An increasing trend in video games is featuring brand product placement in the game design itself. Mackie is one of the first non-guitar brands familiar to readers of this site to show up in a game, with prominent Mackie PAs appearing in Guitar Hero III. (See comments: the Guitar Hero franchise apparently loves licensed brands.) Unfortunately, they’ve got some stiff competition: Guitar Hero’s original creators, Harmonix (now owned by MTV), have licensed the Fender Stratocaster design not only for in-game graphics but the guitar controller in their upcoming Rock Band. Weirdly-oversized Mackie graphics on the PAs just doesn’t match up somehow, much as I love Mackie. (Cooler would have been something less obvious, like, I don’t know, a Korg OASYS showing up in the post-apocalyptic world of Bioshock. Wait for a CDM mod of Unreal, I guess.)

I can imagine Music Technology: The Game, however. Fight the clock as you struggle to make weird MIDI controller messages match up with the jog function in your software! Discover realms of mystery and ancient puzzles as you struggle to decipher — the manual! Stare down a horde of vampire zombies carrying drivers incompatible with Windows Vista!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Mackie in Guitar Hero III

Mackie in Guitar Hero III

  • The Guitar Hero games have always had prominent branding. The first guitar was a Gibson SG, and the amps were (I believe) by Orange.

    Somewhere in there, they also added Line 6, Kustom, and a bunch of others.

  • Ah, thanks!

    Still, nothing beats that Fender controller, I think. Having played the drums, I think you can just add your own imagination on that.

  • Chris

    Just saw an ad for the new version. It's a little hard to tell, it's only up there for a few frames, but it looks like the the amps are Crate.

  • robbneu

    The amps and gear change from "level" to level, based on how well you're doing. So, for a while your stage is covered with Crate stuff, then Line 6, then Mackie, etc. It *is* exaggerated and goofy, but then that's kind of the art director for the entire game. The lead singer, for example, looks like he could swallow his own head in one gulp, thanks to his enormous mouth and jaw.

    That aside, it kind of fits the game pretty well. The only "endorsement" that seemed wildly out of place, that I've seen so far, is Pontiac sponsoring your band's video shoot. So, there's Pontiac stuff all over that level. I would expect to see gear pedals that have Line 6 on them, amps that have familiar logos, etc in a game about making music, but the car stuff was just too much. That's in GHIII, for those of you who are curious.

    Yes… yes… I'm a terrible nerd.

  • bliss

    The corporate marketing machine knows no bounds. Pretty soon, if it hasn't happened already, there will be commercial breaks in video games that are designed to look like play action. Anyway, boo, I hate that product placement crap. Even if it's (believe it or not) Porsches in driving games or BMWs in Bond films. Distracting and depressing, i.e., "Buy me! Buy me!" and "You can't afford it. You can't afford it." Plus, you're not Bond. And then there's a moment where Wheaties are on the breakfast table or Budweiser and Lays potato chips are on the coffee table with Monday Night Football on. Grrr.

  • Also, is that burning man, from burning man in the first picture or what?

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