Say what you will about the state of the modern shooter or the value of B-grade gore-fests like Gears of War. Criticize stiff, wooden dialogue, cringe-incuding one-liners and shallow characters. Bemoan game design that relies on gimmicks at the cost of squandering potential innovations. Blast the extreme, "your mom hates this" marketing campaign of Dead Space 2, the Saints Row 2 ads that poked fun at the mundane activities available to you in GTA IV, or the Blur ads that belittled the whimsical nature of Mario Kart. Do these things – because criticism like that will help gaming evolve as a medium.
But please, take a look at Bulletstorm's marketing campaign. And at least give the demo a spin. As Penny Arcade put it, Bulletstorm is "a version of Tony Hawk where you skate around on a gun and the ramps are made of enemy flesh". A demo like that sounds like it's worth at least twenty minutes of your time.
As I'm sure some of you may have seen by now, a recent Bulletstorm trailer makes a mockery of the Halo 3 "Believe" ads, which featured Chopin and what must have been some very time consuming modeling. I will admit, as a person that gets way too emotionally involved in popular culture, that I got a little misty-eyed with that ad campaign. My reaction to the Bulletstorm trailer was the same, only my eyes were watering as a result of copious amounts of laugher. See the trailer below, complete with people and hot dogs being impaled together on cacti:
That hilarious use of Chopin is what the other students and I at the film studies department of OSU would call a perfect example of "contrapuntal sound." Now, normally I'd criticize the politician-like practice of smearing opponents rather than championing your own ideals, but Bulletstorm's trailer isn't all crass mockery. It doesn't just make fun of Halo, but the very serious gravity that Halo tried to endow itself with. And let's face it – is there anything more cartoonish than Grunts? But the parodies don't end there.
Though Bulletstorm won't get a PC demo, there's a demo for a parody game, instead.Developers People Can Fly released Duty Calls: The Calm Before the Storm. The short half-minute trailer manages to not only make you laugh out loud at the faux-realism of the Call of Duty series, but it also makes time to get in a jab at Fallout, as well.
"Here's your objective. Blah, blah blah secret base."
For those of you whose computers would also vomit to death if you tried to install that, here's a video of the parody game:
Yes, these are rather low-brow parodies, but they're smart with their attacks and they know both their product and their market quite well. Sometimes gamers need a break from Saturday morning cartoons masquerading as grand space operas and the bluntly confusing plots of military shooters. Sometimes we need a Bulletstorm. While the jury will stlil be out until February 22, the demo and the hilarious ads have my interest piqued.
Oh, and that Gears 3 MP Beta, too.