• 03.05.11

Video Game Ad Treats You Like an iPad-Obsessed Sheep

The promo for Superbrothers’ “Sword And Sworcery” game mashes up friendly looking 8-bit graphics with unnerving Orwellian themes. OBEY.

Video Game Ad Treats You Like an iPad-Obsessed Sheep

There’s a book making the rounds lately called “Program or Be Programmed,” about the insidious nature of software to use us more than we use it. The design geniuses/lunatics at Superbrothers must have read it, because the promo video (or, as they call it, “Audience Calibration Procedure”) for their forthcoming iPad game Sword & Sworcery EP plays like some unholy fusion of classic Nintendo and THX-1138:


Have you ever seen a video game ad that calls attention to the possibility that the “touchtronic machinery required to participate” (ie, the iPad) is turning us into a zombie army of dead-eyed, drooling consume-bots? Yeah, me neither. But damn, does it ever work: the chunky, 8-bit characters somehow move as lithely as living creatures, and the soothing-but-chilling voiceover (delivered by a pixilated version of what could be Don Draper, if he smoked cigars on a weird medieval throne while lightning crashed menacingly in the background) tells you exactly what you do/don’t want to hear: “We’ve slowly been preparing you.” (“Without your awareness,” a demonic, digitally distorted voice adds.)


Mommy… I’m scared…

Between the eerily lifelike animation and the intricate graphic design, you really can’t help but fall under Superbrothers’ spell, even as they taunt you: “Have you ever asked yourself why you purchased this machine?” Uh… no, not really. But after watching this spellbinding promo, I am asking myself one thing: When the hell can I get my hands on Sword & Sworcery EP?

[Read more at Sword & Sworcery]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.