Outpunned And Outgunned: AdvertCity

Faced with a title like AdvertCity, I have to concede defeat, pop the cap back on my best punning pen and call it a day. It’s strong work and there’s an intriguing slice of game hiding between the delicious word-layers. Originally released as part of the Cyberpunk Jam, AdvertCity is a strategy game that plays out like a more realistic version of Syndicate. Instead of taking over a city by means of miniguns and Persuadertrons, the corporations of AdvertCity utilise billboards and advertising blimps. I suppose it could be argued that advertisements are a low-tech form of the Persuadertron but BLIMPS. Observe.

Cities grow procedurally and are affected by the kind of advertising they’re saturated with.

The city will start out small and will grow based on how you choose to advertise. Make it grow by advertising for the housing and construction megacorps , make your money and keep them happy by selling music, booze and other… entertainments. As you gain reputation with the megacorps they’ll give you access to an ever larger arsenal of advertising techniques with which to sway the masses.

You can switch your perspective between meatspace and cyberspace at any time. The aesthetic of the physical city is a permanently-dusky neo-noir inspired by everything from Blade Runner to Dark City. The digital space is a bright neon retro-vector fantasy reminiscent of the Gibson in Hackers or the glimpses of cyberspace in Ghost in the Shell.

The ‘other’ entertainments, so shady and nefarious that they require an ellipsis to introduce them, are probably rambunctious games of Twister and Frederick Hijinx Heavily Fermented Apple Sauce.

VoxelStorm, the team behind the game, are only asking for £1,200 on their Kickstarter page, clearly not having gotten the hang of the whole sinister megacorp thing. Ask for ✂1,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and see what happens.

The low target makes sense though. The prototype is already available (although only to backers) and fully functional. Weekly snapshots will be delivered and the full release is expected in June.


  1. Didden says:

    Edward Bernays would approve.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Edward Bernays was an immensely scary man. Hijacking women’s liberation movements to sell them ciggies was only midway up the evil laugh scale. I am reading about him and his forebears at the moment. Interesting.

      • Didden says:

        I think what is scary is that most people have no idea who he is, and that he was among the top few people to influence western civilisation so utterly profoundly. Today, we are absolutely living in his weird view of humans and the methods he created are still being used day in day out.

  2. c-Row says:

    Advert Rising?

  3. Harlander says:

    Some cool stuff coming out of that Cyberpunk Jam (A(s)century was great), but I despair of finding the time to trawl through all of it to pick up the good bits.

    It’s also interesting how many people made the “cyberpunk -> falling off tall buildings” connection

  4. The First Door says:

    Ah, it reminds me of the ace ARG/Puzzle thing called Perplex City from the people who now do Moshi Monsters. I always loved that pun.

  5. Low Life says:

    That would be a lot of scissors.

  6. Simon_Scott says:

    Are they using the city generator that was developed for Subversion? It does look similar.

  7. RedViv says:

    Cyberpunk city sim: done.
    Now I shall sit down and patiently wait for a fusion of Majesty and My Life as a King, which should appear somewhere any day now.

  8. Zekiel says:

    Am I allowed to be cynical and ask what they are proposing to do with £1,200? That barely pays one person for one month, which just makes me think that its an arbitrary limit in order to get a Kickstarter presence for free advertising.

    On the other hand – maybe I shouldn’t gripe about that. It certainly looks like an interesting concept.

    • melnificent says:

      I see it as being 1,200 times more honest than penny arcades kickstarter.

    • Norgg says:

      Hey, yeah, it isn’t the biggest amount in the world, but it’s enough to keep us going for a couple months at least since we’re a small team not living in London. We’re confident we can get everything wrapped up in that time. Of course it’s great to have the coverage too, but the money really will keep us fed.

      • Zekiel says:

        Thanks for the response. Delighted to see you’re way over the £1,200 already!

  9. Solidstate89 says:

    They had me at Dark City influence. I love that movie.

    Yes, I’d agree that Blade Runner is better, but Dark City is such a cult classic – it’s amazing the number of people who haven’t seen it.

  10. melnificent says:

    Dark City, excellent film to be influenced by.
    Does this mean everyone falls asleep and they get their memories altered?

  11. HighlordKiwi says:

    I seemed to automatically read ‘Advert’ as ‘Ad’ so it took me a while to get the pun. Very odd that.

  12. Simon_Scott says:

    Also reminded me of this, a little. An episode of Out Of The Unknown called Tunnel Under The World.

  13. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Is this built on the same tech as Tesco’s Simulator VR 2014?