More so than Hollywood has ever dared to, video games are keen to push the envelope as far as advertising goes, taking the medium’s image as scuzzier and more subversive than movies and using that to its advantage, offending those not “hip” enough to appreciate the nascent form of entertainment, while appealing to younger audiences who have likely been reared on the likes of Sonic, Mario, Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil.
Over the years, we’ve seen our share of controversial video game ads, ranging from the daring and outrageous to downright racist and sexist, but the prevalent point is that each game or company only received more widespread publicity as a result of running (or attempting to run) the controversial advert, and so the complainers only played right into their hands. Here are 10 outrageous video game adverts that caused major controversy…
10. Daikatana – “John Romero’s About To Make You His B*tch”
Daikatana was a game that we all hoped would be awesome; it was coming from the mind of Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake’s John Romero, and so expectations were naturally high. Romero apparently believed his own hype, and this combined with his bad boy, rock star image caused him to run the above advert, which featured no imagery from the game and simply stated “John Romero’s about to make you his b*tch”.
It all backfired on Romero, though, because constant delays with the game’s release caused the public and press to turn on him, ahead of the game finally hitting stores and being one of the all-time colossal gaming disappointments.
Romero later apologised for the advert, which isn’t just an example of untamed hubris, but also of an ad misguidedly trying to talk down to players, the arrogance of which was not well-received by the public at large. Like they say, karma’s a b*tch…
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This article was first posted on July 23, 2013