Best of 2012 – The Pungent Stench of Commercialism

Voted for by Ed, Ric, and Tania

Somewhere along the way, the world changed. Changes within society are, more often than not, natural shifts in our evolutionary process that allow us to progress as a race to the point where we settle in to another form of acceptance until the next great shake-up takes hold and threatens to knock the more discerning of us off the shelf while others fall silently into their designated holes. The point where society rolled up its trousers and waded into the trash-ridden waters of blinkered mediocrity can likely be traced back to Hollywood’s heyday between the 1920s and 1960s where certain people transcended the term “actor” and took their place under the newly opened umbrella of “screen idol”.

From such a small, almost insignificant, move came an incredible ripple effect whereby the press no longer focused on real news such as killings, war, famine or rape, and shifted its attention away to the saccharine world of non-entities being heralded as royalty. Our collective term for this diseased horde: celebrity.

No longer did we require that someone pay their dues by treading the boards in local theatre, working up from the position of swing through to the lead role, stepping on to the silver screen as a bit actor until finally reaching that point where they were able to command fees the likes of which we could only dream about. Unless we’re Han Solo, of course. Now, the only pre-requisite for Celebrity is that they’ve embarrassed their entire family by cavorting around a sealed-off house in an effort to avoid eviction, flashed their undercarriage as they step out of a cheap limo en route to an expensive club, or managed to string the words “I” and “do” together whilst standing shoulder to shoulder to a mono-browed neanderthal footballer.

The pedestal on which we place these people affords them the right to take part in panel shows, talking head list shows such as “Top 100 Celebrity Meltdowns” (most of whom also feature in said list), appear on a myriad of tacky calendars and, worst of all, allows them to stink up confined spaces as the braindead masses bathe themselves in whatever latest fragrance has been endorsed by these overpaid idiots.

My first “celebrity meltdown” came as I walked silently into town one day, admiring the butterflies as they danced from flower to flower, throwing the occasional smile to one of the locals as they allowed themselves to be dragged to the nearest children’s playground by a salivating pitbull, when suddenly my heart died. My eyes, which have been slowly dying over the years thanks to the advent of computers, rested on a bus stop poster depicting everyone’s favourite talking horse advertising the launch of their new fragrance. No, I’m not talking about Mister Ed… I mean Sarah Jessica Parker, attempting to pull off a sultry smile in the hope of pimping out “Stable” or whatever she’d called it, but managing only to look like someone had rammed a glass-encrusted traffic cone up a demented donkey’s arse.

Far be it from me to judge someone on their looks or talent, but this hell-born creature is devoid of both. It isn’t her fault though, and I fully accept that. Somebody somewhere told her that launching her own perfume would be a great way to keep her face and name in the hearts and minds of the amoebic cult who follow her portrayal as Buttercup, or whatever she was called, as she moaned her way through the male population of New York in Sex And The City. Is it not presumptuous, however, to assume that there is a collective who are not only predisposed to wanting to know anything about you, but who actually want to go so far as to smell like your crotch?

Okay, somehow this particular campaign is considerably less offensive to my eyes

It it this, more than anything else, that disturbs me beyond belief. That we’ve reached the point whereby the vomit-stained windows of the local SemiChem are no longer playing host to perfumery giants such as the classy Chanel, the timeless Nina Ricci or even the alcoholic school teachers’ favourite, Cacharel. Instead, we’re subjected to fragrances from Katie Price (which apparently had to be recalled as the top kept falling off), David and Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss (comes in powder form – just add water), Coleen Rooney (one of her job descriptions is actually “celebrity product endorser”) and even Avril Fucking Lavigne has clawed her way out of the Burnout Paradise soundtrack and on to the shelves with some attempt at bottling pond water, named “Skank” or something like that.

