Buy or die
Product placement? In-game advertisement? The exchange of goods and services for an agreed upon fee? Pah! You capitalist dogs make me sick - what with your test groups and your pie charts and your fancy, fancy suits. Curse you. Curse you all! Well now, perhaps I'm being a little bit hasty here - advertising does have some redeeming features after all. For one thing, it helps to keeps things free. Sponsored, I'll grant you, but free. Faceless corporation A pays to shellac your eyeballs every 15-and-a-half seconds and you get to keep on playing, or reading or err breathing, for no money down. Everyone's a winner...
Like all forms of media, gaming has endured its fair share of 'unique' advertising ventures - not least of which was the medium's brief love affair with in-game ads. It didn;t work out that well, to be honest. These were the kind of commercials that would just appear, wily-nily, painted on a lamppost or plastered on a billboard. Never mind the fact that you were too busy fending off spider-folk or whizzing through on a proto-cycle. Who has time to think about long-life batteries at a time like that? But what if they'd really tried to cater these things to the player, to the individual game? What if they'd leveraged the situation rather than been hampered by it? Why, they'd have made an absolute killing. Gee, if only they'd just put
Life insurance ads in Dark Souls
"We here at Necro, Mance and Kline believe that death is only the beginning of your family's crippling financial burden. Last year alone over 18 billion families worldwide felt the added ache of an uninsured passing. Don't be like them. Give your special someones a little something extra to remember you by - no, not a bloated corpse, Billy - this clan wants cold hard cash! Order today and receive our premium 'mortal coil coverage', including additional payouts upon death by bludgeoning, quick-time decapitation, implosive putrefaction and one-hit-kill disembowelment. Your foes may brandish your brain stem, but it's your family that deserves real peace of mind."
Dehumidifier ads in Silent Hill 2
"Hi, I'm TV's Thad Cranchley and I'm here today to tell you all about the positive life benefits of the Thompson 25X803-42391 dehumidifier and moisture denial supersystem. Tested by our experts on the mean streets of Silent Hill, this bad boy chows down on clouds like you wouldn't believe, eating steam, fighting fog and uncovering countless abominations with its built-in moisture detector and X.88 condensation super-collider. Say it with me. This is a great, great deal, and trust me when I tell you that this is 100% absolutely NOT one of those pyramid head schemes youve been reading all about. Thompson is your recognized brand leader in all things atmosphere draining. Call today!
Flu shot PSAs in Left 4 Dead
"Are you feeling fluey this winter season? Are some fluids flowing more freely than others? Do you find yourself craving the flesh of your friends and neighbours? It could just be the onset of a common cold, OR much more likely the beginning of a global pandemic of vicious skin-eating monster men. You owe it to your family to get protected - visit your local health centre today to receive your free winter vaccine. Simply show up and stand in line with a group of similarly symptomatic individuals. What's the worst that could happen?
Steroid ads in Resident Evil 5
"'Sup Brah, something wrong? You're just lookin' a little scrawny there is all, you sure you ain't sick, bro? Haa haaaw, naaw I'm jus' playin wit' you man. But seriously though, you need to start hittin' them weights, dog. Oh yeah, my bad, you already hittin' them weights, right? Haa haaaw, naaw but seriously dog, you need the juice, get those big Frankenstein, ruptured testicle lookin' muscles up in here. Yeah, yeeeah. I can hook you up man, but it's gonna cost ya. It's all legit though, right, so don't tell nobody. Gonna get you looking like Chris Redfield up in dis bitch. Haa haaaw, naaw man but seriously though, don't go punching no nasty ass boulders. Ya Dig? Shit'll blow those waterbed biceps wide open.
Veterinary ads in Raving Rabbids
"Oh Buster, why can't you be more like other rabbits? Hopping along in the garden, nibbling on grass, producing ungodly amounts of what I can only presume to be delicious Nesquick cereal. No, you just run around screaming all day and insisting on repetitive mini-games. If only there was some affordable way to quell your crazy mojo? Well now there is, with the Pets.Inc 'quick snip spay and neuter action plan'. Simply show up to one of our licensed clinics today and we'll rip out your rabbid's baby making innards for the low low cost of just $18.99. That's just 1899 cents!"
XXX enlargement ads in Snake
---**DOCTORS RECOMMEND THIS ALL NATURAL SOLUTION TO SHAMEFUL GIRTH INADEQUACY. XXX ENLARGEMENT PILLS MAKE YOU RESPECTED CAPTAIN OF INDUSTRY, DELIGHT OF FEMALE ADMIRERS EVERYWHERE! ADD 6 INCHES TODAY! 18 TO 30 INCHES IN A WEEK!!*-*- BECOME DISTASTEFULLY WELL ENDOWED - THE ENVY OF ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES. SCORE BIGTIME YES TODAY1!!**---
Crab ointment ads in Tomb Raider
"Itchy, flaky intimate area? Unreturned phone calls from former lovers? Pelvic region playing host to a race of diminutive mantis-people? If you've answered 'yes' to any of the above, then you may just be one of millions of Americans currently suffering from crabs. But what are crabs, exactly? Created in 1945, as part of botched shrink-ray experiment, crabs are the microscopic cousins of the seaside's friendly crustaceans. Incensed by their poor treatment, these vindictive beasts are hell bent on achieving complete pubic annihilation. Thankfully, due to the marvels of modern medicine, there is now a cure! Try 'Captain A-Crab's patented good time, all natural pubic lice relief' today, and we guarantee that you'll start to see results within as little as 8 to 10 months. Don't get crabby Sally, try Captain A-Crab, today!"
Adult diaper/ nappy ads in Outlast
"Violent Bowel Evacuation may seem like an amusing rarity to some, but for hardcore fans of the horror genre - VBE is an everyday concern. That's why we here at RubberBabyBuggyBumpers Incorporated have been working tirelessly to promote greater awareness, compassion and understanding. The days of soiling oneself in abject terror - before scuttling away like a whiffy John Wayne - are well and truly behind us. With our patented 'Adult Diaper/Nappy 9000', you'll never need to break off an all night gaming session, or forego that quick dip in the pool ever again."
Wax polish ads in Hitman
"Matheson's Wax Polish - the polish that's made of wax. Now with 30% less toxic petroleum by-products! Go ahead Mr. Shoeshine, make mine a Matheson's!"
Sponsored by Umbrella Corporation, 'putting the bite back into your community'
Congratulations! The indoctrination is complete! Go forth and spend, my pretties, spend! Or, yanno, just leave your own madcap advertising suggestions in the comments box below. Ciao!
And while you're here, have a look at some of our related features, why the hell don't you? Classic games, 'improved' by microtransactions would be a good bet, and to see how not to do it, check out The 10 weirdest instances of product placement in gaming history.