The game ads they had to ban

PS2, Xbox and PC game Crime Life: Gang Wars was advertised in free London paper Metro. The game features the band D12, who are known for their gangster rap image, and the ad featured the band members in a line. The ASA received complaints and saw the ad like this:

"The ad showed a street scene with five black men lined up; two of the men were holding guns, another was holding a baseball bat and one was holding a hammer. Text above the men stated 'RULE THE STREETS OR FALL BY THE WAYSIDE.' The complainant objected that the ad was offensive and irresponsible, because it exploited racial stereotypes, glorified violence and encouraged anti-social behavior."

The complaint was upheld. The ASA"accepted that D12 had approved the use of their image but concluded that some readers may not understand that the men in the ad represented the band members and could take the image to be a negative portrayal of black men and be offended by it on those grounds."

Above: Crime Life: Gang Wars.How would you advertise this game without promoting violence?

Now, while we really shouldn't make light of the situation, the closing comment from the ASA's report did make us laugh:

"We told Konami not to repeat the ad and advised them to approach the CAP Copy Advice team for guidance when advertising similar products in future."

They got told.

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.