Yesterday evening, the hashtag “#EmbraceDeath” began trending on Twitter, to the alarm of people who had not heard of the fighting game Samurai Shodown. The grim marketing motto sparked a variety of reactions from baffled non-fighting game fans.
As edgy as“Embrace Death” sounds on its face, the slogan does make sense in context. While Samurai Shodown’s look is not on the level of, say, Mortal Kombat, this weapon-based fighting game series is no stranger to spurting blood, beheadings, and other gory finishers. This, combined with the fact that matches can end in the blink of an eye, is why it makes sense that the developers asked players to “Embrace Death” while playing their game, a marketing campaign that has been utilized since some of the earliest reveals.
The folks behind Samurai Shodown have also worked closely with fighting game players to promote the game before and after its release, a partnership that recently saw legendary competitor Justin Wong open a contest to give away free copies of the game. Naturally, the Twitter contest utilized the “Embrace Death” tagline to further propagate its use, and it was so successful that #EmbraceDeath was at one point trending in the United States, to Wong’s surprise.
While this had the benefit of bringing the contest to the attention of Samurai Shodown fans who may have missed out on Justin’s original tweet, it also placed “Embrace Death” face-to-face with users outside of the fighting game community. Where folks in the know recognized it as another promotional tool for the new game, non-fans were widely confused, and as social media has indoctrinated us all into doing, they shared that confusion with the rest of the world.
Some actually took the hashtag to mean “embrace Death,” a seminal death metal band from the 1980s.
And, as is typical with anything on the internet these days, the hashtag also ended up in MAGA land.
The fighting game community soon noticed this phenomenon, and #EmbraceDeath was again flooded with messages from Samurai Shodown fans amused by what transpired.
At least it seemed to be a pretty successful day for the Samurai Shodown marketing team.
Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.