On Writing, Tech, and Other Loquacities

The collected works of Lana Brindley: writer, speaker, blogger

Mobile Game Advertising is Weird

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I noticed this mobile game ad the other day:

An ad for a mobile game called Gardenscapes. The ad shows a cartoon man and a woman freezing in an icy environment, with a crashed plane behind them. They are standing by a cold campfire. The user is being asked to "Tap to make a fire" with a choice of three items: a blue lighter, a match, or a rock.

This would be pretty unremarkable, except for that fact that I play this game, and have done for many months, so I know it pretty well.

Gardenscapes is made by a company called Playrix. I like their games, so have also played two other games they make: Homescapes, and Township.

The problem is, none of their games look like this. The character on the left is a weird version of the main character in Gardenscapes and Homescapes, and he also has some guest appearances in Township. The character on the right appears to be a version of a character from Homescapes, who does not appear in Gardenscapes at all.

But that’s where any similarity ends.

None of the games are set in a winter landscape, none have a storyline that involves a plane crash, and none involve characters freezing next to a cold campfire.

As for gameplay? Gardenscapes is a match-3 game. Not that you would be able to guess. Here’s an actual screenshot from the game:

A screenshot of a match three game. The game has various coloured flowers and leaves, some are blocked by wooden slats or ice. The game board sites on a green background that looks like lawn, decorated with autumn leaves.

I guess the point is to get you to click, by asking you a question and assuming you’ll want to save the poor freezing people (??) but all it really does is train me to distrust mobile game ads, without even having to click on one.

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