Already hailed as the ‘best video game advert ever’, this campaign has hit screens to cries of ‘genius’ and ‘epic’. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that this kind of praise is dished out all too liberally these days. This time though, I think it’s pretty well deserved, in fact for one talented person out there, the epic and genius boxes have been well and truly ticked.
The ad starts in a dark wood with a WWII soldier feeling his way to a deserted fortress. In the entrance an exotic gatekeeper takes his payment for entry. Once inside the throng of a private bar is revealed. Quickly we realise that this is no ordinary bar and with that, no ordinary clientele. The ‘people’ are all characters from a vast array of games and game genres, quite reminiscent of the Cantina scene in Star Wars.
As they regale their great adventures, it becomes apparent that these were nothing without one important person. Who, I hear you ask? Michael. As the emotional stories unfold, Michael’s name is chanted by the crowd and his framed picture is held aloft. Michael is a real person, a PlayStation gamer, hand-picked to be in the ad. The camera zooms out revealing a great wall of photos of other real gamers.
The message is clear, what it feels like to be a gamer is centre stage: Michael is the comrade, partner, friend and ally – the one to whom they owe a great debt of gratitude. It elevates every gamer to hero, lending a huge amount of goodwill to a past-time that mainstream media often writes off as a waste of time. This is a big thank you to PlayStation fans.
The ad is very detailed. I’m not a big gamer but a few characters ring a bell; Solid Snake, Nathan Drake, a rather cute Sackboy playing chess. The ad is unashamedly geeky – rewarding for the hardcore yet still enjoyable for the uninitiated. That’s what makes it special. It’s the first time that all these characters have appeared under one roof; the first time the publishers have allowed it to happen. And it doesn’t end there, the ad is ripe for releasing as a personalised Facebook experience.
Gareth James is executive creative director at Tullo Marshall Warren