The 7 Dumbest Attempts To Cram Ads Into Video Games
You see ads everywhere you go, and video games are no exception. But they have a long way to go before they master the fine art of subtle, tasteful placement, unlike Willy Blippo, #1 real estate agent on the East Side. (If you called him, you'd be home by now!) Anyway, that's why some games end up full of hilariously out-of-place product placement. Like how ...
Dead Rising 2 Featured Playboy Ads All Over The Apocalypse
Dead Rising 2 is an action game wherein you battle zombies and crazed psychopaths while desperately trying to keep your young daughter from turning into a zombie herself. If that sounds like the perfect medium to advertise porn, congratulations, you'd see eye-to-eye with Capcom's licensing executives.
As part of a deal with Playboy, the game features a variety of posters featuring scantily clad models scattered about. And honestly, that's fair enough. Sometimes you really do need a bit of titillation after a long tiring day of shredding zombies with chainsaw-wielding motorcycles. We've all been there. But this product integration was not merely limited to the background. If you rescue a female survivor while holding an in-game Playboy magazine, you'll get bonus experience points. Creeping out the people you save is a plus, apparently.
To put the final cherry on this cheesecake, one of the in-game survivors comes with an appropriate outfit for a world-ending apocalypse: a Playboy bunny suit. She also happens to be the only survivor who cannot die before the finale ... because that would be removing promotional content from the game. The power of advertising (and boners) is stronger than death itself.
Drive A Mercedes-Benz In ... Super Mario Maker?
Putting real-world car companies in games about cars makes sense. Putting them in games about superpowered plumbers fighting turtle monsters to save mushroom people? Not so much. Mercedes-Benz was already pushing it when they paid Nintendo to put their vehicles in Mario Kart 8, which is pretty far from a racing simulator.
But then there's the far more egregious product placement in Super Mario Maker, which normally features exactly zero cars. It's supposed to be a fun game in which you throw your controller at the screen after failing to make it through HeroinAddict69's ridiculous custom level for the 100th time. But this was an officially released Nintendo course, mind you. And as soon as you start, you're immediately treated to a giant "MERCEDES" written with ice blocks above you. Soon, Mario gets a new power-up that makes it look like he's driving a tiny GLA around the Mushroom Kingdom. How do we know it's a GLA? Oh, just a hunch.
Later you run across a Mercedes-Benz logo that you can turn into coins with a P-switch. This symbolizes the fact that Nintendo made a disconcerting amount of money from this deal.
To get people pumped for this crossover, Nintendo even released a commercial where a Benz driver tries to race an 8-bit Mario figure. What happened to the world? Our pixelated mustachioed plumbers used to have a little thing called integrity.
Related: 21 Video Game Ads And Packages That Tell The Painful Truth
Ariana Grande Was A Playable Character In Final Fantasy
The Final Fantasy series is rich with unforgettable characters, like Cloud, Ramza, Terra, Squall, and Ariana Grande. Yep, Grande recently became playable in the mobile game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius to promote her Dangerous Woman Tour. Because nothing says "danger" like playing dorky RPGs on your phone.
After completing an event quest named after the tour, players unlocked a character named "Dangerous Ariana," featuring a pixel-perfect rendition of her costume from the Dangerous Woman album. To be fair, she basically looked like an RPG character already.
The developers eventually released three more Ariana characters for Brave Exvius: Chic Ariana, Sportive Ariana, and Charming Kitty Ariana. If you ever wondered whether they grow pop stars like Grande in vats, the answer appears to be yes, at least in the Final Fantasy universe.
Yakuza 5 Has A Mission About How Stylish And Sexy GaGa Milano Watches Are
In Yakuza 5, you're a club owner trying to both solve a murder and retrieve your stolen fortune. That is, until you stop all of that to try to fix the love life of a man standing in the middle of the street. Being so very un-stylish and out of fashion, this man finds himself being stood up by the girl of his dreams and passed over for promotion for younger, hipper men. Somehow, this doesn't end up being about needing to get him some cheap boner pills. (Missed a golden product placement opportunity there, Cialis.)
Instead, you need to help this man become ultra-fashionable by hooking him up with a GaGa Milano wristwatch. They even helpfully push a two-page spread about the product, and give us lots of close-ups to make sure we know exactly what it looks like.
They also point out how much less expensive it is than the competition, yet it has a "unique design" favored by pro athletes and movie stars. All of whom apparently feel like wearing clown watches covered in bright colorful numbers like they're three years old.
