Old Spice’s New Car-Themed Facebook Game Is Absolutely Brilliant
Automorphia, Terry Crews, programmer trolling, and subtext about corporate data-mining.
Old Spice’s patently bizarre, wonderfully irreverent ad campaigns are the stuff of legend. The long-neglected Procter & Gamble subsidy game back with a vengeance in 2009, riding high off Isaiah Mustafa’s now-classic Super Bowl spot. ("Look down, now look up. Where are you? You're on a boat, with the man your man could smell like.") But, really, the viral campaigns are what made the company a modern marketing bellwether. Old Spice’s latest online gag is an 8-bit stylized Facebook game called YouLand. Within this game, there is a sub-game called MotoFace!
It is exactly what it sounds like. And it's the best.
What makes Motoface! the best isn't the premise, although that's pretty great. Basically, your friends have been kidnapped; to find them, you must dodge traffic and collect car parts, each of which brings you closer to becoming a Car Person. (Think: Hideous, creepy Ferrari 308/C4 Corvette centaur.) Once the transformation is complete, you drive around picking up friends, who then become spoilers on your Car Person. Dodge more traffic. Pick up more friends. Repeat.
But no. What makes Motoface! the best is its painful self-awareness. The game forces you to volunteer an egregious amount of personal information from your Facebook page, then proceeds to throw it back at you throughout each level. The road signs are places you've lived, or currently live. During the cutscenes, pixelated Terry Crews loudly and conspicuously announces your age. Motoface? That's actually your face, taken from your Facebook photo. The friends in distress are your actual friends.
The entire time, you're thinking: Well, this is silly and fun, but as soon as I'm done, I'm uninstalling this thing, because there's no way that anybody, much less a freakin’ deodorant company, should have all this data.
And, after sinking a thoroughly enjoyable hour or two into Motoface!, you can't help but feel like that's the whole point.