Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Subliminal messages in videogames

I ran across 2 interesting things today. One is about Konami supposedly flashing winning images in their slot machines while the game is being played:

"The games flash winning jackpot symbols at players for a fifth of a second, long enough for the brain to detect even if the players are not aware of the message, some psychologists told CBC News."

I guess the machines are being pulled. You can read the whole article here.

While searching for other subliminal messages in videogames I also came across this one which supposedly exists in Wario Ware for the DS. This one is kinda strange but you can see for yourself here.

Does anyone know if subliminal advertising really works or not? Or if anyone has some other examples in videogames please let me know.


Ken Squires-Kavanagh said...

the second one really isn't a subliminal message, considering without the text it sounds like near-gibberish.

also i'd like to hear your take on god of war 2 having 1 million pre-orders :)

Derek Daniels said...

1 million? where in the world did you hear that? pretty sure it's not true...but if it is! damn, thats all i have to say

Anonymous said...

Snopes has an article on subliminal advertising and its roots:

"As numerous studies over the last few decades have demonstrated, subliminal advertising doesn't work; in fact, it never worked, and the whole premise was based on a lie from the very beginning. James Vicary's legacy was to ensure a great many people will never be convinced otherwise, however."

Devin Greer said...

Holy fuck... If there really are 1 million, I hope my store still gets them in on time, and that I get a copy. Thanks for the picture, Daniel. Yeah, I can say that I've never seen you before. Although, I have to say that when I saw the picture, I really wasn't surprised, it was almost as if I ALREADY KNEW HOW YOU LOOKED! I don't know, it was weird. I just saw the Perseus teaser being passed around the sites. I have to say that even though there are more bosses like that, and still only about 4 that are the scale and size that amazed most people in the first game, it's still a good idea to know that there is more diversity and those look like a hell of a lot of fun, too. The invisible trick, that looks like it could be a pain in the ass and a relief to kill the little fucker. So what? He has invisibility, Kratos has the "mother-fucking-bad-ass" factor, and that over-rules it all! It all looks amazing!

-Devin Greer

Ken Squires-Kavanagh said...

Apparently it's from Sony's mouth but no specific source.

Devin Greer said...

That doesn't look like a very reliable site. At least, I hope it's not. For my sake. But it doesn't matter, as long as come March 13th, I can get my copy. There isn't a "short-age" of games is there? Do you know how many are being manufactured, Derek? Oh and for the advertising in games, I think there's a lot of advertising in almost every sports game. That's not so subliminal, but it's there. I'm so glad God Of War doesn't have anything like that. How fun would brutal, amazing Greek Mythology look if it had Mt. Dew billboards posted everywhere?

Devin Greer said...

Less than 10 days, motherfuckers!

Devin Greer said...

OMFG, I have a serious question. Is this true? God Of War... On The PSP?!

Anonymous said...

Hey Derek, I have a request. I'm doing a writeup for a website about GOW, specifically the plot and the character of Kratos.

I'd like to give some GOW guys a chance to respond. Either by letting them write a response to the article or by doing some sort of Q&A afterwards.

It isn't going to be full of gushing praise, but it will be fair I hope.

Who is the best person to contact about doing this? Barlog? Jaffe? I'd appreciate if you could point me towards someone in the GOW team who would be interested. (Including yourself)

I'll check here; you can also PM Margalis at SRK. (Yes, I am the evil Margalis)

It will probably be a couple of weeks before I finish so no rush. If nobody has the time or inclination I understand. If that is the case I'll still post a link when I'm done for your viewing pleasure.

Jeff said...

Does anyone remember a PC puzzle game from awhile back that used positive subliminal messages to make you feel good while you played?

I can't remember exactly what it was, but for some reason I'm thinking that it was similar to Devil Dice... except instead of numbers, I think you have to roll over stuff of the same color as what's on the cube. Again, though, I could be way way off, as I don't really remember the game or what it's name was.

Oh well... I'll be out of town, unfortunately, during GoW2's release, but fortunately it will be in the Bay Area. I'm going to try to come to the launch event despite the fact that I won't be able to play my copy of the game until later in the week.


Jeff said...

Apparently, I posted too early, as a quick google search turned it up for me:

The game was called "Endorfun" and from the screenshot, does actually kind of look like the Devil Dice game that I somehow remembered.


Devin Greer said...

Although my previous comment-like questions were entirely serious, I want to assure that this one is also. Okay, I'm sure you (Derek), and probably anyone else that would read this blog are hard-core gamers, who... love gaming. We love our consoles, we love our PCs, we love the fucking amazing games that there are, and when a new one pops up (such as God Of War), we love it too. Now, we see this as a life-style, I would assume, a hobbie, a sport, if you will. Now, myself, I'm a hard-core gamer just like the rest of you folks. And my father and step-mom see that and accept it. My mom, on the other hand is freaking the fuck out. Apparently my computer is now ruling my life, and that is all that my life revolves around. The "reason/proof" she gives me, is because of how pissed off I get when she tells me that my time will be cut short, or that she is going to start fucking scheduling the time that I get to use MY FUCKING COMPUTER. My computer, which I have entirely bought, from the fucking case, to the damn monitor. Even that being aside, she refuses to see the reason why I really get pissed off, she has no good reason what so ever to do it. I basically boil her reasons, from her own mouth to, she's the parent, and she doesn't give a fuck. I may being ranting on, and you may not care, but I like hearing other people's opinions. Just because she is over 18 and gave birth to me, what gives her the right to force her ignorance onto me. Who says... that just because I'm not 18, that I can't be heard. That I can't reason. That I can't be right. Shit, a long time ago, in most cities, as soon as I turned 13, I'd be a man, with a wife, and starting a family already... I don't know... Please, if I have failed to give enough detail, or you see flaws in what I've said, please, tell me. Anyway, there's my rant... I get really fucking pissed sometimes, where I can't control it, almost like Kratos... Hahahaha.....

