standing at the back in my sissy robe

July 26, 2009

Sin to Win!

Filed under: Diversions,UR Doing It Wrong,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:59 pm

Apologies in advance, but this isn’t about WoW. It’s also not about me failing to pull either, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief about that.

Spinks recently drew my attention to EA’s latest marketingfail, in which attendees at this year’s Comicon were invited to take pictures of themselves committing “acts of lust” with the booth babes as part of a promotion for the forthcoming Dante’s Inferno (I mean, a game spuriously connected to Dante’s Inferno, the original having already, err, come). As far as publicity goes, it’s certainly a winner in the “get lots of attention” respect but it is, of course, profoundly offensive on every conceivable level. They have since issued an apology which is so hilariously point-missing that I feel obliged to quote a large chunk of it:

We created this promotion as part of our marketing efforts around the circle of Lust (one of the nine sins/circles of Hell). Each month we will be focusing on a new Circle of Hell. This month is Lust. Costumed reps are a tradition at Comic-Con. In the spirit of both the Circle of Lust and Comic-Con, we are encouraging attendees to Tweet photos of themselves with any of the costumed reps at Comic-Con here, find us on Facebook or via e-mail. “Commit acts of lust” is simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with costumed reps. Also, a “Night of Lust” means only that the winner will receive a chaperoned VIP night on the town with the Dante’s Inferno reps, all expenses paid, as well as other prizes.

Again, I could go into why this is still mind-bogglingly offensive but this gives it too much credit. Let’s concentrate, instead, on the STUPID, which is present in equally generous quantities.

Basically what jumps out at me is this: so you’re doing a series of competitions based on the circles of the Inferno, one per month in fact. You do realise, don’t you EA marketing department, that the circles of Dante’s hell do not quite correspond to the seven deadly sins in the way I suspect you think they do? Um, do you think maybe you should have, perhaps, just perhaps, read The Inferno before you embarked on this doomed endeavour?

With this in mind, M’Pocket Tank and I hereby present our own take on the Sin to Win competition which we hope compensates to some degree for EA with its fidelity to the original text.

Circle 1: Limbo

In order to win, invitees must wear togas and compose epic poetry in dead languages.

Circle 2: Lust

Attendees are invited to perform such SINful acts as marrying for love, getting divorced or fancying someone against their parent’s approval.

Circle 3: Gluttony

Attendees are invited to send photographs of themselves eating in a manner which serves as a metaphor for the politics of 13th century Florence.

Circle 4: The Avaricious and Prodigal

Attendees will be encouraged to waste as much money as possible on useless crap they don’t need. We are currently re-thinking this promotion as it is functionally identical to the normal behaviour of punters at a convention.

Circle 5: The Wrathful and the Sullen

Attendees are invited to perform acts of violence on other members of the convention. We apologise for any misunderstanding this description may have caused. “Acts of violence” is just a tongue-in-cheek way of saying “have your photograph taken with.”

Circle 6: Heretics

Attendees are invited to tweet in support of interpretations of Christian doctrine which deviate from Catholic orthodoxy.

Circle 7: The Violent

Attendees are invited to commit suicide.

Circle 8: Malebolge

In order to win the Malebolge prize, attendees are invited to submit a photograph of themselves engaged in acts of pandering, seduction, flattery, simony, fortune telling, grafting, hypocrisy, theft, evil counselling, sowing of discord and falsification with other convention goers.

Circle 9: Cocytus

Attendees are invited to commit acts of treason.

In the event of fire, attendees are reminded that there is an emergency exit situated between Satan’s buttocks.



  1. “Attendees are invited to send photographs of themselves eating in a manner which serves as a metaphor for the politics of 13th century Florence.”

    I’d like to see that.

    Comment by Liadan — July 27, 2009 @ 1:59 am | Reply

    • As would I! I’d give them a prize myself.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 9:22 am | Reply

  2. If you could post pictures of everything you mention in Circle 8, that would be just lovely.

    Comment by justjillsblog — July 27, 2009 @ 2:38 am | Reply

    • Well, I’m only a minor cleric at the moment but I’m working on the simony…

      Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 9:22 am | Reply

  3. Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    Also death by marketing would be unpleasant.

    Comment by MomentEye — July 27, 2009 @ 4:31 am | Reply

    • Arguably death by marketing would be worse.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 9:22 am | Reply

  4. I think simony would be a great subject for the next competition. We just don’t see enough of that around these days.

    Comment by spinks — July 27, 2009 @ 4:52 am | Reply

    • It’s true. Simony is pretty much my favourite sin in The Inferno, especially because there are, like, only about 3 of them in there so the simony ring must be a pretty dull and quiet place.

