Trials Confusion: Erik Estrada is Lying About One of Our Favorite Games


There are basically two types of advertisements out there: the ones that explain why you should buy a product, and the ones that distract you from the reasons why you might choose not to.  Sharks don’t have a lot to do with deodorant, but I have definitely seen them used to sell it.  “Trying to decide on a deodorant brand? Choose this one. Why? I don’t know. Because, sharks… Screw it.”  In reality there are very few differences between any of the deodorants on the market, so the messages are not usually centered on merit.  Even if the Shark Stick were clinically proven to insert nonsense here, how much trust could we really place in the scientists at the Deodorant Differentiation Clinic?  If that clinic exists, it can’t be the first place those scientists applied.  It might actually be the last.  So, advertisers turn to sharks, and sharks sell.

The ads for Trials Fusion take more or less the same approach.  Just like the advertisers in the above example falsely use sharks to sell deodorant, Ubisoft is falsely using motocross to sell Trials.  For those not familiar with the series, this may be a little confusing.  Let me catch you up.  Although there is a motocross guy on the front of the game, and the gameplay involves navigating said motocross guy through various motocross tracks, the game actually has almost nothing to do with motocross.  For the uninitiated, this is a hard point to follow, but marketing the game to motocross fans should actually be seen as deceptive.  I have prepared the following Venn diagram to illustrate this point:


Trials Fusion is a motocross game which has almost nothing to do with motocross.

Trials Fusion is a motocross game which has almost nothing to do with motocross.


Trials Fusion is a great game, which capitalizes upon next gen hardware to deliver an experience that somehow builds upon the already astounding achievements of its predecessors.  It is a ballet of precision and patience, an erotic duel between aggression and finesse, and also a third thing.  It is not wicked, and it is certainly not bitchin’.  If you are all about dope jumps and sweet tricks, the experience will have a short shelf life.  By the time you reach the third world, you will come to find that Trials is an incredibly technical, unapologetically challenging, and often frustrating game which has more to do with timing, physics, and persistence than racing or tricks.  It is a platformer in a motocross t-shirt, a new kid at school taking advantage of conveniently-conceived rumors about his past to score points with the lacrosse bros.


Take a look at this commercial:


I do not fault them for using Erik Estrada, because celebrities have undeniable selling power.  Plus, RedLynx is a Finnish studio, so it is entirely possible that they just got CHiPs.  However, the features Erik touts are not the things that make Trials great, or even the things that make it Trials. An advertisement is kind of like a first date with potential players.  To some extent, we all fudge the books on a first date, but there is a limit to the degree of misrepresentation from which we can reasonably expect to recover.  If you tell your date you like oysters, and you are actually allergic to oysters, you might secure a second date with no real threat to your long-term potential as a couple.  If you tell your date you like fried pickles, and you are actually a cannibal, you just aren’t giving the relationship a shot.

Maybe that is the problem, though.  If they want to establish a long term relationship with new players, then these ads are misguided, but the messaging fits the bill if they just want to get laid (or in this case, paid).  Of course, the exposure is wasted by not pushing the game’s actual strengths.  Trials Fusion is one of my favorite games of the year, and it has a lot to offer players once they understand its achievements.  The Estrada ads suggest a team that is under appreciative of their own accomplishments, needlessly humble to the point of insecurity.  This game does what it sets out to do in as close to a perfect manner as anyone could ask.  The haphazard incorporation of the trick system is actually one of the game’s only real flaws.  It is ironic that the marketers would name it the main source of pride.

If you will excuse me, I am off to attempt a bunny hop 73 times in a row.  Now that’s Trials!


Thomas Shamburger
Thomas is one of the original creators of "What's Jump?" As a lifelong gamer, writer, and comedian, his goal is to provide readers with humorous, entertaining, and thought-provoking perspectives on current gaming news and culture. His early career successes in the business world helped to pave the way for the site's launch in 2012. As the Editor in Chief of "What's Jump?" he combines his passions for gaming, writing, entrepreneurship, and comedy.
Thomas Shamburger
Thomas Shamburger

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