The Dorklyst: The 6 Strangest In-Game Ads in Videogame History

By Sophie Prell / October 20, 2011


Well hey there, kids! Do you like awesome? Do you like excitement? Then you're gonna love this Dorklyst countdown of the strangest in-game advertisements! Buckle your seatbelts because we're going on a crazy ride through modern gaming's most whorish advances into your brain's consumption lobe! This Dorklyst brought to you by Kool-Aid! Oh yeahhhhh!!

Please note: This Dorklyst not actually brought to you by Kool-Aid.

6. Red Bull in Worms 3D


As a power-up in the classic tiny warfare franchise, Red Bull feels a little out of place next to the Kamikaze worm and Holy Hand Grenade. But still, I suppose even invertebrates need that extra pick-me-up. If one of your little buddies is low on health, give him one of these to pep him up. If Worms 3D were to adapt the Red Bull slogan it would become "Drink Red Bull! It gives you health!"

But wait, something feels off here. Oh yeah! Red Bull, and energy drinks in general, are f**king awful for you. They've got about twice as much caffeine as a can of pop (yes, I'm from the Midwest, and that's what we call it here) making them addictive as all hell. As a diuretic, it also makes it harder for you to poop. Which, you know… poop jokes. They're funny, right?

But really, the joke here isn't necessarily about the adverse health effects of Red Bull, it's the fact that worms shooting cannons are drinking Red Bull. It's like Activision partnering with Burger King so that every time you needed health in Call of Duty, you eat a Whopper. How the hell does this happen in the first place, anyway? Is the in-game placement supposed to make me thirsty for a Red Bull? To think of one of these little creepy-crawlies as my bro in caffeinated beverage glory?

5. Everything in Battlefield: 2142


It's one thing to know your audience. It's a whole different beast to convince your audience they're about to install spyware to find their browsing habits and display them publicly in-game. God forbid you've got some really kinky stuff in those browser cookies. You dirty bird, you.

Naturally, people didn't like that and a subsequent ragefest ensued. The mess lead to a whole bunch of clarifications from EA, including one on Gamasutra.

In truth, the game simply captures how you respond to the advertisements placed, not how to place the ads themselves. It captures information like IP address, time logged on, and information related to how one looks at the ads: how long, at what angle, etc. All in all, pretty harmless. Especially compared to that rocket coming straight at your face. Kaboom!

4. Duracell in Alan Wake


When writer Alan Wake heads into the pine forests of the Pacific northwest to find his wife and vanquish evil darkness with godly writer powers, what do you suppose is in his flashlight? It certainly couldn't be just any battery, could it? Nope. It's Duracell. Trusted everywhere. Even Bright Falls, apparently. Which is a pretty fucked up place.

Since Alan Wake is a dark game focused on atmospheric tension, it makes sense that your flashlight can die out on you. It harkens back to the days of Resident Evil's careful ammo conservation, and the gameplay revolving around it is surprisingly fun. What didn't make sense was to have such an engrossing narrative bombarded with thoughts of, "Oh man, my flashlight's dying! I need some Duracell!"

Actually, you know what's even weirder than the way Duracell is used in Alan Wake? Turns out it's true; Duracell really does work better in tests which hook batteries up to light sources. You've got this test on rechargeable rates from Gizmodo which used a flashlight, and this adorable grade-school science project which used light bulbs. Personally, I like the pretty pink letters on the latter and am a sucker for nostalgic reminders of my own science fair projects, so I'm inclined to trust it.

Third-graders and batteries: helping save the world from Cthulhu and other monstrosities from beyond the stars since 1964.

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