Thursday, April 16, 2009

AdVantage Point: Street Fighter IV (2009)

Give an idiot a scanner and a comic book, and let him to pick out all the advertisements for video games. This is AdVantage Point -- a chance to document the winding timeline of comics/gaming history as it was canonized by the adverts. Musings, rantings, observations.

This quite possibly might be one of the stupidest ideas to hit the 1up.blogs - adverts.
I suppose the beauty of a concept like this, however, is the timeline it will eventually show. Like the sequential medium of comics itself, these advertisements become a timeline of history.

With no real affection for most games currently being advertised, I figured it fitting to start with one of the revival heavyweights. I'd like to say Street Fighter II was right there back at the dawn of capitalism, paving a way for video game advertisements in comics, but let's face it. They'd been around a good decade before that!

It's been great having the Street Fighter franchise active again, not that it ever really went away.
This ad kinda brings back those warm tingly feelings of the early nineties, and I'm sure the neon pink doesn't go completely without credit, for that.

Like most ads, this one sells an established brand, without dwelling too much on the details.
Most of us probably already know enough to decide whether or not we're interested in buying a new Street Fighter, so presumably, it's about awareness and market presence. That said, this has to be one of the very few adverts I've encountered recently that actually goes to the trouble of including screenshots from the actual game. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but that seems like a good idea, to me.

With Street Fighter IV, the visual style of the game was an important selling point. These screens probably don't communicate it's delicate balance between the 2D animation style classic to the series, and it's new 3D potential, but they at least allude to something familiar as well as something new (ie; the hadouken dramatic camera).

I wonder if the appearance of Honda and the bold slogan don't communicate a secondary message to those receptive. For the average reader, the emphasis of Hadouken in the bold statement is enough of a nostalgia grab to warrant attention and reminiscing, but for those many invested in gameplay, it perhaps hints at the developments that have been made in the fight system since the hadouken-squashing Street Fighter III.

It's a little surprising not to see big selling icons like Chun-Li, Guile, and Ken in the advert, but Ryu's probably adequate enough to represent that public face of the series. I'm reminded of the countless discussions about both feature films (1994/2009) and the constant call for Ryu. Honestly, I don't think the wandering world warrior is really that intrinsically significant to any creative endeavour with the franchise, but we haven't exactly had the best opportunity to test that theory.

Interestingly enough, this advert hasn't appeared in UDON's licensed series of comics.
Their role in creating a series that fleshes out the backstory of Street Fighter IV and it's new characters is arguably advertisment enough, and you needn't really try to sell to the audience who's clearly already invested in the brand. I guess you just get used to a complacency of "synergic" association in marketing.

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