Biggies vs. boutiques in online street fight

Last week we briefly mentioned Young Guns vs. Old Ones, the advergame in which you control five of the ad industry’s more fleet-footed agencies (Wieden + Kennedy, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Naked, Mother and StrawberryFrog) in a battle against five of its graying, arthritic behemoths (WPP, Dentsu, Omnicom, Publicis and Interpublic). I finally got around to playing the game this morning, and while the scoring system and animation are crude (one of the teenage-looking boutique guys has what looks like a giant red mohawk), it’s cathartic to see the biggies-vs.-boutiques debate brought down to the level of a street fight. True to life, the Young Guns derive their strength mostly from new-media weapons—they have 75 word-of-mouth and Internet “missiles” to lob at the holding-company drones, but only five print ads and two TV spots. (Weirdly, though, the print and TV are more powerful, killing three suits at a time. Surely WOMMA and the IAB will demand a recount.) The best part of the game might be the individual fistfights that occur when characters from both sides converge. Inevitably, when the cloud of dust clears, the holding-company guy is always standing proudly, having kicked the snot out of the boutique guy. I guess that’s what they mean by clout.

—Posted by Tim Nudd