Top 7... Blatantly sexist game advertisements

Interestingly, the tagline for this ad was originally “The Girls of DOA slip into something more… comfortable,†but the line was changed before it was released – we’ve picked this version of the ad simply because we think it’s funnier. (The original can be found here.) And while the ad is certainly objectifying to women, you do have to feel sorry for the guys shown here. With Dead or Alive: Xtreme Volleyball, you’ve got a big, neon sign calling out: “Hey! Hey you! Masturbate to our game!†But then, the ad whips right back around and shows these guys reacting to the sexiness on screen as if their mother just walked into the room:

Wait – now you’re supposed to feel ashamed about being attracted to these scintillating creatures? What are we, in church? And then Tecmo, the game’s developer, acts all outraged when a hacker releases a nude patch. What gives?

We understand that the ad is joking around, and that the guys playing DOA:XBV are still clearly having a good time despite their awkward pillow-boners, but that doesn’t change the fact that this ad makes you feel dirty for thinking exactly what you’re supposed to think. Furthermore, any ad that forces you to ogle women and then implies that “ogling women is naughty†is just reinforcing objectification as alluringly taboo. Really, you’d have to be blind not to notice it. (And if you are blind, we sure hope it isn’t because you’ve noticed it too much.)

Take a good, hard look at this man.

This man… is a douchebag.

Our hope is that this is the closest he ever gets to women - or women’s panties - for the rest of his life. The sexism here should be pretty obvious (we hope!): the girls are portrayed as morons, the man easily tricks them into sexually compromising positions, and the announcer is totally into it. “Get hot girls to wrestle on command. Up in the ring, or down in the mud. It’s Rumble Roses… and it plays as good as it looks!†We just have to point out again that the man pictured above is what the marketing team at Konami thought represented their target demographic – this is the type of person they think you want to be.

Above: Ouch, Konami. Ouch

You can’t entirely fault the makers of this Rumble Roses ad, if only because the game they were forced to advertise for was just as shallow and unforgivable. Rumble Roses was always designed to be a masturbation tool first, game second. So, in a way, an artistic, pretentious depiction of foxy boxing would have come across as even more offensive. Speaking of which…

Wait a minute… wasn’t Tekken supposed to be the “classy†fighter? No, wait, we’re thinking of Virtua Fighter – you know, the fighting game without the boxing kangaroo.

You may have seen this ad before, but you can’t argue with its place in this list:

Wow. Just… wow. Let’s check off the boxes, shall we?

First off, we have a couple of guys who are big enough tools to sit around on street corners playing video games installed in thedashboard of their car.

As a woman walks by, the guys discover that the adjustments they make to their car also affect the woman’s clothing and even her physique. As soon as the boys discover the effect their actions have on this girl, they set about gleefully tearing her clothes off with the help of their magical controller.

Above: We take it back. These guys are way bigger douchebags than Rumble Roses Guy

The ad ends with the woman left alone, at night, in the city, with nothing on but a thong and a Juiced logo branded on her ass. We have to hand it to the writers of this ad: by equating a woman with a car, they took the process of “objectifying†a woman to a whole new level.

But if you feel like there’s something more insidious in this ad than a couple of bare breasts, you’re right. The humor in this ad isn’t simply good-natured, off-color “Boy’s club†fun. Let’s be clear: this is a depiction of sexual assault. (Magic controller-assisted sexual assault, but sexual assault nonetheless.) And for what? To promote a racing game? For God’s sake, the cars in Juiced don’t even have visible drivers in their windshields.

Above: See?

Somebody in a marketing department believed that this deeply messed-up ad for Juiced was what male gamers were clamoring for, and personally we find that a little insulting. PR mishaps are understandable, but if a PR team chooses to portray male gamers as budding digital rapists, then that’s taking things too far. As a representation of what marketing folks think of gaming culture, these ads show nothing but contempt for their target audience. Which – to us – doesn’t seem like very good salesmanship.

Nov 30, 2009

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