Video Games Magazine Issue 11, June 1983 - Q*Bert makes the jump to Pinball. Bizarre looking table too.
Now the fascinating thing about this article is it’s writer “Zelmo”. Apparently a contributor involved in the coin op industry. Who was Zelmo? Was this written by the guy who actually made the machine (a paid article?) or just a guy who loved the heck out of pinball machines and wanted to start writing some stuff up?
Ellen and I were having dinner at the local Ethiopian lounge last night, and halfway through our meal the bar TV interrupted some kind of sporting event to flash this Bioshock Infinite commercial.
This clip makes the game look awesome. It’s also completely bogus—if this lynching sequence was ever meant to exist, it didn’t make it into the final game. And that troubled me enough that I turned to my partner in the middle of a perfectly pleasant evening and started shouting—it’s a raucous bar, mind—about the crock of shit 2K was peddling. What about the poor suckers who bought the game after watching this commercial and never got what was advertised?
As usual, Ellen took my bullshit in stride. She’s seen enough of Bioshock Infinite to get a feel for the game, how it employs winsome narrative and visual design to draw players through what’s basically a carnival shooting gallery. From her perspective this commercial isn’t a lie—it shows you everything you need to know about the experience of playing Bioshock Infinite. To wit:
A beautiful girl gets wrapped up in an ugly situation, and you’re never quite sure if you’re saving or sacrificing her.
You’re a generic rogue who can only touch the world through violence. Need to stop someone? Zap ‘em. Need to help someone? Zap ‘em.
There’s a floating city filled with bizarre antiquities. Zeppelins! Coach guns! Religion! IGN box quotes!
Plus, since this sequence never happens in the actual game the commercial sidesteps any risk of spoiling the story—the only thing that kept me pushing forward—while still getting you super-hyped for some high-flyin’ lynch-mob-murdering action.
In an alternate universe, this lynch mob scene made it into Bioshock Infinite. It probably didn’t change the nature of the game, but it made a subtle difference in how the story of Booker DeWitt plays out. I always like it when a writer manages to build their arguments in a way that cleverly mirrors the subject, but this is one step beyond that: it’s marketing that cleverly mirrors what’s being sold. This commercial affords us a glimpse at what Infinite might have been, a sneak peek into a world of possibility, and I guess that makes it a pretty darn effective piece of advertising.
Who’s that fetching lass in the funny getup? A serious question posed by a frivolous French ladies mag back in 1906 according to my new favorite website, the Public Domain Review. See also: these fantastic 17th-century diagrams showing how to accurately triangulate artillery fire.
”I remember once having read of certain outstanding orators of the ancient world who, among the other things they did, tried hard to make everyone believe that they were ignorant of letters, and dissembling their knowledge, they made their speeches appear to have been composed very simply and according to the promptings of nature and truth rather than effort and artifice. For if the people had known of their skills, they would have been frightened of being deceived. ”