Videogames and advertising – uneasy bedfellows?
October 4, 2009
I’m going to have to put two different hats on for this post. As a designer who has straddled both advertising and videogaming disciplines, commercials promoting videogames are obviously something of interest to me. I’ve just seen this Uncharted 2: Among Thieves US TV commercial over at Joystiq and at the end of it, I found myself with two contrasting opinions about it.
My initial reaction was to laugh – the ad is funny; the punchline is delivered with perfect comic timing. But at the end of the day, isn’t this the kind of sexist stance that characterises the world of gaming? For too long, our favourite pasttime has been viewed exclusively as a boy’s domain. With the smash commercial success of the Wii and DS, Nintendo is starting to change that perception, and appeal to a broader audience with it’s user-friendly ‘casual gaming’ initiative. The barrier to entry for ‘non-gamers’ (a demographic traditionally including everyone except adolescent boys) is lower than ever before, enabling other family members to finally understand why we will gladly spend hours on end sat in front of our TVs, controller in hand. My parents have recently bought a Wii, and they play on theirs much more than I play on mine. Surely, this is a positive step in the right direction?
Watching the Uncharted ad reminds me of the first time I saw the ‘Willst thou…’ UK advert for Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (watch it until the end to understand my point). I laughed then, just as I did now, and that aired 11 years ago when I was just 16 years old. Despite this, isn’t it time that we changed tact – and embrace this new breed of gamer, rather than marginalising, and making fun of them? Or am I just being too uptight?