I was watching the Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich Champions League semifinal (some videogamer, right?) and during one of the commercial breaks, up popped the much-maligned Prototype 2 trailer. You know, the one with Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt”? Well, I hadn’t noticed before, but at the bottom, there’s a quote from a publication whose name I didn’t catch saying that Prototype 2 is a “gore-drenched masterpiece.” That’s where my mum’s interest was piqued.
My mum noticed this and asked “Why would a game want to be gory?” She immediately turned to my dad to comment about how the games industry would be “in big trouble” after the Anders Brevik trial and how he has supposedly claimed to have trained for his monstrous rampage by playing games. Of course, these claims have been seized upon by the media and spun out of all proportion, but there’s a large chunk of the population out there that will believe games train impressionable youths to kill.
Considering an earlier break had shown the current TV spot for Max Payne 3 — a commercial that featured plenty of guns being shot — which didn’t got a reaction, I have to assume it was that claim that Prototype 2 was a “gory” game that upset my mum. I wondered if that press quote wasn’t there, would the trailer have raised the same reaction?
I’ll say that I’ve got no problem with Prototype 2‘s content or advertising by and large, I just wonder how many other parents all over the UK saw that trailer and had a similar reaction; that this videogame was “gory” with all the connotations that can come with the term.
Should games try and avoid possibly “loaded” phrases or imagery in their advertising? Should there be more of an effort by the industry to avoid living up to those negative stereotypes? It seems like the medium will remain under attack by moral guardians for the foreseeable future; could a lot of the flack be reduced with more toned-down mainstream advertising? Let me know what you think.