Exposure in the World of Gameplay

With such an advancement in the world of technology, it is no surprise that production value and efforts are up tenfold in the video game industry as well as film and television. Gaming in general has become some a normality of majority of the lives of adolescents that is has become the primary target of interaction between the young gamer and an organization with the intent of getting through to the gamer in order to gain something from them. It may often times seem like just a game with an excellent plot line, but there can also be the underlying intention of exposing gamers to certain brands or, unbeknownst to the players, be sending a message outside of the actual video game’s plot.


Stuart Hall

“Thus while in no way wanting to limit research to “following only those leads which emerge from content analysis we must recognize that the discursive form of the message has a privileged position in the communicative exchange (from the viewpoint of circulation), and that the moments of ‘encoding’ and ‘decoding’, though only ‘relatively autonomous’ in relation to the communicative process as a whole, are determinate moments.”

Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto V”

Every parent’s worst fear is that their young impressionable gamer will decode certain games as something violent that they will begin to take into their real life actions that will result in them doing something illegal or dangerous to their own self being or the safety of someone else.

Take Rockstar Games’ bestseller title, Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) for instance, it follows the story of three different characters as they live their life in Los Santos, a city filled with crime and violence, most of which they need to partake in for money and survival. It isn’t exactly considered one of the best storylines in gaming, but it its open world gaming is what makes it one of the top gaming titles of history. GTA V allows players to pretty much do anything in the open world game such as steal cars, spend money on pleasures, team up with friends to plan out the biggest heist, or even sit down on a bench and watch characters interact with each other. This feature is decoded as an amazing experience for gamers and is decoded as something potentially dangerous to the minds of their children to parents, though both is not the intention from the makers of the game. They absolutely catered the game as an amazing gameplay experience but by adding the real world atmosphere to the game, it has given them the ability to design places and items in the game similar to real life location and things, making it the perfect opportunity to advertise brands to the gamers without them even realizing they are seeing a commercial. The red can of soda with cursive writing may not be named Coca-Cola, but when looked at it, the name of real-life brand comes to mind immediately, which is what the game expects from you even without you realizing it.

Two and half Men Opening

The film, Digital Nation: Life in the Virtual Frontier is another demonstration of the fears that the youths are allowing gaming to affect their real-life decision despite the gamers and computer using adolescents saying they are not addicted to gaming and technology and are fully aware that reality is not like their video games.

The hit sit-com Two and Half Men features an episode in which Jake, the younger main character of the show, encounters a recruiter that convinces him that allowing himself to be recruited is a fun experience, informing him, “Oh, it’s exactly like a video game, except we blow up real people!” It is, of course, a jab at the armed forces for their methods of recruitment but there is still that underlying honesty in it as that is exactly what the armed forces do when approaching young males.

War Games as a New Frontier: Securing American Empire in Virtual Space
C. Richard King and David J. Leonard
“Video war games unfold as interactive iterations of American empire rejuvenated in the wake of 9/11. In common with broader military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, pundits, journalists, and citizens rarely make the connections between race and space central to virtual and embodied warfare waged by Americans today.”

First-person shooter games are one of the top styles of gameplay, it allows the player to fully experience a story by having the perspective of the characters as well as the visual of having a weapon held up in their arms. It is easy for a gamer to say they understand the difference between a video game and reality, but that doesn’t stop recruiters from using this as a way to catch the interest of potential recruitments, using their authority to inform them that they are different but still similar. By allowing that first person experience, the player feels they have a bit of understanding as to what the armed forces is really like despite their awareness of it being only a video game. In 1993 the video game Doom was released and was immediately a hit among gamers, something that intrigued the Marines Corps.

Gameplay image of Marine Doom, the Doom II game platform reused to make a potential Marine Corps recruitment tool.

The Marine Corps eventually took the game Doom II and modified it to create Marine Doom, a video game released in 1996 that although was far from being realistic, set an intense atmosphere they intended to use as a recruitment tool for players. It may have been far from being a realistic adaptation of a war zone, but it did its job of catching the eye of the player and even guaranteed to recruiters that even if a young adolescent male wouldn’t be interested in joining, they did take time to listen to the recruiter and even ask questions. Today, gaming continues to skyrocket on production value and with new games such as Sniper: Ghost Recon 3 and even Halo Wars 2, that have a fantasy element to it, it still sets the atmosphere of war and pulls in players to partake in an environment filled with battle zones.

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