Monday, October 15, 2007

Games – the real new media

This has been on my mind for quite a time now. I am a big fan Games, all kinds of them. Chess (anyone fancies a match?), cards, board games and of course video games. I've started back with an Atari and played most of the 'important' video games systems in the last 15 years. Last evening I saw the hilarious Toyota ad for their Tacoma and tried the Yaris Video Game on Microsoft's Live, a multi player platform on the Xbox360. Here's the ad, it's running on US television and works very well as an online viral.



It made me laugh, since I used to play World of Warcraft back in the early days of the game. Nothing ground breaking though. Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam used the Grand Theft Auto look for it's brilliant Coke spot and set the first step in this direction. Games in ads – a concept to use a world familiar to the audience to tell a story. The flip side – ads in games, or adgames is also well represented – the Burger King games who've won Titanium Gran Prix at Cannes this year for example.

I preferred 7Up's game with Cool Spot from 1993, they didn't need an agency to come with the stuff back in time, the only thing they got for it was 'Best Cartridge Music of the Year'. Anyway.

I consider video games as the ultimate media, the best way to tell something and engage. Why? Let's see. If TV ads are to be considered old media, and Internet is the new revolution then movies are old hat and games are the way forward. Unlike films which tell a story to a passive beholder, games have the ability of interacting with the audience and tell the story in much more engaging way.

Wait, aren't games more about jumping from one platform to the other without falling down to be eaten by the pink giraffes? These times are long gone. There are games telling epic plots, the game series Final Fantasy had several main protagonists falling in love, experiencing adventures and dying – an emotional journey for the player – only squeezed by the pixelated faces with three expressions. Yet granted toady's technology flashing by as fast as a rabbit on speed, games can already keep up with production values of movies, the quality of sound and picture is amazing.

Take a look at Bioshock, a game experience taking part in 1960 in a fictional underwater dystopian city built on the mid-Atlantic seabed. This game is full of tension, great music score, intelligent dialogs and a story that draws you in from the first few minutes and forces you to take moral decisions later on in the game that effect the whole shebang. Watch the trailer here.

It is time that a brand makes a serious game, driving around in a pocketbike racer might be fun for a while but so much more is possible. Will we see Cadbury's 'Food Sabotage' or Apple's 'iAdventure'? Will we see a new type of creative agency emerge? One that specializes in telling the story of a brand in an epic game? Boy, I can't wait. I'd love to be a creative, responsible for making a great game for a brand. BMW could follow up its film series by asking different game developers to create a game with their brand, mmhhh…

1 comment:

senan+graeme said...

Wipeout (my favourite game series ever!) was and still is a heavily advertisement featured game.

Not only did it feature billboards by Red Bull, Kappa and all the Electronic labels the artists featured in the first few series of the title. (Which made sense as it was the first PS1 title to be aimed at an older generation -being put in clubs for people to play). But the first 3 games also had all their vector graphics made by the designers republic.

But it's the most recent release 'wipeout pure' on psp (over a decade later) that features a whole set of free downloadable tracks, branded and paid for by Coke (US&Japan) and Puma (Europe). As a special treat for long waiting European fans they also made a set of tracks designed by Jon Burgerman, 123 Klan and two other designers.

One last treat for Japanese gamers was for them to download a new track at a music festival (designed around the festival too), it's availability was only for those three days to the people who brought their psp's.

It's the only series of games i know that really take what they do to another level in pop culuture and style.