Get the Body You Deserve

Rule #1 of Zombieland: Cardio. Exercise is the main component to staying alive once the world ends and the dead start to rise and feed on those that survived the event. Whether you’re being chased down by a pack of ravenous zombies or fleeing from a corrupt group of survivors, it is essential to have built up your cardiovascular and muscular strength in order to prepare for whatever life in Zombieland has to throw at you…unless, of course, you’re this guy.

Dead Island 2 is a video game that premiers this year on a variety of consoles and platforms. It is an open-world gaming experience. This means that instead of having a main story that the gamer is forced to play through in a linear fashion, the gamer gets to walk around the world and engage and interact with the people, environments, and objects in whatever way they want. While the game itself lends itself naturally to the creation of story-telling through this open-world format, the advertisement presented above also serves to highlight this aspect of gaming by presenting us with one person’s viewpoint within this fictional world.

Since this is a digital story with the intent to market a product to its audience, I will be engaging this critique with traits that I feel work well in assessing a piece of persuasive story-telling.

Trait Description of Trait Succeeds Fails to Capture
Met assignment criteria? Length, number of elements, audience consideration (poem vs. essay) etc.? Considering that this video was produced as a way to advertise the video game Dead Island 2, the criteria for engaging their intended audience would have to include the following: a compelling reason for the audience to want to buy the game, a way to tell/sell their story in 3 minutes or less, a brief description of the game highlights, a sneak peak of game play, and their branding. In terms of giving the audience a reason to want to buy the game, this story takes this criteria marker and excels at it greatly. Most video game advertisements are presented as quick snippets of video game walkthroughs or highlights of in-game features with a generic voiceover announcer. This particular ad, instead, takes into account that consumers of the zombie genre need more than that; they need a story. In 3 minutes and 14 seconds we are presented with the perspective of a young, fit, cocky, and oblivious man that quickly goes from living in the normal world that we all know to suddenly jogging through a maze of zombies. Here, the use of humor was effectively used to highlight the downfalls of a person with these types of strong personality types especially in a situation such as this. This humor also plays to the majority of their audience (video gamers) who are most likely quite opposite in personality of this character. At the same time, we also get a sense of this new macabre world of gore and violence. The story also serves to highlight a few of the game’s playable features (such as weapon choices and environments), but not many. It leaves a little mystery behind about what the game will actually be like to play, since this aspect is not once shown, which keeps the audience curious enough to want to buy the game to find out. We, as the audience, are then given the game information at the end to make this final decision about purchase. This trait does not fail to capture this particular trait, because this trait works well to assess a piece of marketing media. In order to convince an audience to purchase a product, there a few key criteria necessary to engage the audience in this fashion. In my opinion, it is perfectly fine to assess a story such as this by this success criteria.
Flow, organization and pacing Was the story well organized? Did it flow well, moving from part to part without bumps or disorientation, as described in Part III? This story was well organized in every sense. In 3 minutes and 14 seconds we are presented with enough snippets of visual information to keep the story understandable yet move it along in a timely fashion. The story scene is automatically set from the get-go when we are introduced to this man by seeing each part of his body and getting a sense of his intense fitness guru personality. Immediately he takes off running to an upbeat song about being “the bomb,” which we can automatically assume shows off his self-confidence level. Quickly we realize another connection to this idea of being “the bomb” in that he has been bitten and he is a ticking time bomb of zombie conversion. Within seconds of his jogging, we see the breakdown of his world around him and how it has no effect on him. Quite rapidly, it all catches up to him and we finally see how it directly affects him from a first-person perspective – allowing the audience to finally have empathy for his situation. The scene ends with his death, as a survivor is seen running him over with a vehicle and taking his shoes. We are then left with the irony of the billboard that becomes revealed once the vehicle takes off. The dead jogger is seen portrayed as a personal trainer with the tagline “Get the body you deserve.” This is another bit of humor that also helps us to come full circle from the start of the story, providing us some context for who this man was and leaving us with a lasting impression that his cockiness helped him to deserve the body he got – that of a decomposing zombie. This trait does not fail to capture this story, because in an advertisement such as this it is imperative to have timelines while communicating its point of view.
Originality, voice, creativity How creative was the production? Did the student exhibit an original sense of voice and a fresh perspective? This story had a very original perspective on the apocalypse. The story starts off in a generic way of showcasing the beginning of the end of the world – the typical downfall of humanity through poor choices. However, instead of spelling these facts out from the perspective of one character, we are invited to witness these events happen around our main character in the background. Not only do we get a sense of the violence during these scenes, but we also get a taste of the humanity of it all. One minute these people are fine and going about life, and the next they are zombie bait. The production also brings a new aspect to the zombie genre: humor. Many of the constructed scenes have a touch of irony to them, such as the billboard about getting the body you deserve, or the guy excited to take new shoes off of a dead and decomposed body. This trait fails to capture this story in that originality in voice can sometimes be misinterpreted to mean “completely new” or “never been seen before.” However, this production does a wonderful job of showing us the standard breakdown of society in a zombie event while also adding its own style of subtle humorous story-telling to the mix. In my opinion, taking something that has been done before and giving it just enough of a unique twist should classify the story as having a fresh perspective.

If there was anything about this advertising story that I think should be changed it might be the shifting of perspective that happens throughout the game. We start at third person observing and trying to understand who this man is. Half-way through we transition to first-person and witness the changes that his body is going through from his eyes. Then at the end, we switch back to third person to see him become a zombie, get hit by a vehicle, and get his shoes stolen by a survivor. To me, the switch wasn’t very necessary in helping me to understand the story or the character. From my point of view, it actually had the opposite effect of not letting me empathize as much as I could have with him, because I wasn’t able to see his facial features during his zombie transition. However, maybe this was the intent, because, after all, in the end we see him get “the body that he deserved” from his cocky behaviors in the story.

#ds106 #INTE4350

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One thought on “Get the Body You Deserve

  1. Hi Stephanie,
    Well, I guess I don’t need to ask you if you’re a fan of the Walking dead?! We’re fans here…can’t wait for the new season to start up soon. I think the most intriguing thing to me about the WD and zombie stories in general is the “what if” factor you mention in your opening paragraph. There are surprisingly deep questions concerning the corrupt people groups that chase others for limited resources. Some ideas make us uncomfortable to think about, like what roles we would play in a group, would we form lasting relationships, would we plunder and steal….it makes for an interesting storyline. I like the idea of an open world Zombie game (haven’t seen that). I did watch the cinematic trailer of Dead Island 2 and it did seem shallow like you said in your critique and also played more like a zombie music video, which made me giggle. And I’m from CA and the boardwalk looked familiar so it seemed more comical to me. Nice review of this game, you were very detailed on many aspects of the plot as well as the gameplay.

    Like

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