      “Hello there, Pope Nicholas III, still hanging upside down, are you? How’s that going?”

      Attendees are invited to become pope and then…

      Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  5. The idea of “booth babes” annoys me to begin with. Is there really more money in pandering to the baser male emotions by using women (in-game and in related affairs; see pretty much every portrayal of the allegedly kickass and fierce female night elves) as advertisement for all sorts of crap, usually as little more than pretty warm meat with some barely-covered holes to piss in — rather than trying to attract more female customers by showing women as something resembling human beings?

    Yeah I’m kind of sensitive to such things. And whoever thinks it’s a compliment to femininity and that anyone who disagrees is a frigid bitch, needs to wake the hell up.

    Comment by Feralan — July 27, 2009 @ 9:05 am | Reply

    • In an interesting Orwellian twist, I believe booth babes are now called Costumed Reps … riiiiight.

      Unfortunately I suspect the answer to your rhetorical question is probably “yes, there is more money in pandering to baser male emotions” because surely otherwise there would be less of it. I might not trust in the the good taste or common sense of big game companies, but I certainly trust in their financial acumen.

      It is genuinely a problem, however. I mean, no wonder we don’t have more female gamers, and I resent the game industry’s perception of me as a sex-starved, clueless and borderline misogynistic adolescent.

      I also feel ambivalent about the female night elves. Yes, they’re designed to a certain aesthetic but plenty of women seem to choose to play them. I think it’s the fact that they do look genuinely strong, as well as sexy, as if they have, in fact, spent their whole life in a forest, running around and climbing trees. And ultimately I’m not about to start telling women what they should find offensive, and what empowers them and what doesn’t. To loop this back to where it began, I personally can’t imagine being a booth babe *cough* costumed rep *cough* is anything like pleasant but who knows? Maybe it pays well enough to be worth it.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 9:43 am | Reply

  6. Gosh, you’re making assumptions. Surely, “booth babes” is a gender neutral term, and EA has thoughtfully provided men with whom to commit acts of lust (surely there are women and gay men in attendance at Comicon who would appreciate the opportunity to molest, uh, I mean, “take pictures with” some of those strapping young men from marketing, no?) Because they surely wouldn’t be suggesting the customers are free to maul their female employees only, and therefore be behaving like misogynistic asshats who fundamentally believe women’s sexuality belongs to men. Right? Right?

    I really don’t think I need any EA games in the immediate future.

    Comment by Kahleena — July 27, 2009 @ 1:49 pm | Reply

    • You’re right, how foolish of me, I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sure the strapping young men from marketing are digging their loinclothes out of the bottom drawer as we speak.

      And there is, I am sure, a matching alternative competition advertisement to the one with the extreme cleavage depicating the same text imprinted upon the bronzed and quivering thews of the aforementioned strapping young man from marketing.

      Thankfully we don’t need any games at all. After all, we play WoW 😉

      Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

      • What a great word, “thews”. I had never heard it before. Thank you for the introduction. Let me guess, you learned it from “Arthas: Rise of the Lich King”? Though probably not, as sea-green thews would just be nasty.

        Comment by Kahleena — July 27, 2009 @ 7:02 pm

      • Thankfully I don’t have Christie Golden to thank for thews (sea-green threws?! Is that gangrene or are you just pleased to see me?). I don’t know what point it entered my vocabulary but I found it most helpful during a viewing of 300. In which case you can observe: “my … what mighty, err, thews they have.”

        Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

  7. […] were still blogging.  Apparently EA is….well, best to just go look at the story (hat tip: Tamarind).  Long and the short of it, as part of their promotion of their game “Inferno”, EA […]

    Pingback by The stupid, it burnsss…. « Fel Deeds Awake! — July 27, 2009 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  8. Simony is making a comeback:

    Comment by Liadan — July 27, 2009 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

    • I’m so glad, I think it’s been sorely neglected these past 400 years.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 27, 2009 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  9. […] splendidly pointing out that they’re slightly missing the point of Dante’s original, quotes part of EA’s apology: “Commit acts of lust” is simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with […]

    Pingback by Killed in a smiling accident. » Blog Archive » What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate — July 28, 2009 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  10. Count me in!!!

    Comment by Joe — July 29, 2009 @ 11:36 am | Reply

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