Derek Daniels said...

Gow2 on PSP: I personally haven't seen the back of the manual yet so I can't really comment on that picture. The only thing I can say is that GDC is going on so who knows what may or may not get announced.

Margalis: (insert it's a trap.jpg). Umm...I'm sure Cory would be down to answer it. Jaffe isn't really part of the GoW team anymore. Not to say that he doesn't have a say but he is really off doing his own thing (calling all cars) and overseeing everything else. The day to day stuff is 100% Cory. But yeah, either hit up me or cory.

Jeff: wow, this game does look pretty fun. I'll admit, I've never played Devil Dice (sirlin is cursing me out right now) but it does look interesting.

Devin: Like Tupac said, 'keep your head up'. It's hella cliche but sometimes parents do know best. Just chill on getting angry and show them that you are ok without using the computer so much and they'll accept it as part of you.

Jeff said...


I don't mean any offense from this, but just trying to help.

What kind of grades do you get? What kind of activities are you involved in?

I'm not a parent, but I think that parents are probably worried most about this kind of stuff when you're in high school. If your grades are suffering and you spend 8-12 hours a day playing games (not suggesting that you do this, just giving an example), is it unreasonable for a parent to think you spend too much time playing games and not enough time doing schoolwork?

Sometimes, parents will excuse slightly worse grades if you're involved in other activities. I think they want to see that you're basically into SOMETHING else so that your entire life doesn't revolve around playing videogames... Can you play videogames for a living? Maybe, but there's typically not that much money in it, and is probably more of a pain in the ass than you might think (testers typically end up hating the game they had to test for 18-20 hours a day... there was a good article on recently).

If you get good grades and are involved in at least one other thing (a job even), I'd use this as ammo in your arguments. Does your mom watch TV? If she does, how much does she watch? You could try to say something along the lines of "videogames are my TV", but you run the risk of really pissing off your mom.

If none of these work or none of them are really the problem, and your mom is simply of the opinion that videogames are the root of all evil, there probably isn't much you can do. Try to get her to read something like Gerard Jones' "Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence" or have her read some Henry Jenkins (perhaps a good place to start is this short article by him here:
Certainly, if you take this tactic, make sure you've also read them so you can discuss it with her. She would probably just be happy to be able to discuss something like this with you, even if you disagree with her.

As a side note, if you're under 18, how are you playing God of War anyway (unless you're 17)? ;)

Devin Greer said...

Yeah, I'm over it now... Thanks... On average I get A's, B's, and sometimes C's... Hardly even C's though... I'm in this group called "My Strength", it's most forwardly a group against rape. Although it's basically something that a group of guys go to, to just talk, about anything, seriously, it's fun, and looks good on resumes and college applications. Plus, they order at least 10 pizzas, and we all pig out on pizza and soda, during school time, how kool is that? My mom doesn't watch too much TV, so that wouldn't work...

Okay, here's the deal. Then first tiem I ever heard about God Of War, was when DAvid Jaffe (who at the time I had known nothing about) was being interviewed about it on a show called Screen Savers, which is now called Attack Of The Show. I thought the game looked worth playing and one day, I went to Wal*Mart with my dad, saw it, and had the money to buy it... So I did... Then, as soon as I started playing it, I was amazed, and since then it's been my favorite game of all time. I'm 15, by the way. My mom wouldn't have let me buy God Of War... But my dad is kool like that. That reminds me of this one time, I went with my friends to go buy Half-Life 2, but I'm not old enough, so I went and asked this one 20-year-old-guy that I had seen in the games section all the time, and I gave him the money, and he bought it for me. YEAH! I hate the man, so I roll like that... I <3 God Of War!

Anonymous said...

Your mom is just concerned, that's what moms do.

Sometimes I feel like the computer rules my life - I wish my mom *could* tell me to do something else a little more often!

Don't worry, in another 10 years you'll be jaded and complaining about how GOW6 is crap :)

Devin Greer said...

Although as long as the game still stayed fun, I would love that many GOW games, I doubt that it will get that far, though, I mean, the only games that have that many sequels/continuations are games like Final Fantasy, and in my opinion, I don't find those fun. But... we'll just have to wait and see, eh...?

Sonics Mate said...

My mom did probe me a couple of years ago about me playing video games and my computer,

but she doesn't bother about it now either because she knew she was fighting a fast losing battle,

or she realized they weren't having having the negative effect the newspapers are always warning our parents about,

although she dos like too keep a tab on what games i have.

I'm careful not too play GTA advance in front of her, she knows i own it but has never actually seen me playing it so only roughly knows its content

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