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diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2001-11-13 (18:36:00)
In which our plucky young hero breaks down the system wars.

Enough of political analysis. Now it's time for me to explain to you why the Xbox will fail, kids.

It's really simple: Xbox advertising sucks. It doesn't just avoid showing you what the games actually look like, it avoids telling you what the hell the product actually is. Even better, what it does tell you is disturbing and wrong.

The first Xbox ads I ever saw featured a creepy bald pseudoEnglish guy talking about how the Time Of Purification (or maybe Burning, I forget) was at hand, and the great changes that would be wrought in the apocalypse that was to come would justify everything that came before it. This is not a pitch for a game console. This is a declaration of jihad.

Now, when I go out with hundreds of dollars burning a hole in my pocket, do I want to spend them on the game console that will funnel all of its funds directly to Osama bin Laden? No, I do not. I would even prefer to feed the poor belated Dreamcast, whose "it's thinking" slogan made it clear that once enough units were sold they would rebel against mankind and kill us all, rather like Terminator 2 but with more Phantasy Star imagery.

In another Xbox ad, this same creepy pseudoEnglish guy takes a computer chip (presumably from an Xbox) in his hand and closes his fist, while mumbling yet more cryptic gibberish. (Apparently if you don't buy an Xbox, Microsoft will blow up the Sears Tower.) At the end of his little speech, he opens his hand and a cockroach scurries out of it. The value proposition here is simple: buy an Xbox, and get your house infested by cybernetic terrorist roaches.

Compare this with the Gamecube ad for Luigi's Mansion: a guy sits on a couch next to a hot goth girl, and makes his move on her, until he notices the cube necklace she is wearing. At that point, he is sent into a cartoon-nightmarish realm where we see actual game footage of Luigi wandering around a haunted house. Upon his escape, he is sitting on the same couch as before, except the hot goth girl has been replaced by a Gamecube - which he immediately begins putting the moves on! Buy a Gamecube, because it's so damn good it's practically interchangeable with sex with cute goths. You couldn't come up with a better pitch without tossing the words "free heroin" in there.

So: buy Xbox and be killed by cybernetic roaches, or buy Gamecube and maybe the box will turn back into a hot goth girl ready for sweet, sweet loving. Which would you prefer? For me, the choice is clear.

(Of course, that choice is a PlayStation 2, but hey, advertisers can't have everything.)

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