You can complain about product placement in games these days, but it was bound to happen. However, on certain magical occasions, companies have decided that it's not enough to have your character drive past a Pepsi logo. No, they want an entire game devoted to peddling their brand.
This typically results in a confounding jumble of nonsense based loosely on an idea that was never meant to sustain anything beyond a 28-second television commercial. Like ...
6Captain Novolin, the Insulin Game
Novo Nordisk, maker of the Novolin brand of insulin, produced a Super Nintendo game back in 1992 called Captain Novolin featuring a superhero possessing the formidable powers of Type 1 diabetes.
"Congratulations! You ate 412 pieces of toast for breakfast!"
The titular captain sprints through the city during various mealtimes wearing a blue bodysuit and wrap-around sunglasses, leaping heavily into the air to crush sugary foods beneath his crimson boot heels. Somehow, this was meant to teach children about living with diabetes, despite the fact that every single activity we described in the previous paragraph is something a child with diabetes should never do.
In between each level is a blood sugar mini game:
The controller that stabbed your finger between levels never really caught on, though.
This was followed by trivia questions about diabetes posed to you by a half-melted wax sculpture of Alfonso Ribeiro in a lab coat:
Wait, no "bowl of sugar" option?
To win, you had to battle your way through eight levels of doughnut and ice cream monsters to rescue the mayor (who is also diabetic) from the clutches of Blubberman, a hideously obese man in a floating wheelchair who throws pies at you. Then you have to feed the mayor the correct snack or watch him succumb to hypoglycemia and die:
It's basically the same as the plot from the Mark Wahlberg movie Shooter.
This game wasn't bundled with the insulin or given away to children at clinics -- Novo Nordisk charged people 60 goddamn dollars to bring home this "learning tool" for their sickly children. We feel that's a bit steep for families already paying the high cost of their children's treatment, especially considering that Captain Novolin is little more than a vaguely interactive commercial telling kids what foods to avoid (and more importantly, which brand of insulin will make them superheroes).
Kids shouldn't need a video game to tell them not to eat flying face-doughnuts.
And from here, we go to insulin's mortal enemy ...