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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.