick his girlfriend by telling her his new PS3 is a "movie downloading machine." She thankfully recognizes what the device is, but then all she wants to do with it is watch the movie 50 First Dates. I'm kinda glad I still haven't picked up a PS3...

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