From entire games poorly designed to slander a company’s primary competitor to weirdly out of place billboards, we count 16 of the worst product placements in video games of all time.
16 – Pepsi Man,
- I’m not really sure what to think of Pepsi Man, on one hand the advertising in the game is so over the top that it loops back around to be charming, on the other hand it’s a game that people actually paid to play.
- The quirkiness that could only come from Japan made this game a cult classic, but I can’t work out if all of this was on purpose and people just took it for irony, or if the developers were actually self-aware.
- Either way, it’d be wrong not to include this on the list, because if you haven’t heard of it before, you really should know of its anomalistic existence.
15 – EverQuest II – Pizza Delivery,
- While this particular method actually worked to garner a lot of publicity towards both EverQuest II and Pizza Hut, ordering pizza from inside an MMO is still a pretty stupid idea when you actually think about it.
- Sure it had the benefit that you didn’t have to alt-tab to a browser, but really, what kind of MMO player doesn’t alt-tab frequently anyways?
- And if they were going to support the whole ‘MMO players don’t want to converse with people’ angle, they forgot that the customer still needed to, you know, answer the door?
14 – Dead Rising 2 – Playboy,
- For those of you that have never played Dead Rising, it’s a wacky, tongue in cheek zombie game where you use improbably weapons to kill massive hordes of zombies.
- For some reason the developers thought it would be a good idea to include Play Boy magazines and posters into the mix.
- Which would be fine if the material in the game had some sort of self-awareness or humour to it, but it didn’t, instead it was just straight up soft-core porn that felt as out of place as a penguin in a sauna.
13 – Yaris,
- Following the success of the Burger King and Dorito Xbox Live Arcade games, Toyota decided to commission a game based around the Yaris.
- This would have been just fine if it was actually fun, but instead it had wonky controls and was way too long for its own good.
- Don’t get me wrong, the idea of having a robotic gun coming out of a family friendly car like the Yaris is reasonably funny, but it went against all of the advertising surrounding the Yaris in the first place and came across as a weird game targeted at no one in particular.
12 – Fight Night Round 3 – Burger King,
- Having well placed product placement in a major release can actually add to the immersion and make the game feel like it actually belongs in the real world, on the flipside when it’s done poorly it sticks out like a sore thumb and leaves a bad taste for the game and the product it’s trying to promote.
- So it’s really baffling to me to see such an overt advertisement smacked in the middle of the game like it belongs there.
- For those that don’t know, the burger king mascot is included as a boxing trainer and there’s also a special Burger King achievement; the whole thing just screams of soullessness, laziness and ignorance.
11 – Pepsi Invaders,
- Back in 1983, when Coca Cola and Pepsi were fighting for supremacy on the fizzy sugar water battlefronts, Coke decided to commission a game based on the ever popular Space Invaders where the player shot down the letters P E P S I and some invaders to win.
- When the player won, they’d get the message ‘Coke Wins!’ and while Coke won the battle, this still seems dumb for one primary reason.
- Basically the player spends most Their entire play-time staring intently at the word Pepsi, thus burning the word into the player’s mind.
10 – Phantasy Star Portable 2 – Pizza Hut and Colonel Sanders,
- While Phantasy Star isn’t exactly the most serious game in the world, it’s still not a joke series and so product placement should have been handled with a lot more tact than Sega ended up doing.
- In the Japanese version of PSOP 2 you can dress up with a Pizza pan and box as your sword and shield while having colonel Sanders backing you up as your AI partner and if that isn’t dumb as all buggery then I don’t know what is.
9 – Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – Axe, Doritos and Mountain Dew,
- The Metal Gear Solid franchise has had a lot of product placement throughout the years, with Calorie Mate paradoxically being included in the third instalment despite the game being set decades before it existed, but Peace Walker takes the cake when it comes to dumb product placement.
- The sheer volume of commercial goods crammed into Peace Walker makes it almost impossible to ignore without putting in a conscious effort to do so.
- There’s bags of Doritos, cans of pepsi and mountain dew, shirts for Axe deodorant, Monster Hunter enemies, Assassin Creed references, a Uniqlo, a Shonen Jump Manga, the list keeps going on.