Crispy Gamer

Game ads assault the eyes

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If you aren't a gamer and happen to stumble upon the LA Convention Center this week, you'd be assaulted by dozens of banners and posters for games that publishers want you to know about. Do the posters really say anything or give any information? We walked around the outside of the convention center and through the various hallways to see what games were given prominence:

Assassin's Creed 2: As mentioned in a previous blog post, Ubisoft's sequel takes the prize for largest banner. With outstreched arms and blades in each, the poster hangs ominously between South and West halls outside. No words, no description, but it looks nice and was granted its own zip code.

Darksiders: This game from THQ had two ads near the inside entrance to West Hall. One was lighted and small, while the other huge banner hung near the ceiling, about 10 yards away. "Hunted by Heaven, Hated by Hell, Driven by Vengeance" are the only words on the posters. Could be an interesting game about a fantasy divorce gone awry.

Red Faction Guerrilla:

THQ's new shooter is scheduled for release tomorrow. In two posters cradling the escalators leading to the second floor of West Hall, the game is trumpted as AVAILABLE NOW on one banner. The other shows a guy with a hammer and shouts BREAK FREE. You'll need to play the game to find out who's oppressed.

WET and Rogue Warrior: Bethesda owns all the doors with square posters for each of its new games alternating on every entry and exits door at South and West halls. Neither says anything but the game title, with WET showing a sexy woman, gun in hand, looking to lure you to the best sex you've ever had or a violent death. Rogue Warrior has a rogue with a dagger. Hmmm, original.

Mafia II: Dwarfed by the Assassin's Creed 2 poster to it's right, this 2K game banner shows a guy in a suit, lying in a coffin. Again, no words. Maybe the guy was killed by Ubisoft's assassin.

Brutal Legend:  This EA huge banner hangs outside atop South Hall, with what looks like a digital Jack Black rocking out as if reliving his School of Rock role. Of course, Black is a musician, so it isn't far fetched, but again, no words other than a game title.

Crime Craft: The new MMO from Vogster is filled with blood a bullet holes. The only words tout Vogster's booth number. Will this be an offer you can't refuse?

Splinter Cell Conviction: This Ubisoft title gets the award for the most varied placements of the show. Banners of various sizes and shapes could be found inside near South Hall, near West Hall, and outside in lighted displays along the roadway. Different images adorn them, but no explanation. 

Tekken 6:  Namco-Bandai offered a couple interesting posters created to look like a fight card. Kazuya Mishima vs. Paul Phoenix. THIS IS YOUR FIGHT, the poster says, and its coming in Fall 2009. Start scanning Pay per View.

Need for Speed: Shift: This set of posters lining the windows of Concourse Hall definitely gets the award for the most involved. There are 20 posters in all, divided into sets of four. Each set asks a various question: What Driver Will You Be? Are You Feared? Are You Respected? Each poster in the set then attempts to answer the question with play styles: Shift Arenaline, Shift Intimidate, Shift Attack, Shift Control. And each poster shows race cars in various stages of conflict. Aside from the words sounding like hotkeys for a PC racing game, the campaign at least tries to say something, and once you come to the end of the posters, you find a kiosk showing off the game. A lot of build up, but in the end you get to see what its about.

Sony:  The company had a set of three posters with a tatooed arm holding a PS3 controller and a PSP. On the PSP was Sack Boy. LittleBigPlanet is coming to PSP. Subtle, but effective. But the biggest question? Who gets their arm tattoed with the PS3 control scheme of X, circle, square and diamond?

EA/BioWare: Both Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age Origins had posters outside South Hall. The Mass Effect 2 posters showed Commander Shepherd running with gun in hand. The Dragon Age posters were a bit more nebulous: A dragon, with a cowled woman inset in its wing. No words, just images.

Battlefield 1943: This EA game had several posters around oustide the convention center and inside. They bellowed that THE FIGHT FOR THE PACIFIC BEGINS THIS SUMMER. They teased you to a contest booth where you could sit down and play against member of the Battlefield 1943 dev team. If you beat them in an aerial dogfight, you are entered to win one of 100 copies of the game to be given out each hour, and possibly win an Xbox 360 console. Another good campaign that backs up what the game is about.

Modern Warfare 2:  This Activision game had three posters on display hanging from the ceiling as you walked down Concourse Hall. All showed men in military garb. The first poster had an M, the second a W and the third a 2. Hmmm, MW2, clever. The last poster had the numbers 11-10-9. A countdown? No, a release date, coming Nov. 10.

Free Realms: This Sony Online Entertainment game had a poster outside South Hall. A cartoony looking game, buit what catches the onlookers eye is the promise of a live concert by The Dares at the SOE booth tomorrow. Draw them in, then show the game. Good strategy.

Final Fantasy XIII: A huge indoor banner showing the now familiar FF characters poised for battle. Square-Enix says nothing otn the poster other than Coming 2010. For Final Fantasy fans, that may be enough.

There were a few non-game posters, some touting game publications, but perhaps the most interesting was a poster for 5-hour Energy Drink. It's hook? Game on, and on, and on, and on ...

In the end, if your know about these games, then the posters may interest you, but if you don't, in most cases, you are out of luck. Most of the banners and posters say nothing except to let you know the game will be at the show. But many aren't even enough to build interest, unless you were interested in the game to begin with. It's usually just an egregious assault on the senses with little information to impart. Kudos to those that tried to make them interesting. To the rest, try harder next year.