My mom hates Dead Space 2? Well, now so do I.

Video game advertising has never, ever been known for being tasteful, but the latest scheme from the marketing geniuses at EA (whose previous efforts include pretending Brutal Legend was an action game instead of some kind of gonzo RTS) have found a whole new way to be offensive. And without any tits, even!

In an effort to coax impressionable 12-year-olds into buying M-rated shooter Dead Space 2 (something the ESRB really appreciates, I’m sure), EA has produced a commercial in which real-life mothers are invited to view grisly footage from the game while their reactions are filmed. The tagline is “Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2”. The implication here, of course, is that this automatically makes it AWESOME because moms are so LAME, dood.

I won’t be embedding the commercial here, nor will I be linking to the campaign’s website. You can find it yourself if you want to.

The women are filmed unflatteringly, often in extreme closeup as they recoil from the implied gameplay footage (it remains completely unseen by us) and as they try to articulate their objections to it. After a bit, actual gameplay breaks up the rapid-fire reaction shots and an announcer sneers, “It’s revolting. It’s violent. It’s everything you love in a game, and your mom’s gonna hate it.”

I want to be plain. This is virtuosic horseshit. In a time when public debate is raging about the artistic validity of video games and the industry is struggling to be taken seriously in any way other than financially, we DO NOT NEED idiots like EA trying to set us back to the mid ’90s like this. It’s irresponsible, it’s outdated and it’s juvenile.

I think that the most asinine thing about it is that you can easily see where this concept could’ve been taken different direction and gotten the same point across without being so insulting to these people or potentially damaging to mother-son relationships everywhere. Imagine a scripted commercial in which a mom walks by her son playing video games in the living room. We cut to the screen where he’s blowing up aliens with stylized, over-the-top gore flying. The mom’s brow furrows as the kid continues playing, juking around on the floor in front of the couch, getting into it. She raises an index finger and starts to say something, but stops as an alien head explodes on the screen in a shower of brains. She shakes her head and walks away, going about her business. The kid smiles and keeps playing animatedly while an announcer says “It’s violent, it’s action-packed, and your mom doesn’t get it. Dead Space 2, rated M for Mature.”

But, no, they’d rather scare these unsuspecting women to tears in a darkened room and slap it on TV for us to laugh at. Remember kids, your mother–whose only purpose in life is to look out for you–doesn’t approve of this, so that means you must disobey her, circumvent the ESRB ratings system, and get this game however you can. Disrepect for your elders is fun! And profitable for EA!

The commercial ends with a shell-shocked mom asking the camera, “Why would they even…make something like this?” Because they’re morally and creatively bankrupt, ma’am. Because they’re too unintelligent and unskilled in their craft to make a product that is both cultured and profitable. Because the easiest way for them to make money is to exploit the worst in young men.

I played the first Dead Space and thought it was a serviceable, albeit pretty shameless rip-off of Resident Evil 4 and Bioshock. I had a mild interest in Dead Space 2. Now, I couldn’t give less of a fuck.

*****ADDENDUM*****

Just after posting this, I found the Youtube channel for the marketing campaign which featured longer segments with the mothers from the TV commercial. And you know what? I lied to you; I am going to embed one of these. Watch this garbage and tell me how it makes you feel.

I watched all the videos and it is crystal clear that these spots were edited to highlight the least flattering and intelligent moments of these women’s responses. Two of the six moms with their own segments were obviously chosen because of their ethnicity, and their somewhat-broken English is used to make them seem stupid. In a behind-the-scenes video, we see that the setup for the viewing/interview involves confusing the women with multiple screens playing the game simultaneously, the cryptic interviewer not being present in the room so as to make them less comfortable, and flat-out lying to the moms about the nature of the footage, the interview and and the identity of the host. The making-of narration takes great pride in the ambushing of these women, and details the hidden nature of the cameras and that the test is taking place in “in the heart of conservative America”.

Fucking disgusting.

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About djsharpecheddar

Have you seen a little girl?
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12 Responses to My mom hates Dead Space 2? Well, now so do I.

  1. chargedblast says:

    I won’t be surprised when we see future ad campaigns for adult-oriented games…i.e. GTA V, otherwise known as showing your mom just how many hookers and cops you can fuck/kill in the games shes been buying you…ITS SO TOTALLY AWESOME!!11. Not only are they undermining their own game (which is probably still a decent product) they are more or less calling us ALL juvenile. I don’t know of one 25+ year old (a demographic I’m currently in) that would look at this and feel good about it/encourage them to buy the game. Way to cheapen your own product AND insult your fans the same time guys. The commercial could’ve just been a blank screen that read “We think our fans are really stupid and childish”. Disgusting.

  2. Yeah, you’re right. I didn’t even touch on how much contempt this ad has for its intended audience. There are just SO many ways that this is offensive and wrong.

  3. cm0use says:

    “we DO NOT NEED idiots like EA trying to set us back to the mid ’90s like this”

    Man, EXACTLY, when I saw this on TV a couple days ago for the first time the first thing I thought was “Oh great, we’re back to the days of Mortal Kombat brinksmanship, when’s the Time Killers remake coming out”

    What’s really awful isn’t even that they’re doing this but there’s clearly a major market to sustain it, I mean look at the last E3 and everything that was featured outside of Nintendo. Oh and the “heart of conservative America” thing is so LOL and fail on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. Stupefyingly terrible ad campaign.

