My Name is Mercurio Silver, and I don’t like… Press Releases

My Name is Mercurio Silver, and I don’t like… Press Releases

printing-press_1_lg

I’ve been reading a lot of press releases lately. It’s not been by choice, various members of staff at The Reticule have started sending them to me as a practical joke and, not to be undone by their childish antics, I’ve read every single one. It’s like when you catch a child smoking, you make them smoke every single cigarette in the house inside of one hour with an end to teaching them a lesson. That lesson being how much fun a cigarette can be.

I think I lost my point there. The important thing is, the Reticuleers are sending me press releases to shut me up, to keep me bogged down in tweaking my spam filter to get rid of their emails. I’m not going to play their little game.

What I am going to do, however, is explain to you all why press releases are pointless exercises. I dare say this will be less controversial than my previous posts, but I don’t care. Sometimes (now pay attention kids, this is important) it’s alright to agree with the majority.

Now then, press releases.

I would imagine none of you read print media (pornography, The Sun, and games magazines don’t count) so you may not be fully aware of how strange the composition of a press release is. Your frame of reference comes from things like 4chan and other internet forums, places where the English language is ripped apart piece by piece, puréed, then squirted onto a stale cracker in lieu of dialogue. With that in mind, allow me to make this easier for you.

I’m going to present you with a standard press release, one I have plucked from the slush file upon my 1984 Amstrad Super-Deluxe Computational Electroterminal’s desktop. I will then present you with the same press release a second time, however I will have reconstituted it into a more polite format, one which will make sense. Understand?

First up, the press release:

 

TAURINE GAMES ANNOUNCES NEW GAME: DARK LIGHT

March 1st 2009, Bolton, England, Great Britain, United Kingdom, Europe – Taurine games have today announced their new IP, Dark Light, in production for the PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS and some mobile phones.

Dark Light, created by acclaimed director Erasmus Tokei Hume, will be the start of a trilogy of Survival Horror/Action/Strategy games from Taurine games. The game will feature both graphics and animation, a story, and will involve Nolan Price’s search for his daughter in a haunted mansion in rural Kentucky during a full moon on Halloween night.

Dark Light may well be the biggest leap forward in visual entertainment since the invention of the remote control,” said Quentin Paulson, VP of Endworld Inc’s Digital Distribution service, ByteMole. “It’s a game that has won unprecedented critical acclaim before it has even been released and, let’s face it, the Survival Horror/Action/Strategy marketplace is pretty barren right now!”

Dark Light will be available in May/June/July or August 2009 for $14.99 (40.00 Pounds Sterling, 60 EUR)

 

Read that? Good, now for the more pleasant version:

 

Dear Potential Consumer,

We at Taurine games would like to announce to you the creation of our upcoming game. It is entitled Dark Light, and will be available on pretty much every console that you are likely to have.

This game is being crafted by a man with plenty of experience in this field, so you can be sure you will receive value for money. He has created a great tale of loss, family and love, and woven it into a game with significant replayability and innovative controls.

The story concerns a man named Nolan Price, an architect from Cincinnati who is forced to return to his one failure, a mansion in Kentucky. His daughter (who, you will be pleased to know, will be voiced by Dakota Fanning) has gone missing, leaving a note that reveals the mansion as her destination.

I would like to go into greater detail, but unfortunately my superiors have told me that I must not. It is rather unfortunate really, I have some game play videos that I would love to show you, but apparently I can only show them to the press. I’m sorry. But, you know, if you said you were a journalist I don’t think anyone would check your credentials.

Anyway, I do hope this announcement has peaked your interest. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about Dark Light in the coming weeks. It’s due out around the middle of the year and will be a pretty reasonable price I understand, unless you live in the United Kingdom or Europe. The publishers don’t seem to understand regional pricing, but we’re working on it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope we can count on you to pre-order our game.

Regards,

Ken Michaels

Press Department, Taurine Games.

 

Now then, which one do you think is better? Yes, it is clearly the second one. A little bit of effort and you get something that people will enjoy reading.

Why can’t they just do things my way?

3 thoughts on “My Name is Mercurio Silver, and I don’t like… Press Releases

  1. Yeah, good point raised, but as the “not press release” states, the problem doesn’t (always) lie with the developers – it appears the publishers push the PR angle a lot more (it is not all that common to have a full time PR rep at a developer), and press out the releases (ho ho!) of tightly controlled PR media.

    Which is annoying if you ever want to investigate a game. Most game sites don’t even bother to take real screenshots nowadays, and instead just stick up the PR approved, 40xAA, 160xAF, 2600×3800 screenshots, 3rd person usually and all without GUI – meaning you don’t know how it *actually looks* which is the entire point of the screenshots! (I wonder if this will be ranted about in the future :) ).

    Videos are similar – some sites do video reviews (with their own footage). Some don’t, and just provide the pre-approved gameplay videos. For some systems (such as handhelds) it’s infuriating to find out how a game will actually play, where beyond a demo the next best way is a video.

    Too much PR approved stuff in general I think. It might work for film, but I don’t think it works the best for games. Press Releases are the epitome of it though. Start basic! Get the text right! (for some companies I presume things like Wall Street demand such releases – but it doesn’t have to be the only way information is released, sigh).

Leave a Reply to Mattias Tammet Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.