deutsche_woche.jpg I am so far behind in the times. I have just heard of this party that Sony held to market God of War II last May, featuring topless ladies in body paint and a headless goat on a buffet.

It is a strange industry we have, where serving food out of a dead goat on a buffet is part of your average game marketing plan.

Is a buffet really necessary to sell games, anyway? I purchased World Of Warcraft despite the fact that Blizzard never offered me a buffet. But now, every time I visit the Burning Steppes I think of those delicious tiny corn-on-a-cob and all-you-can-eat crab legs you have in America, and I feel somehow cheated.

Also, if you are going to serve a buffet of any kind you should really have a sneeze guard around it -- or Schleimschutz, as we say here. It is an issue of hygiene. I do not understand why the gaming press was not more outraged over this matter.

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What ever happened to complimentary T-shirts? I believe the young lady on the left could use one.

Now, I have no issue with the goat being dead. I am not a vegetarian by any means (I do love my weinerschnitzel, go on, make your jokes). My family are sport hunters in the Black Forest. My father always taught me that it is all right to kill another thing, as long as you eat what you kill. This is why I had to eat my older brother’s Schneider CPC-464 after I maliciously spilled Fanta into the tape drive. Harsh discipline, you will say, but I learned an important lesson about the value of honesty and property.
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And I still have not passed the Escape key, but some lessons are a lifetime in coming.

We have a goat mascot in the office (Ziggy) and we have used him in marketing campaigns, but even though he can be quite annoying, we would never chop off his head and serve soup in it! I have not mentioned this God Of War II story to him. It is just as well, as he is already not a fan of David Jaffe and it will just upset him unreasonably.

Party Animal

I have nothing against buffets or parties in general. When we had our launch party for Nazgul Thunder, we served a life-size statue of the Witch King made entirely out of head cheese! Everyone showed up in costume and it was a great success, perhaps a bit too much so. Bruno and his wife (both in excellent hobbit attire) actually passed out in the restaurant lobby and things looked grim for a moment, but Otto swooped in dressed in his giant eagle costume and escorted them back to the hotel. A good sport he is. I remember when Otto first released his adventure game Beyond Zurich -- the party was legendary. You would not think that such debauchery could be done in the name of a text adventure, but then again, you do not know Otto.
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Another German game developer (who I will not name) recently threw a fun party for their Zuma clone. They had many handsome young men staffing the bar wearing no pants, only Speedos in a rainbow of Zuma-esque colors.

It reminded me of the children’s play pit at IKEA.

Failure To Launch

Unlike the Sony event, the launch parties I mention were planned with a spirit of fun -- not to push the limits and cause scandals that have nothing to do with the game. Yes, on the one hand, we should not get so upset about silly things like naked people in body paint and dead goats on a buffet. But are these things part of a growing trend? Where does it stop? After all, what stands between us and a Sony buffet where we are being served popcorn shrimp out of a real human skull?

Well, a sneeze guard, hopefully.

Let me be a tiny voice of reason. When preparing marketing plans, let us think twice about the use of dead livestock, painted women, advertisements on gravestones, babies named after a game, cosplay bungee jumping, tattooing a game logo on someone’s face, or carving your game’s title into the surface of the moon. Let us put more of our budget towards making good games, and not towards promotional pole-sitting, stripping, goldfish-swallowing, seeing how many game testers you can stuff into an BMW Isetta, or midget-KISS-impersonators on trampolines.*

Game marketers…it has been my experience that you cannot go wrong with a nice complimentary t-shirt.


* I fully expect Acclaim to announce next week a promotion in which they see how many midget Kiss impersonators, dead goats and naked game testers they can stuff into a BMW Isetta balanced on an eighty-foot pole**.

**On top of a trampoline.