There's no filler in this video, by the way. You spend 12 minutes visiting four settings for this.
In the end, of course, the poor guy gets the girl of his dreams, all thanks to his GaGa Milano. Somehow you're supposed to go back to mundane activities like punching gangsters in the face after that absolute thrill ride.
Related: The 10 Least Subtle Product Placements In Video Game History
CSI: Fatal Conspiracy Characters Announce That They're Using Trend Micro Internet Security Pro
Telltale Games' CSI: Fatal Conspiracy follows the members of the CSI Las Vegas team as they investigate the mysterious case of what the hell happened to Telltale Games. There's also something about some murders or whatever. They carry out their investigation through state-of-the-art forensic equipment -- and more importantly, Trend Micro Internet Security Pro.
Every single time you make a trip to the lab to check a piece of digital evidence on a person of interest's phone or laptop, you have to sit through a long animation of Trend Micro running a virus scan. Yes, this game is set in some sort of bizarre parallel reality where people responsibly run virus scans multiple times a day instead of frantically clicking "Not now" twice a year.
That's annoying enough, but then the game has a character announce that she's using the program out loud, even though she's in a room all by herself.
We're assuming that when you finally catch the bad guy and pull off his monster mask, he says, "And I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids and your Trend Micro Internet Security Pro!"
Related: The 5 Worst Marketing Failures In The History Of Video Games
Metal Gear Solid 3 Extols The Virtues Of A Japanese Snack (That Didn't Exist Yet)
In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, you heal with food you find in the jungle, like frogs, mushrooms, snakes (hence the name), or something called "CalorieMate." If you don't know what CalorieMate is, don't worry. We could hardly expect you to, since it's a Japanese snack that debuted in the '80s. Your character, Snake, also hasn't heard of it, since he's an American in a remote jungle ... in 1964. Deliciousness transcends time and space, it seems.
Luckily, your partner on the radio is more than willing to explain CalorieMate to you.
"CalorieMate is an energy supplement that contains all the proteins, lipids, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals needed for a balanced diet," she says. "It's easy and quick to eat, so it's perfect when you are running late for an important mission in the morning." This makes zero sense, since Snake is a secret agent in the field for days at a time. He does not run late for morning appointments. She also claims that "all of the geisha girls in Japan use it for watching their calories." Snake is struggling to survive. Weight loss is the last thing he needs.
CalorieMate is the most powerful food in the game, and the most tasty. (Snake says "Mmmm ... I want some more!" when you eat it.) It appears in your inventory automatically at the start, so you can't miss it. Incidentally, this protagonist goes on to become a major villain in the series, the nemesis of the Snake from the first Metal Gear games. So on top of all these virtues, this thing also makes you evil. Try it!
Related: The 6 Most Absurd Product Placements In Video Game History
Oddworld, A Game About The Evils Of Consumerism, Now Has Product Placement
In Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee for the PS1, the titular Abe is a worker at an alien abattoir when he learns his race is going to be turned into a delicious dessert, so he sets about freeing his people. As such, the entirety of the game takes place in an intentionally disgusting meat factory, which is also full of ads for the fictitious products the abattoir sells.
The game is fundamentally anti-consumerism ... unless you're playing the 2014 remake, which added modern conveniences like better graphics, tighter controls, and product placement. In addition to the fake ads for in-game products, the game now has real ones for other PS4 games.
That's artwork for a real-life game called Secret Ponchos. Elsewhere you can see ads for Velocity 2X, another very real product that has nothing to do with the in-game universe. So this game that started off saying "Capitalism has a downside" is now saying "Capitalism has a downside, but have you seen this generic Team Fortress ripoff?"
Related: 6 WTF Video Game Ads That Traumatized Their Audiences
Street Fighter V Plastered Logos All Over The Characters
In late 2018, a major update introduced a new "feature" to Street Fighter V, in much the same way a scummy sexual partner might introduce a fascinating new venereal disease to your system. Suddenly, advertising for the Capcom Pro Tour was inserted everywhere in the game. And we mean everywhere.
Of course, players could always turn these ads off ... if they also wanted less in-game currency, which is used to purchase actual characters. Oh, and Capcom announced that they'll feature ads for other brands and events in the future. Get ready to see Zangief wearing a thong that says "TED CRUZ 2020."
Follow Mike Bedard on Twitter. He needs new recommendations on what video games to play next. Michael Battaglino is a contributor to Cracked.com. Be sure to check out some of his other work if you enjoyed this article. Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for bits cut from this article and other stuff no one should see.
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