I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this: GAMES ARE NEVER GOING TO GAIN COMPLETE MAINSTREAM CREDIBILITY UNTIL THEY STOP MARKETING THEMSELVES LIKE ENERGY DRINKS. I hate when game content is probably perfectly legitimate (and maybe even awesome!) while its marketing message attempts to manufacture controversy.
The most alarming thing is that sexism and misogyny seem to be the most rampant themes in game marketing. This is disheartening for a few reasons. As a woman, any kind of advertising that perpetuates those themes (whether it’s for games, alcohol, laundry detergent, or whatever) makes me cringe because I feel like I’m not being taken seriously as a consumer and, ultimately, a person. As a gamer in general, this kind of advertising is offensive because it perpetuates negative stereotypes about the gaming community by making gamers look like a bunch of easily-manipulated sexist douchebags (and therefore the perfect demographic; we’re all so DUMB dontchaknow!).
I dunno about you guys, but you know what I think would help sell more games? MORE TITS.
I actually don’t know much about Blur, other than that people were giving out Blur beta codes like candy over Twitter for what seemed like a million years, annoyingly clogging my feed and blocking my tweets from Winston the cat
and Kevin Jonas
. However, I have taken notice of their advertising (how could I not? That shit’s plastered all over the web.) It seems like Blur is just another example of how an ostensibly perfectly fine game is attempting to make itself more interesting through sexist marketing.
Let me say that in all fairness, it’s not 100% sexist. A large chunk of their marketing strategy seems to be poking fun at the Nintendo racing games. That’s perfectly acceptable, though somewhat stupid; how many millions of people LOVE Nintendo racers? Even my mom has played Mario Kart and liked it; you’d think they wouldn’t want to turn off potential consumers—the people that keep them in business, right?!
OH WAIT. Not only are they willing to turn off the gazillions of Nintendo gamers out there, they’re willing to ignore a much larger demographic–roughly 50% of the world’s population, in fact.
That’s right, guys—Blur is only for males. Who else would want to “race like a big boy”? Certainly not women and girls—they’re prevented from racing like any sort of boy at all due to the unfortunate possession of a vagina. Hate to disappoint you, ladies, but this is BIG BOY racing, you just wouldn’t get it—go back to your Cutie Kart or whatever the fuck, and make me a sandwich while you’re at it.
Look at her playing dress-up. Oh, wait, she actually races cars? My bad.
Really, it’s brave of the makers of Blur to be willing to make a stand and put racing games back where they belong, in the greasy hands of “big boys” everywhere. Of course, since the game is rated E for Everyone 10+, hopefully your idea of a “big boy” is a snot-faced middle-schooler.
It’s just plain lazy marketing. The features of the game should be awesome enough to sell the game—is it really that difficult to make the game seem interesting without isolating a huge percentage of people who game? The worst part of all this is that racing games are some of the most approachable games for women; who doesn’t enjoy driving fast, after all? Too bad the marketers are too lazy to even attempt to market to females at all.
And don’t even get me started on some of the European marketing:
My favorite part is where he pushes them out of the way as though they’re actually just pieces of furniture. Never have I seen such literal objectification! Thanks to Blorp for the video (courtesy of Joystiq).
But I can rest easy knowing that these kinds of tactics are laughably unsuccessful when it comes to moving product. Other, similarly-marketed best-selling racing games like Forza 2 and Project Gotham Racing have sold less than 5.5 million copies (combined!). Good for them, those are some great sales! Erm, as long as you don’t compare them to Mario Kart Wii, which has sold 22.5 million copies. In fact, Nintendo racing games have a history of fantastically strong sales—Mario Kart Double Dash!!, Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart 64 all sold between 4.5 million and 9 million copies EACH—which is no surprise, because they’re AWESOMELY FUN. The added bonus is that their advertising is fun and cheeky, not completely sexist:
Notice how it can playfully poke fun at stereotypes and still be unoffensive. Also, I’m pretty sure my accent while speaking French is about the same as the “French” guy’s in this commercial. C’EST TERRIBLE!
The lesson that I’m taking away from all this is that since Blur isn’t interested in marketing to me, I guess I’m just not man enough to play it. Same goes for all you other gals out there. Oh, I’m sorry, ladies, were you looking forward to a well-crafted racing game? TOO BAD, BECAUSE THIS GAME DOESN’T WANT YOU. IT’S FOR REAL MEN (aged 10 and up) ONLY. Like driving fast? SORRY MISSY, MOVE OVER AND LET THE REAL MEN (aged 10 and up) DRIVE DEM CARS. God. Next you’ll be wanting to vote and work outside the home and shit.
But seriously, note to game marketers: PLEASE STOP DOING THIS. You look stupid and make gamers look stupid by association. WE DON’T LIKE (or serve) YOUR KIND HERE.