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Remembering Frank Budgen’s Insanely Brilliant Playstation Commercials

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When thinking back on the best Playstation commercials ever made, the late Frank Budgen quickly comes to mind. Budgen was one of the commercial industry’s most revered directors before he passed away at age 61 in 2015 – and he made some of the most brilliant commercials the industry has ever seen including Tag, a 2001 ad for Nike and PlayStation’s Mountain in 2003 (both of which won the Film Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival ). Of all his work, Mountain might just be my personal favourite – a 60-second spot that depicts a Brazilian crowd congregating to form a mountain of human bodies while competing to reach the top of the pile. The filming of Mountain involved the work of 50 stuntmen and acrobats, as well as 500 extras per day and captured the nature of a competitive community.  The action is so chaotic, the stuntmen probably asked for stuntmen. Put simply, it’s a triumph of choreography, spatial relations and precious little else.

The spot opens with a man perched on the edge of a skyscraper looking out over an urban landscape. Shirley Temple’s “De Gospel Train” begins to play, and the point of view switches to reveal a crowd running through the streets, towards a heaving pile of people. What follows is an electrifyingly and insanely frenetic set piece stacked with a level of mayhem at which the makers of Grand Theft Auto would marvel. The final shot (which was taken by a helicopter-mounted camera) shows 50 trained extras desperately climbing their way to the top of the Rio Sul Center. As the camera zooms out to a wide shot of the mountain of human bodies, the campaign’s strapline “Fun Anyone?” appears, followed by “PlayStation 2: Play the world online”.

Mountain was nominated for over 40 awards from professional organizations in the advertising and television industries and due in large part to the buzz generated by the commercial, sales for the Playstation 2 during the 2003 Christmas period exceeded expectations. If you consider yourself a fan of Playstation, you really have an obligation to see it and witness what has a legitimate claim of being one of the best video game commercials ever made.

Mountain wasn’t the only commercial Frank Budgen directed for Sony, he was also responsible for the making of Double Life, a 60-second long ad conceived and written by copywriter James Sinclair, art director, Ed Morris and Trevor Beattie.

Double Life begins with a shot of a young man walking through a crowded city street, speaking the lines “For years, I’ve lived a double life. In the day, I do my job, I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi, but at night I live a life of exhilaration.” It then launches into a quick succession of one-liner vignettes about how gamers turn to gaming to escape the reality of their mundane everyday lives.

Double Life showcased Budgen’s eye for casting unknown actors and getting great performances out of each of them. It also deftly captured the essence of gaming along with the range of situations and emotions someone can experience while playing a great game. It got to the heart of what gaming is all about and showed the Playstation to be a place where gamers come from all walks of life, from all around the world, with the only true common denominator being their love and enthusiasm for Playstation. From the sheer caliber of the script, sound design, voice-over, camerawork, art direction and striking use of color, Double Life demands your attention like few other video game ads have.

When Double Life debuted in 1999, it was widely heralded as a masterpiece and credited as the first and truest example of modern “pull vs. push game marketing in motion”. The ad was groundbreaking, to say the least, and even after all these years, Double Life remains unrivaled.

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and the NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as the Sound On Sight and Sordid Cinema shows. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Andrew Paul Vandersteen

    April 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    a lot better then those dang PS3 commercials. Those things gave me nightmares.

    • Ricky D

      April 20, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      The PS3 had the worst marketing among the four consoles.

  2. John Cal McCormick

    April 21, 2017 at 7:48 am

    One of the things PlayStation are traditionally very good at is marketing. Xbox has always been lovably lame at promoting their own stuff, and Nintendo hit as many home runs as they do strike out, but PlayStation, if nothing else, generally do a good job at advertisements and making their product look cool. That’s a huge part of why they ended up successful – the original PlayStation was miles ahead of the competition in marketing.

    That said, like others have commented, the PS3-era was an absolute shitshow in that regard. They’re back on point now with PS4 but something mental happened during that last generation where they totally lost the plot.

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‘Shenmue III’ Gamescom Trailer Details a Day in the Life of Ryo

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The original Shenmue games pioneered the open world genre, in part through their inclusion of many different minigames and side activities. The Kickstarter-funded Shenmue III looks to continue that legacy, as developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver have debuted a new trailer at Gamescom 2019 entitled “A Day in Shenmue.”