  4. J says:

    Oh come on this entire article was just as dumb as this commercial; chances are these are actors and this is not a real survey. If it is real they had to know it was going to be recorded and had potential to be released, I’m sure they were compensated very, very well. I could care less about Dead Space 2, and will not be purchasing the game nor checking out this dumb website, but this commercial was far from disgusting and in the heart of conservative America…get real.

    • jess alon says:

      They can call it a focus group all day long. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t actually EA people conducting a “Focus group” and using the footage for their personal gain. They most likely got all the right forms signed before these women even walked into that room. So their likeness and rights were up for grabs until they left. I bet a lot of those women feel violated by these jerkoffs.

  5. ds2fan says:

    I agree that the marketing campaign is cheap and takes advantage of these women. It’s guiltily funny at best, and undermining of the family unit at worst.

    However, that doesn’t impact the quality of the game itself. It is quite literally a work of gory art. Fear, desperation, empathy, aggression…all emotions worthy of portrayal in movies, books, and other mediums of art. Video games have and are becoming a mainstream medium of modern art. When the developers can bring all these emotions together at once, it’s a great thing. Say what you will about the mom marketing campaign, but to say the following about the actual game is irresponsible:

    “Because they’re morally and creatively bankrupt, ma’am. Because they’re too unintelligent and unskilled in their craft to make a product that is both cultured and profitable. Because the easiest way for them to make money is to exploit the worst in young men.”

    For your part, it’s irresponsible of EA to show these women DS2 clips OUT OF CONTEXT. Video games get a bad rap as it is (MW2 airport scene or Mass Effect love scene, anyone?). When in context, it’s an edgy piece that fits well in a bigger storyline. When taken out of context, as in this marketing campaign, its brutish and disgusting.

    Ultimately, it’s up to parents to NOT buy them M-rated games. I’m 25 and grew up on Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein. I also grew up with Mario and Zelda. Some games are family-friendly, others embrace the darkness that scares and excites us.

  6. Well, actually, it’s not irresponsible. It’s my opinion.

    And here’s another: I think you’re giving Dead Space too much credit. Please feel free to absolutely take whatever you want away from your personal experiences with these games, but I think you’re holding them to a much higher artistic standard than either the developers, marketers, or general audience are. These are games that are singularly concerned with the slicing off of limbs from monstrous aliens, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone involved with them that would tell you otherwise. Visceral and engaging? Yes. Artistic? Well, you’ve got some work ahead of you if you’re going to convince me of that. Again, I’ve played the first one through and had a fine time of it, but I did think it was a tad gratuitous, and I wasn’t emotionally engaged by it in any memorable sense for a single second.

    And please don’t think that just because I wrote a blog post defending moms that I’m afraid of “the darkness”. Like you, I’m in my mid-20’s and I was weaned on violent PC games like Wolfenstein, Doom and The 7th Guest while enjoying more age appropriate pursuits. Today, on any given day, you might find me playing anything from Kirby’s Epic Yarn to Carmaggeddon, and there’s a good chance that I’ve just watched “A Serbian Film” or “Antichrist” for the upteenth time just previous. I feel like I maintain a pretty healthy balance of solid gorehound fare with less intense media, and I pride myself on it.

    That said, I know the difference between a game like Thrill Kill and a game like Manhunt. Sometimes the splatter means something, and sometimes it doesn’t. I think you’re in a tough spot convincing anyone that Dead Space does.

  7. ds2fan says:

    I’ll start off by reiterating that we’re on the same page about the marketing campaign. It’s cheap and in bad taste (though I still find it humorous).

    About the game though…

    DS certainly isn’t for all. It isn’t for most.

    But I really enjoy DS. The first one drew me in. The atmosphere of the game, the hopelessness and loneliness that the game evokes is not for all. If you didn’t get attached to the storyline and Isaac’s plight, maybe the game isn’t for you. Then there was the utter terror of Chapters 5 and 10, where the hunter(regenerated limbs) kept chasing you. If that’s not the scariest sequence in video game history, I don’t know what is! If it didn’t terrorize you, maybe the game isn’t for you. The betrayal of your cohort, losing your only ally to the Brute, the realization that your girlfriend had been dead the whole time, and seeing that the engineer has been losing his mind really rounded out what was a terrible day for Isaac Clarke. If you didn’t feel for him, maybe the game isn’t for you.

    For me, those pieces were what made the game what it is. Fighting a horde of necros while backed into a corner..trying to conserve my last 7 rounds as I know once I run out I will die. That’s what makes this game great.

    You’re right. The blood and the gore are offensive. You weren’t emotionally engaged, that’s fine, it’s your opinion. Many share your opinion, but mine is that this game evokes the emotions above in a way only art can.

  8. Nolan says:

    Still better than the Capella commercials.

  9. julia says:

    Hey…just thought id give my opinion…after all I am a woman, and in game advertising.
    Ds2 was some of the worst advertising I’ve seen for a video game in a very long time. They could have touched on the fact that isaac is going insane, or that he has a voice, a face, and a personality, but they decided to advertise the gore instead. Bad move.
    And as for some thinking that dead space has no artistic quality or a sub-par plot, well I have to say that the first game, compared to the second is well….not very good at all. In the second game, as mentioned above, isaachas a voice, a personality, and that is what truely makes the game. You get pulled into this character, you feel his pain as he’s backed into a corner by his terrifying dead girlfriend and her hoards of necros. Visually the game is well…to me, stunning. Its just beautiful.
    But I digress, you may not care for the game, but we agree on one thing…the advertising was childish, and regressive…and if I get my way…Ill get to work on ds3 🙂 I just can’t let that group of mornons do this to my fav franchise…again.

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