Have you ever been to harvest her?


If you’ve never worked in marketing, you may be unfamiliar with Shoddy Ad Rage.

It’s a phenomenon whereby you, creator of numerous ads and campaigns, see something on TV, on a poster site or in a magazine, and get really angry. It could be stupid. It could be badly done. It could just be crap. It usually ends with you (ok, me) sat on a sofa spitting vitriolic nonsense at the television while Long Suffering Girlfriend walks into the kitchen and remains there until normal service resumes.

Case in point: Bioshock 2’s poster campaign, coming now to a Tube station near you.

Now, clever ads are rare in the games industry. Campaigns usually centre around lots of in-game footage, giving the rapt audience (that’s us) the chance to ooh and aah at the technical loveliness of it all. That’s OK. I don’t mind that. When you see a long-winded movie trailer packed with plot points, you may sometimes get the feeling that you don’t really need to see the movie any more. Not so with games, where (obviously) the action is you-oriented and you have a level of control that the cinema just doesn’t offer.

This Bioshock poster, on the other hand, irritates me to hell and gone. Why? Because I didn’t bloody protect her, that’s why. I harvested the whining little toddler, and all her whining little mates, because I wanted the juicy genetic goodness she had in her head. And that’s one of the key points of Bioshock… you could choose the nice path, or the nasty path, or somewhere in between. As moral choices went, it didn’t really affect the game, and there were plenty of more interesting aspects to the story anyway. But then, you weren’t able to affect those. You turned out to have a certain role in the story of Atlas and Ryan, and you had no choice about whether you fulfilled it.

So to front the campaign launch with “Once, you protected her” is stupid. Baldrick stupid.

I’m still going to buy the game, though. Rant over.

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