Where do we draw the line though? With people such as Paris Hilton and Coleen Rooney who, let’s face it, have absolutely nothing going for them were it not for nepotism, stamping their names on a shiny box with enough followers to make sure their products find their way into at least one christmas stocking per street this year… how long before we in the gaming industry cross that line to downright absurdity? Perhaps in a few years, the publishers will look to this sweet-smelling corner of the market for additional revenue and our bathroom cabinets will be graced by the following… (click images for enlargements)

A new fragrance from Laboratoires Fenix.
An earthy aroma that clings to your aura tighter than the bond between father and son, Locust brings a feel good factor that helps see you through the day, regardless of which way your pendulum swings. Originally discovered in a journal found on one of the last remaining brumak farms, the formula for Locust was originally intended to be a pheromone to aid in the underground breeding of the Hollow creatures and, as such, can help even the most unexpected of bromances get off the ground and into the steamy locker room. With just a hint of a lubricant base, Locust will help oil even the most stubborn of COGs so that, when you find yourself in one of those awkward situations, you know that your gear has been kept fresh.

There’ll be no “pew pew pew” comments when you’re bathed in the sweet blend of bladeflower sap and alpha skag saliva. Underdome is that dark place many dream of and few get to enter, unless copious amounts of alcohol have been consumed beforehand, but which delights the senses and sends you into a spiral of ecstasy quicker than you can throw your head back and cry “om nom nom”. Blended by hand in Lockdown Palace to Mr Shanks’ own special recipe, Underdome bridges the gap between sexy and malicious, ensuring instant attraction like a knife to the heart. Next time you’re getting ready for a night in the Badlands, whether you’re after some extra testicular activity or planning on bedding a real doctor, make sure Pandora’s box is smelling sweet with a splash of Underdome.

The aristrocratic female on the go deserves a full-bodied, head-turning fragrance that conveys not only independence and unbridled energy, but a sexy kick to both seduce and titilate. The rounded, buxom scent of Entombed is powerful enough to last any adventurer through jungle or tomb, all the way to daddy’s trust fund ball, with the dusty tones ensuring that the smell of ancient sarcophagi are never far from one’s mind. This pearly liquid, sprayed lightly on the decollatage will steal the senses, ensuring that the most vigorous of unprincipled desecrators remains enshrouded in both mystery and desire. Practically bursting from its packaging, entombed will ensnare and moisten even the most hardened of seductees.

Boldly Gone
As prophesied by the emperor Uriel Septim himself, and released posthumously after his demise by the enterprising imperial merchant, Earl Grey, this reserved fragrance conjures a tapestry of memories from the emperor’s life… minutes worth, in fact. With a deep, musky aroma as robust as the most impractical set of escape robes, this new gentleman’s fragrance is resilient enough to withstand even an arduous trek through the most pungent of sewers. As with all good things, regardless of where time’s arrow may strike, the best of both worlds are catered for with the stately, ancient tones of the fragrance suiting both the gruff, elderly gentleman as well as the younger, sharper men. Boldly Gone blends a lingering scent of death with a hint of weary optimism that will remain long after your final words. Allowing yourself to be pointlessly slaughtered will never be more dignified.

For the discerning agent, there can be few scents which convey both power and elegance more than Silverballer – the new fragrance for the silent, stoic, professional man. The stealthy tones of this fragrance entwine the olfactory nerves like a clean garotte, as smoothly as a sniper round to the flesh, and are possessed of a number of metallic notes reminiscent of a sharp blade. The musky undertones of Silverballer deliver the sweet oblivion only a syringe of poison could ever hope to convey, ensuring that, when you’re dressed to kill, there are fewer more effective choices.

Arriving in beautifully executed packaging, let Silverballer be the last thing to tease your victims’ senses.

Until such times as the gaming industry takes a nose dive into the pool of licensed fragrances, jumping several sharks along the way, we only have to put up with the other aspects of over-commercialism that are already prevalent such as paying exorbitant amounts of our hard-earned cash to unlock weapons that are already part of the game, buying virtual lightsabres for virtual non-likenesses and shelling out forty quid for a digital download through Games On Demand when we could easily buy a boxed copy for half the amount. It is sad to say that our beloved industry is slowly becoming more about the money made from the games than the games themselves, and publishers don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon either.

How long, though, before we’re splashing Locust on our balls or heading for a night out on the town smelling of whatever concoction the publisher has deemed worthy of sporting their precious brand? Hopefully, not before I’ve gone the way of the Dreamcast.

Special thanks to Lorna for Entombed, Boldly Gone and Silverballer concepts and descriptions.
The almost-rans were Animusk, Shepard’s Bush and Mirelust.

Last five articles by Mark R


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