Top 10 Most Marketable Video Game Trailers

Marketing is an art, in that it’s the practice of getting someone to pay attention to your ad and motivate them to buy whatever you’re selling while making them forget that they’re being intruded on and told to go out and buy something. How is that goal best achieved? Entertainment. Video game trailers are a carefully calculated mix of story, music, action, and implication of an even greater experience to be had. Their goal is to excite you, motivating you to anticipate a game’s release so you go out and buy it. And they’re so effective at this task that prospective buyers actually look up trailers in order to motivate themselves. So let’s look at ten of the best examples of skillful marketing in video game trailers.

10. I Am Alive

I Am Alive’s official trailer very quickly gets across the feeling of society’s fragility in the face of a major cataclysmic event. Rather aptly named, “The Event” is not explained in detail, and is in this way a plot device needed only to set up the game for all that follows: the dangers of attempting to survive when our vast infrastructure riddled with uncertainty finally collapses. Six short days and people are dying of thirst in the streets and preying upon one another just in the hopes of surviving for another day, and our hero only hopes to be reunited with his family because long-term survival is a myth. If only the game were as good as the trailer.

9. Dead Space 3

Dead Space 3’s trailer would be higher on the list were it a successful standalone piece. Thing is, it relies too heavily on the viewer having foreknowledge of the game series, effectively leaving newcomers to the series in the dark. That being said, the haunting rendition of “In the Air Tonight” fits well the sense of melancholia created by our hero Isaac trudging through some frozen tundra toward a goal he knows he will likely never walk away from. But his cause is just, his heart is solid, his loved ones and the need to protect them have been laid to rest. Any viewer will easily pick up on the sense that this warrior has found his place to die, and the ground which drinks his blood will be piled high with the enemy’s lifeless carcasses, the most any of us could wish for.

8. Fallout 3

The combination of live-action actors, 50s-esque cartoons, and footage from the game serve well to get across the American Dream Nuclear Family propaganda and how it contrasts with the hellish realities of the post-apocalyptic atompunk age that fans of Fallout can’t get enough of. Music from the time period combining lighthearted lyrics and a little big band horn make the graphic violence of survival after the bombs have dropped all the more appealing, but ultimately it all fails to do anything more than create a mental image and mood. The hero has yet to step forth; the premise has yet to be established or expounded upon.


About The Author

John Richard "Chrysophase" Albers
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John Richard Albers, an author, armchair psychologist, amateur historian, freelance, peacemaker, dragonslayer, warmaster, and part-time herald of the apocalypse, hunts ghosts when he isn't hunting crazy people. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature, is working toward a degree in parapsychology, and is acting CEO of Prior to Print Proofreading LLC, where he gets to torture editors instead of them torturing him for once.

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