The developers provided the following description of the trailer via their latest Kickstarter update: “Exploring the town, playing minigames and battling! We hope it feels just how a Shenmue day should!” Sure enough, the footage showcases the series protagonist Ryo participating in a number of minigames, such as a boxing game and a pachinko machine. The end of the trailer also includes a good look at the series’ signature kung fu combat.

Beyond the new trailer, the Kickstarter update also noted that Yu Suzuki, the famed creator of Shenmue, will be present at Gamescom for autograph signings.

After numerous delays, Shenmue III will finally launch on November 19, 2019 for PS4 and PC via the Epic Games Store.

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‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Ramps Up Its Roster With The Kombat Pack

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Our favourite brutal and bloody fighting game series Mortal Kombat is back with a new announcement surrounding brand new characters that will be joining the fight in the latest instalment of the franchise, Mortal Kombat 11.

During Gamescom 2019, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios introduced the Kombat Pack via an official reveal trailer. The Kombat Pack will feature six new fighters who will be introduced to the game over the next six months. Shang Tsung and Nightwolf are the latest additions who have already been released but the trailer also shows off four new and exciting additions to the world of Mortal Kombat.

The first up will be the Terminator T-800 who will be released on October 8th 2019 to coincide with the October release of the next Terminator film, Terminator: Dark Fate.  The trailer shows that the character model features the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger rather than just going for the Terminator style metallic endoskeleton. This is an interesting choice that leads to an incredibly impressive character model of Arnie. I’m really hoping that he will start to decay into his metal form as he is beaten down in the game but only time will tell.

The next release will be well known Mortal Kombat character Sindel, whose appearance fans have been waiting for after she was confirmed to be coming to the game in late May. Sindel will join the fight on November 26th, 2019.

The next character is another interesting one: DC comics top villain Joker. Joker is a pop culture icon who is no stranger to fighting games so his inclusion isn’t that much of a surprise. His physical appearance is somewhat unexpected however. He seems quite young and dashing, not what is typically expected when one thinks of the Joker. It is always fun to see unique interpretations of well known characters so hopefully the Joker will not disappoint when he becomes playable. This won’t be for a while though as he isn’t slated for release until January 28th, 2020.

The final character from the Kombat Pack will be Spawn from Todd McFarlane’s comic book of the same name. McFarlane already suggested that Spawn would be joining the game way back in December 2018 before Mortal Kombat 11 was even released, so this one isn’t much of surprise. The release date for Spawn is the furthest, coming to the game on March 17th,2020.

One fighter not mentioned is Ash from the Evil Dead, who has been being teased for sometime.His lack of inclusion here doesn’t rule him out of the game just yet. Here’s hoping that on top of the Kombat Pack, we will also get a few extra fighters here and there over the next few months.

The Kombat Pack will be $39.99 (those who purchased the premium edition of the game for $99.99 will have access to this content once it becomes available) to get all six fighters, one-week early access and various skins and gear sets. The DLC fighters as well as the skins and gear will all be available for anyone to purchase following the one –week period of early access.

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Limited Edition ‘Twin Peaks’ Box Set Includes a Whopping 21-Discs

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Next year marks 30 years since David Lynch and Mark Frost changed television forever with their groundbreaking series Twin Peaks and to celebrate they are releasing a new, exhaustive box set which collects all of the pieces of Lynch’s quintessential mystery thriller and packs it into a whopping 21 disks.

The set, available only on Blu-ray, includes all three television seasons and the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me, as well as the film’s deleted scenes (The Missing Pieces). It also includes new interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, unedited versions of several musical performances, and so much more!

If that’s not enough, there will also be a special 4K UHD disc included in the set, containing a new ultra-high def transfer overseen by David Lynch of both the American and international versions of the 1990 Twin Peaks pilot, as well as “Part 8” of A Limited Event Series, titled “Gotta Light?” The set will also include all existing special features from the previous releases of Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery and Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series.

