Holy Gaming Apocalypse

Alan Wake has some terrible product placement.  How do I know this?  Good question.  I own a Wii, which is a gaming console in the same respect that those $5 handheld racing-game toys from vending machines are gaming consoles.  Still, full-blown ads within a $60 video game?  That’s a recipe for user revolt.

I know people who pirate Blu-Rays specifically because they don’t want to sit through 5 minutes of commercials about how great Blu-Rays are, while they’re watching a mother-fucking Blu-Ray.  That’s the same type of sycophantic repetition you’d expect from a cult.

Stephen Johnson from G4tv has this to say:

In Episode Four, though, there’s a piece of product placement that’s so jarring, so nonsensical, and so downright bad, it’s the fictional equivalent of a game-killing glitch. (follow above link for the clip in question from the game)

Keep in mind, at this point in the story, we’re unsure if the insane asylum which Wake is escaping from exists in real life and is haunted, or is some twisted figment of his imagination. Either way, why would there be a commercial on TV? The electricity is being controlled by the swirling darkness outside. Does the evil force want Wake to buy a Mustang? For that matter, why would Alan stand there and watch?

And, of course, the guys at Penny Arcade weighed in:

G4TV’s Stephen Johnson wonders if it isn’t the worst product placement in gaming history, but we might differ there. He even wonders if such a mercenary play on the part of Remedy, Microsoft, and Verizon doesn’t place the entire medium of games beyond the realm of art. That’s a pretty grand assertion, and the ground beneath it isn’t especially secure. We’re like oldbitties clucking at the purity of art these days, but patronage is now, and has been, a thing.

Anyway, it’s certainly got the worst Achievement ever in “Boob Tube,” one which doles out gamerscore for finding a secret advertisement.  The endeavor is stupid, offensive, and insulting; that’s sufficient grounds for us to dislike it. We need not dismantle the entire edifice of electronic entertainment as an expressive medium in order to agree that this is some bullshit.

Let me clarify, that’s an achievement for turning on a TV and watching a commercial, in-game.


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