Staff Ed: When Campaigns Hurt More than They Help

The start of the “Your Mom Will Hate This Game” campaign for the newly released video game “Dead Space 2” has sparked some debate among gamers.

The main question has been, “Is the value of the shock campaign worth the damage it could do?”

The commercials for “Dead Space 2” show older women, their faces twisted with fear and revulsion, watching or playing the game. One mother even asks, “Why would anyone put that in a game?”

The point of the commercial is to speak to the inner child most gamers, like myself, possess. As kids, the general consensus was, “If my mom hates it, she obviously hates it because it’s fun.”

Obviously, if your mom doesn’t want you playing a video game, it is because of the untold amounts of fun you will have while playing it.

Really, the shock campaign makes sense. Here’s the problem though: Yes, it will speak to the inner child in mature gamers, however, it will also speak to the actual children watching the commercial. This raises problems.

This is not a call for the censorship of games. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) has done an excellent job of clearly labeling games that are meant for adults.

It’s up to adults to do research and figure out what games their kids can and can not handle.

The problem is not all parents do this research. A kid will just ask for the game and the parent will buy it. The commercial speaks to kids and kids will end up getting the game.

There are easier ways to market games. “Dead Space 2” has received stellar reviews from just about every relevant gaming magazine and review website.

The shock campaign, while cool, is unneeded and more fuel for people like conservative activist Jack Thompson to campaign against games as a whole.

Video games are still struggling to be taken seriously both as an entertainment medium and as an art form.

Electronic Arts will do what it has to in order to sell games, but this advertisement was a misstep.