Video Archives

This trailer upsets me

Have I talked about video games on here before? Yes, I probably have. I know that this blog is terribly unfocused and generally worthy of reproach, but it’s my site and I am going to write about something that frustrates me.

I am very nearly a member of the video gaming Old Guard, those who (more or less) lived through the entire rise of the gaming trend. I was there before it was popular and (to avoid some sort of digital hipster status) I am still there.

Most of the time.

Watch the video I linked above. The thumbnail image of the lady cyborg in skimpy combat undress is about as racy as it gets, so plug those numbers into your offensive-avoidance calculator. If it is still too much, I will summarize the video for you here:

Dark room. Several panning shots of scantily clad woman with cybernetic enhancements and limb replacements watching a television while seated in a chair. Television drones on and on about liberty and freedom, a woman’s voice speaking though she is not clearly shown. (Only a blurry ‘news broadcast’ with a woman standing in front of the United States Capitol Building shows on the screen.) Cyborg lady shows she is strong enough to lift a glass of Daniel Jackson Tennessee Whiskey (but never drinks any) and flex her robotic hand. (Plenty of gratuitous torso shots abound.) The (apparent) President wraps up her speech.

Dark room. As the television turns to a scary news video and the emergency broadcast system, the cyborg lady stands up. Cyborg lady takes a slow motion walk toward a gun rack where several identical shotguns rest. She takes the closest one. Leaving the gun rack behind, she paces over to a motorcycle, boards motorcycle, stows weapon, and revs the engine.

Dark room. The motorcycle’s wheels spin as the cyborg lady leans forward. (With no frame of reference, it is hard to say if the motorcycle is actually moving.) Fiery explosions behind her apparently indicate much danger and destruction. Grunge inspired theme with some elecrtic guitar twang plays in the background. About a half a minute of panning shots of cyborg lady on motorcycle, apparently going nowhere.

Finally, the climax. Cyborg lady draws shotgun from her hip and time slows down as she suddenly notices the camera. She levels the shotgun (more or less) at the viewer and an explosion pops up, leading into the title logo of the game. (One might note that the explosion does not come from the same place on the screen as the barrel of the shotgun.)

Okay, I guess that was more of a play-by-play than a summary. Let me try again.

A cyborg woman sits, watching a presidential speech, until the Emergency Broadcast System encourages her to arm herself and ride a motorcycle through explosions.

So. Any guesses as to what it is that pisses me off?

Well, the answer is two-fold. Whatever you guessed is probably relevant, too.

My first issue is that this teaser relies upon playing the male hormone system like a violin, hitting each particular note it can find with as much force as they could muster.

‘Sexy,’ scantily-clad woman? Check.

Cool science fiction robot? Check.

Booze? Check.

Guns? Check.

Disaster? Check.

Motorcycle? Check.

Heavy metal-esque soundtrack? Check.

EXPLOSIONS? Check, check, and check!

Sure, they played that violin, but they hit it with coke-addled Sherlock Holmes precision. (I once played Good King Wenceslas on my wife’s violin. I hit all the notes… and all the notes within an octave of each appropriate note, too!)

I know that this may seem like a strange opinion, but I do not appreciate having my involuntary responses played for cheap advertising. I realize this is, like, the most basic premise in marketing, but I resent it every time it happens. The fact that this was done so artlessly just makes me shake my head.

Look, even men can decide to care about a female character in a game without making her Doctor Cleavage the Sexy Scientist. It may sound ridiculous, but I have seen it happen. (It even happened to me. Once.)

The second thing I hate about this video is that it says nothing about the game it is supposed to advertise. Except that there is an expressionless cyborg woman. And televisions. And whiskey. And guns. And motorcycles. And EXPLOSIONS OMG.

Oh, and that the name of the game is BOMBSHELL and it comes out in 2015.

For some people, maybe that’s enough. For me, it only makes me kind of mad. Maybe I am asking too much from a generic rubber stamped video game from an industry that only realized it was an industry in the last couple decades. Maybe I should just let them milk my testosterone for all it’s worth.

But I’ll probably just keep complaining.

The one upside to the video was the whiskey that cyborg lady had on her table.