I’m sure GAME (hereafter ‘Game’: the capitals thing for Game seems pretentious) thought organising a miniature convention for gamers in Australia was a good idea. I can even imagine the original pitch.
Exec #1: “Hey, couldn’t we make a LOT of money by hosting an event for gamers to turn up and swap games with each other? Huh huh, ho, heeee, hey guys, we could even do it in a sort of mock ‘speed dating’ style for some reason known only to me: Exec #1. Wouldn’t that be neato?”
Read on if the curiosity is too much to bear, but be forewarned there’s discussion of corporate stupidity and at least one use of the word ‘privates’.
Exec #2: “I guess, I mean, the gaming aspect appeals to me as an employee of Game’s marketing division, but what’s all this about, what, speed dating, was it?”
Exec #1: “Oh yeah, I think we can really push this thing as a speed dating event for gamers and when they get there they can trade their games and what have you, you know, if they still want to…”
Exec #2: “If they still want to?”
Exec #1: “Yeah, if they’ve not pulled or whatever.”
Exec #2: “Tell you what, yeah, let’s look into it but not focus too strongly on the whole dating aspect of a gaming convention and maybe concentrate on the gaming aspect of it. Let’s run with that shall we?”
Exec #1: “Cool, suits me, though I should mention I’ve prepared a logo for the event, advertised it, booked the venue and sold several hundred tickets already. I did it before I came in, and even part of it while you were speaking just now.”
Exec #2: “Serves me right, it’s not the first time you’ve done it. Fine, let me see your logo so I can go home and go to sleep and get prepared for how this is going to go down in the media…”
And so, fictional Executive Number One reveals to his equally fictional (but, I think, easily more sympathetic) companion the logo below.
I can see what went wrong here.
For a start, the word ‘swinging’ carries with it a particularly sensitive set of connotations, including but not limited to consensual adultery and most readily associated with therewith. ‘Speed dating’, on the whole, sounds an awful lot more like turning up to an event to meet likeminded souls on the lookout for love and less like a gathering for future-divorcees to share keys, drinks, peanuts and a whole lot of other things including but not limited to venereal disease.
So there’s that.
Then there’s the vaguely intimidating logo. For some reason that particular shade of neon pink never fails to make me think I’m watching a Motley Crue video, not least of all when accompanied by the silhouettes of presumably clothed crouching men and blatantly naked young ladies at whom ogling is condoned and, obviously, encouraged.
So there’s that.
And then there’s that tagline. “Play ’em then trade ’em”. Now, considering the sadly-still predominantly masculine identity of the adult gaming community, the shade of pink, the brazenly naked female effigy and the general creepiness of the whole image, you’d think “play ’em (a phrase with a particularly sensitive set of conn…oh, you get the idea) and trade ’em” would be a really, really bad idea to go with. It champions several unsavoury ideologies on the behalf of a community less often loved by the media already, paints Game in a negative light and ticks a whole lotta boxes on the list headed ‘Things Not To Do’.
So, yeah, there’s alla those.
And of course the fact that event wasn’t designed, primarily, for the purposes of dating. It was for gamers to come and swap games, not lecherous sorts to come and swap lads, ladies and the less mentionable. Surely the trace notion of the prospect of meeting like-minded sorts of the opposite gender (or the same gender, not that there’s anything wrong with that) applies to any congregation, but the idea presents itself that most people to whom this event was directly marketed would have gone there to find that digipak copy of ICO they’ve been after for years and years and years.
So that’s alright, right? I mean, you’d think ‘no harm done’ presented this set of circumstances alone, wouldn’t you? WOULDN’T YOU? It’s not like, in addition to sadly-still predominantly masculine identity of the adult gaming community, the shade of pink, the brazenly naked female effigy and the general creepiness of the whole image that Game hired prostitutes (call it escorting if you want dearies, you’ll still end up escorting them to your privates) and strippers to promote the whole thing to a crowd of bewildered potential game-traders and at least a few trouser-following (and ultimately vindicated) Australian horndogs. Right? It’s not like that, surely.
Except that’s exactly what happened.
Don’t take my word for it. Straight from the horse’s mouth:
“We’re a pretty youngish company, most of us are pretty young. We’re just chatting through what gamers like to do and what we could do to make gaming a bit more of an event. A bit more fun.”
You’re not chatting about what I like to do, you cretin.
“Trading is about not committing to any one game, so we looked at what happens to our customers were and it strikes that 18 to 25 year olds are pretty uncommitted when it comes to the opposite sex. You combine the two and you have game swinging.”
No. You. Don’t.
“The idea being that you trade your games, you trade your partners and have a great night doing it as well.”
Again, this is but a fleck of salty lies in the grand desert of truth. A turd of falsehood dropped steaming upon the porcelain glory of God’s own toilet. I cannot stress how much more I respect all horses in the history of creation than Paul Yardley, smith of these words and brainfather of Game Swinging.
Needless to say, complaints flooded the company and the planned pair of future events have been cancelled. A novel idea for gaming, which may have appealed to a niche audience had it been handled properly, shot to blazes* on the whim of a reprehensible company figurehead who’d be better off running a strip club, or into speeding traffic.
[Source: the Internet]
For more misappropriated anger at hardly deserving subjects, check out Rambleast at your own risk.
*An excellent phrase I aim to reclaim for people my age.