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[VGAD] Letting The Advertisements Speak For Themselves


[VGAD] Letting The Advertisements Speak For Themselves

These days, a game purchase is something that rarely happens on a whim.  With the high price of games and the limited budgets of many gamers, it’s important to put thought into purchases, making sure that a game is actually worth the fifty or sixty dollars that it’s being sold for.  That involves looking at gameplay videos, reading previews and reviews, listening to the opinions of friends, and possibly more for those who like to be as thorough as possible.  However, every once in a while, there will be a game that is not only amazing in and of itself, but also has a fantastic advertising team behind it, creating an unstoppable force that results in an instant buy, no questions asked.  What follows are the Twinfinite staff’s stories about such games.


A little over a year ago, Capcom published a little game called Ghost Trick.  Once it came out, I saw good reviews and heard immense amounts of praise from friends who bought it, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me.  Until I saw this trailer:

To date, I consider this one of the best game trailers I have ever seen.  It shows off the game perfectly, giving viewers a taste of the games unique and beautiful graphics and art style, as well as utilizing an amazing medley of the game’s music.  To be honest, the music was the main reason that I decided to buy Ghost trick.  The video is hectic, giving out major plot points with words flying all over the screen and flashing characters at you, promising a mystery and skimming along its surface.  The final movement of the trailer is what sealed the deal, presenting a sea of dialog snippets accompanied by character silhouettes as the music changes to an incredibly exciting tune; I still get goosebumps when I reach that part.  After watching, I wanted to fill in the many gaps and answer the questions posed by the trailer, leading me to almost immediately go out and purchase the experience that quickly became one of my favorite games of 2011 and began the growth of my obsession with the Ace Attorney team.


The only game I’ve bought purely off its advertisement is Bioshock. I remember watching the commercial for the first time on TV and watching it just because it had “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin playing in the background. I was expecting something light and cheerful, like every other time the song has been used, like at the end of Finding Nemo. Instead, I was stunned to see someone drowning and a magnificent city underwater, followed by some of the most exciting action scenes I had seen in a while. I immediately looked to find as much information about this game as I could. I read articles, interviews, and anything they put out about it. The more I saw, the more I wanted it and interestingly the more I learned, the more I went back to the commercial and played it over and over. I thought that if even 25% of the stuff in the commercial was possible in game, I’d buy it first day, which I did end up doing and I loved every minute of it.


I remember going to the mall one day with my parents when I was younger. I don’t recall why we were there exactly, but we walked by the KB Toys store. I wasn’t really paying attention, but my mom stopped and said “hey Trey, look at that!” so I did. And I got really excited.

I was really obsessed with Final Fantasy VII at this point. What I saw playing on the demo TVs looked a lot like a new Final Fantasy game. All of these words were flashing at the screen, talking about this epic journey. Then the title hit: Legend of Dragoon. I was surprised that it wasn’t a Final Fantasy game, but I didn’t care. I was mesmerized by how gorgeous the game was. There were armored knights with wings fighting with a giant dragon. There were guys fighting with “Cloud hair” (what I called anime-styled hair at the time).

The cinematics were done with amazing graphics quality, much like the cut-scenes in FFVII. The combat system was very familiar but the ability to go into your Dragoon form added a crazy new twist. What sold it for me was the giant dragon skimming the tops of buildings in the town. At that moment, I knew I had to play that game. It may not have been a Final Fantasy but it looked just as good.


I knew about Dark Souls for a while but I wasn’t sure about picking it up. The promises of lots of deaths kind of put me off. Then this small trailer came along… and I could not stop watching it for the longest time. The song they chose goes perfectly with the tone of the game. I also enjoy how the cut up the video to make it go along with the beat of the song. All of this together made me hyped for this game. Even though it barely showed any actual game footage at all. After watching this trailer, I bought the song and the game. Good work From Software… you cleaver and creative bastards.


I’m one of those guys that isn’t really impressed with trailers. I grew up reading the likes of GamePro magazine for all my inside news in to the industry. So when trailers started to become a real thing, I usually had already seen a screenshot or at the very least heard of the game. The same had happened with Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. As a Final Fantasy Tactics fan, I was interested in the title, but wasn’t really feeling up to investing in a new SRPG with a weird name. I went through the Atlus website one day on a lark and downloaded the trailer for Disgaea. I had to have replayed that .mpg at least a half dozen times that night. The Tsunami Bomb song was awesome and the game looked so much grander than what I thought it was going to be. This trailer sold me on something I should have wanted more of from the start. It was the single instance that kicked off my love affair with Disgaea Team.

In recent history, there haven’t been many games where an advertisement has been the deciding factor in my purchase of a video game. This is because I tend to do an excessive amount of research for a game that I’m interested in, in part because for many games, I anticipate purchasing them well before they have even been released. I can, however think of two games in recent history where advertising has been a large factor in my purchase, or at the very least kindled my initial interest in a game.

Some games can use advertisements to capitalize on brand recognition- the Legend of Zelda franchise, for instance, but I have never played a Zelda game. I am, however, a diehard Star Wars nerd. I was once totally immersed in the Jedi Knight series, and I have since been looking for a comparable Star Wars fix. The initial trailers for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed got me tremendously excited about the game, but I was dissuaded by the game’s early reviews. The trailers for Star Wars: The Old Republic, however, earned my purchase. These trailers got me a lot more excited about the game than the initial gameplay trailers did:


My favorite game advertisements, however, are those that highlight the game’s unique qualities. Bethesda Softworks did a great job with the trailers for The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim:


I still get chills every time I watch this part of the trailer. The trailer features exploration of diverse lands, living breathing cities, shows you a slew of fantastic and independent creatures, and relays a story that makes your character important and badass- it tells you everything you will love about the game without delving into the gritty details (good thing it didn’t show much of the repetitive melee combat).

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