Showing posts with label Desert Strike for Genesis Print Ad (1992). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Desert Strike for Genesis Print Ad (1992). Show all posts

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Desert Strike for Genesis (1992)

Desert Strike for Genesis advertisement
Original ad published in the March 1992 edition of GamePro

Historical Background

Video games and war go together like pizza and Sriracha sauce. There's a long history of belligerence and pixels. I would be almost impossible to quantify every video game related, in some way, to a real-world conflict. Propaganda and commercialism, on the other hand, have been quite transparent in their intentions. One such example is Desert Strike. Return to the Gulf (1991), published by Electronic Arts.

The first Persian Gulf war (1990-1991) devastated Irak and presented the world a new favorite villain: Saddam Hussein. After the war, practically every media product you can imagine gave us an effigy of Hussein and his dictatorial ways. Some were serious, most of them comedic. His whole persona was the anti-thesis of American Patriotism and the way of life we associate with the United States.

The West has long held a conflicted relationship with the Islamic world. Since the High Middle Ages, about 500 AD,  many wars and have been fought to prove that one of these two cultures is in fact better than the other. Huntington presented this tension in his now classic article titled "The Clash of Civilizations?" in 1993. Video game developers had to monetize this conflict and the same pattern has followed with other violent conflicts to this day. In the digital realm, war produces money. Since there are many more Western video game developers than Islamic ones, the ideological imbalance has biased how gamers comprehend the Islamic world.

Desert Strike. Return to the Gulf is an above average isometric shooter. It's a fun game, no doubt. A solid release from EA before it became the monstrous corporation it is today. The print ad that accompanied the game is much better. And here it is in high definition.

Graphical Analysis 

Below you'll find a close-up of the most egregious piece of government influenced video game propaganda of 1992. Yep, that's a picture of Saddam himself, burning under a mangled piece of gritty barb-wire. (In the game, he's just called the "madman"). As an American, your duty was to clean up what little was left behind of the former regime. The ad's copy, a few lines below, makes it clear that there's still a lot to do in the name of freedom. There was an eerie sense of prescience in EA's marketing department back then. Hussein was hanged in 2003 after a second US-lead incursion in Irak. Turns out video games are in fact prophetic.    

Original Copy of Desert Strike. Return to the Gulf Print Ad: 

Desert Strike-Return to the Gulf 

Desert Storm is over, but not everything was blown away. Now it's up to you to finish the job.  No problem thanks to the awesome Apache Attack Chopper. Climb aboard and get ready to burn up the skies. Fly, hover, and attack in any direction. Flatten command centers, radar stations and power stations. Trash air bases and enemy camps. And smoke over left-over SCUDS, ICBMs and chemical weapons plants. You decide what stays standing and what gets hammered by your main guns, Hydras of deadly Hellfire Rockets.  

But Desert Strike is more than a shoot'em up game. Surgical command strikes requiere razor sharp skill and the ability to think on the fly. You must plot your attack to survive 30 deadly-real missions. Acceso your battle-map and on-board computer intelligence. Raid ammo dumps to reload. Recue U.N. teams, hostages and spies. Protect the oil fields. And work towards your ultimate goal: hunting down the madman and obliterating his nuclear arsenal.  

If your ready to clean up more than just your room, get Desert Strike-Return to the Gulf for your Sega Genesis.   

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