The slightly defaced ad for Bethesda's fall shooter Rogue Warrior, photographed by me at my local subway exit near Kotaku's NYC branch office, had one feature that turned my head: The two small words in red.
The two words are a name, a name that was not immediately familiar to me. "Dick Marcinko."
When I saw them, I should have remembered our Brian Crecente's preview of Rogue Warrior from April. In it, he confirmed what the appearance of those two words implied to me: That you place a name like that on an ad, right above the logo, if you want whoever sees the ad to think the name there belongs to a real person.
From Crecente's preview:
Marcinko enlisted in the Navy in 1958, transferred to SEAL Team Two in 1966 where he served two tours in Vietnam. In the late 70s he became the first commanding officer of SEAL Team Six, the US Navy's premier counter-terrorist unit. In the 80s he formed Red Cell, which was tasked with testing the security of naval bases, nuclear subs, ships, civilian airports and embassies.
In 1992 he wrote his autobiography, Rogue Warrior, which went on to become a New York Times best seller.
[Bethesda's Pete] Hines says that the game is meant to be about what Marcinko is doing and who he is and points out that the books Marcinko writes are about 20 percent truth and 80 percent BS, which is, Hines says, Marcinko's personality.
The game is sort of based on all that. A search of the Internet produced plenty more on the real Marcinko, who you could start reading about on the man's official site.
I don't know how much Rogue Warrior is based on the real Marcinko, nor how much of Marcinko's writings, which began as non-fiction and have spawned a line of novels, are based on real events. But what arrested my eyes was the portrayal of a game, via an ad, as if it was based on someone real. It lends a different sense of reality or seeming-reality to games, a medium I've almost only ever seen advertised as a form of pure fiction.