If you’re not salivating yet, it should also be mentioned that Lynch has confirmed the addition of 20 hours of additional features for die-hard Lynch fans to delve into.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set

Last but not least, the collection comes in a beautiful box which the official press release says, once opened, a depiction of the infamous Red Room is revealed with its brown and crème chevron floor and brilliant red curtains. Sitting in front of the red curtain will be an exclusive die-cut acrylic figure of Laura Palmer kissing Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Fans who can’t afford the set will be able to purchase a more standard collection on Blu-ray and DVD, titled Twin Peaks: The Television Collection which will be released on October 15.

The From Z to A set costs $139.99 and is available for pre-order here. The Blu-ray TV collection costs $91.01, and the DVD TV collection costs $50.99.

While your waiting for your set to arrive, be sure to check out our insanely popular Twin Peaks podcast, The Lodgers, hosted by Simon Howell and Kate Rennebohm.

From Z to A Twin Peaks Box Set
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‘Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’ Trailer Reveals New Monsters and More!

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I’m guessing we are not alone in choosing Monster Hunter World as one of the best games of 2018. In our review, Matthew Ponthier wrote, “Monster Hunter World is a hallmark entry into the storied franchise and is a title that will light a fire in the belly of any triumphant Hunter”.

And so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise either that we are hotly anticipating Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, the massive expansion to Capcom’s best-selling game to date. The latest trailer revealed this week during Gamescom 2019 gives a glimpse of returning and new monsters, including a closer look at Velkhana, the mysterious Elder Dragon that’s new to the series. Additionally, new options will be available to help players progress through the main World game and further encourage existing players to aid other hunters in the community.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Iceborne will include a multitude of new monsters and subspecies for hunters to challenge, and now, two more have been confirmed to join the upcoming massive expansion’s lineup. The brute wyvern Brachydios is a returning fan-favorite known for its explosive slime attacks, while Namielle, a mysterious all-new Elder Dragon, unleashes powerful water-based attacks. More details about the new flagship monster Velkhana have also emerged. This Elder Dragon’s icy breath can cause frozen pillars to form on the battlefield, which hunters can use to create exciting opportunities for new hunting strategies.

 A free Guardian Armor set will be provided to all hunters, both World and Iceborne, as part of an upcoming title update on September 4 in time for the launch of the expansion. This upgradable armor set offers increased defense and skills that help hunters survive in the New World. The buffed armor can be equipped from the beginning of the World game, and is especially geared towards newer hunters to help them progress through the main story.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Last but not least, there will be another gameplay feature new to the series that focuses on Low Rank and High Rank player assistance by creating a further incentive for the community to help fellow hunters. Helpful players will get rewarded with exclusive in-game Pendants and Trophies for assisting other hunters in ranks below their own.

The upcoming Iceborne expansion will be coming to the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, globally on September 6th, 2019, with a PC release to follow in January 2020.

Watch the trailer below.

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‘Control’ Launch Trailer Cranks Up The Crazy

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With the release date of Control fast approaching, a new launch trailer has been revealed during Gamescom 2019 in Cologne, Germany.

Remedy continues its trend of creating games with mind bending and bizarre realities with Control, a third person action game set in a world where supernatural forces are present. The otherworldly entities take over a government facility in New York tasked with containing supernatural threats known as the Federal Bureau of Control. The player takes on the role of Jesse Faden, the new Director of the Bureau, who has her own personal mission as she sets about finding her brother who was taken by the Bureau when they were children. The trailer shows Jesse as she wanders through the Bureau, set appropriately to Ruelle’s “Madness” as she falls through various dimensions and realities. Jesse has her own powers for the player to play around with as well as a weapon known as the Service Weapon, a supernatural firearm that can transform and change to the wielders will. We get a good look at the Service Weapon in the launch trailer and it looks like a particularly interesting element that make for intriguing shooting mechanics.

To celebrate the games launch, 505 Games will be hosting a charity stream in aid of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, a research hospital for various diseases and cancers affecting children. The stream will run from 8am to 4pm PDT on August 27th. It’s all to raise money for a brilliant cause so to check it out and to donate, go to the link here. Control will also be coming to PAX West next weekend from August 30th to September 2nd, so make sure to check it out if you’re attending.

Control will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows via the Epic Store on August 27th, 2019.

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Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

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