Product placement has been around for a long time. You can see it in just about every movie and TV show that you watch. Even old cave drawings can be found where all of the people in it are killing a wooly mammoth with "Uglunkitin And Sons Old Timey Bone Spears." It makes sense that this noble tradition would transfer to the new media of video games. Sometimes the products are integrated well. Maybe a character will have a certain brand of phone and drive a certain kind of car. A lot of times, that product placement isn't so smooth. Here are the most blatant product placements in video games.
Crazy Taxi had a lot of tie-ins with retail stores. That makes sense to me. Sometimes you just got to get to Tower Records to pick up that new Justin Bieber record NOW. The one place in this game that made no sense to me was Pizza Hut. What kind of moron would take a taxi to Pizza Hut? Pizza Hut delivers pizzas. Just stay at home and order your pizza. That way when you get sick from eating a ton of gross pizza you will be in the comfort of your own home instead of puking in the back of a taxi that's swerving wildy all over the road.
The product placement in this game is so bad that it completely took over the entire game. Yo! Noid is really the Japanese game Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru. For the American market, it was released with the title character replaced with the Domino's Pizza mascot. There are always tons of terrible games based on marketing for fast food. Yo! Noid was actually pretty fun. I kind of wish they would do this with more fun Japanese games that would never otherwise get brought over the America. I wouldn't mind it if I had to play as Jared from Subway shooting footlongs at bad guys as long as the game was fun.
Billboards in racing games is pretty common. That's because racing games started out by having billboard advertisements in them with the Pole Position series. There are several versions of the game with different billboards. Most of the billboards are for things like soda pop or other video games. Some Japanese versions actually have billboards for booze and cigarettes. That's not something you would ever find in a modern racing game. I don't care how edgy your game might pretend to be.
A lot of games try to incorperate their advertisements in to the game in some fun way. Not Counter-Strike. They just started putting random movie posters on walls for no reason. It was pretty distracting when you were in a heated stand-off with some sneaky terrorists. Why is there an advertisement for a terrible direct to DVD movie on the wall of this Aztec temple?
Fight Night: Round 3
The Burger Kind is an unlockable trainer in Fight Night Round 3. This is a boxing game not a competitive eating game. I don't feel that the Burger King is properly qualified to train a professional boxer. I'm pretty sure the sessions would consist of eating 6 Whoppers and then taking a long nap. That's what I do whenever I go to Burger King.
Everquest did something kind of awesome with their Pizza Hut promotion. An MMORPG gives you pretty much every need you could ever want except one. You would still have to log out occasionally to get food. Everquest 2 made it so you could order actual Pizza Hut pizza in game and have it delivered to your house. I wish every game would do this. I would love to be playing Halo or Call Of Duty and have some Chinese food delivered. Now I just need to give every a delivery place a copy of my keys so I don't have to get up to answer the door.
If you play on-line video games, then there is a good chance you saw an ad for Barack Obama. In 2008, he had political ads in 18 different games. They must have thought it worked because they advertised in video games again during the 2012 election. I can't wait to see what kind of ads they run in the next election. My prediciton for 2016 is that one of the debates will take place inside World Of Warcraft. I would definitely vote for anyone that promised me a Teebu's Blazing Longsword.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
This one is pretty ridiculous. In the Japanese version of this game, you could drink Mountain Dew, eat Doritos, and wear Axe deoderant. The problem is that this game is supposed to be about stealth. I don't think you're going to be able to sneak up on anyone if you can't stop burping and farting from all of the Doritos and Mountain Dew you just had. I guess wearing Axe is a good disguise though. If you get caught, the bad guys will just think you're from an MTV reality show.
What advertisements have you seen in video games? Let me know on twitter @zachlunch or in the comments below!