10 Ridiculous Ways Adverts Were Built Into Video Games

Psst, hey you there... wanna Burger King?

Sneak King
King Games

Advertising can be a profitable venture for everyone involved. Those who are marketing a product or service gain a little more exposure, and the actual host of the advert is rewarded with a bit of extra cash. Plus, if done correctly, it doesn't even have to inconvenience the user too much - see YouTube's skip function - which makes most advertising harmless.

Unfortunately, it's not all good news. Email spam. Cold calling. Those people who knock on your front door trying to sell you a conservatory. Every year that goes by it feels like advertising becomes less subtle and more in-your-face, and while on the surface, it might seem like video games are generally free from this affliction, they contain a lot more egregious shilling than you might realise.

From entire games built specifically to sell you something, to completely random product tie-ins that couldn't be less subtle if they whacked you over the head with an iron, built-in advertisements are a big thing in video games, and chances are, you've been exposed to more than a few of these ridiculous cases over the years.

10. The Nissan Charging Station In SimCity

Sneak King

The launch of 2013's SimCity was a full-on disaster, with widespread reports of network outages, crashes, and losses of save data dominating the game's coverage. But the bad press didn't stop there, as the online city-builder soon came under fire for its inclusion of a Nissan-branded car charging station.

Nothing more than a transparent attempt to make an easy bit of cash, the overpowered item was given to players for free, to place down in their cities. The station didn't produce waste of any kind, provided a happiness boost to nearby businesses, and, most bafflingly of all, didn't even require power to function.

That's right! A charging station for electric cars... that doesn't need electricity to run.

An item like this one - with no negative consequences for using it - directly contradicted the whole risk/reward planning aspect of city builders, and even worse, it stood out like a sore thumb, since nothing else in the game was branded as blatantly as this. It seemed like the objective with this station was to make it as flawless as it could possibly be in an effort to stop people complaining about the advertising itself, but with a giant Nissan logo emblazoned right across it, it was quite hard to not notice.

In this post: 
Mario Kart
Posted On: 

Writer and video editor WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.