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Advergaming At Its Most Honest?

Doritos game mentions bags of chips, hands out 200 achievement points like they were nothing.

Dinosaurs. Love. Trucks.
Dinosaurs. Love. Trucks.
Dash of Destruction is the winning entry in the Unlock Xbox contest that Doritos sponsored way back. The contest had entrants design a Doritos-based video game. The threat was that the winning entry would be turned into an actual Xbox Live Arcade release. But by being absolutely transparent about its intentions, it's actually not bad.

The game is a modern retelling of the old "dinosaurs vs. Doritos delivery trucks" fable that we all loved as children. You play from both sides. As the T-Rex, you scamper around and through a city, destroying buildings as you attempt to eat Doritos trucks. At the end of every level, you receive an enhancement, like a metal face that lets you bash through buildings. Eating enough trucks ends the level.

As the truck, you need to avoid the dinosaurs and make your way to different delivery drops to win. Your truck is enhanced as you complete levels. Completing both of these campaigns took me around 15 minutes and got me all of the achievements, save one that asks you to win a multiplayer game. That's local multiplayer, so plugging in a second controller made that easy.

200 points in 20 minutes essentially puts this in the Avatar school of "dude, points!" What's interesting is that the game makes blatant mention of the points, inviting you to "get your gamerscore on" as you play.

So that's their proposition: if you're willing to play an interactive little thing that, incidentally, mentions Dortios and has logos and stuff on it, they'll give you 200 achievement points. In this case, it doesn't feel particularly evil, but now that I have all 200 of those points, I'm left wondering what this means for the future. Will this eventually set off a trend of advergames that effectively give you 200 points for watching ads? Will developers be able to maintain a balance that prevents the branding from getting too heavy, even in something that's been designed as an ad? Will this game prove successful enough to even warrant more advertisers to jump in and do the same thing?

One thing I do know, though. Mike Borland, the contest winner, is credited in the game. So now he has his own page. Also? I sort of want a bag of Doritos now. Crap. It worked.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+