It all started with this advert:
This lead me on a short, appalling adventure that you can read about after the click.
“If you’ve ever dreamed of having an amazing eco-friendly home”
“Let the journey of building your home begin”
“Don’t miss out on the chance! Build your dream eco-home today!”
Maybe I’m naïve but these phrases seem to imply that I might be rewarded with a house somehow. That’s not just me, right? I assumed this LG advert was promoting some kind of competition where I could win an eco-home. “Don’t miss out on the chance. Build your dream eco-home today”. What was I supposed to think? So I clicked along to the website, undeterred by the distorted face of that seemingly stoned dog.
Eventually I started to realise that there were no winners here.
When I arrived at the site I slowly descended into a tribute to some of the most irritating games ever: first they started with Farmville and other such social casual games when it asked me to sign in using Facebook. This raised a red flag for me but I still wanted to win a house. The disclaimer at the bottom of the page promises that LG won’t retain any of my Facebook data, and when has a company ever lied about that?
Based on the scenes from the advert like something out of the Game of Thrones opening sequence – indicating that an animator got paid at least – I figured there’d be an interactive design element to this like The Sims (or Sims 2, Sims 3, MySims, SimSocial or Sims Medieval). I was eager to make something amazing. This was not the case. Instead I got a graphics-heavy tour of highlights from the LG catalogue with no real element of choice, zooming around two mechanically changing rooms like a moth in the digestive tract of a Transformer. The lack of choice was disappointing but also somewhat encouraging in a way – surely easier to win my eco-house, right?
All too quickly I encountered the main interactive element of this little video adventure. I’m talking about those fairground games where you have to manoeuvre a hoop along a bent wire but if you bump the wire then you set off the buzzer. Remember those? Wow, really? I didn’t know that people from 1930 were in the audience. But yes, they modernised that game and made me play it several times:
This is even less fun than you imagine
The game was almost embarrassingly easy. Too easy in fact, because in pursuit of the smallest thrill of rebellion I did one purposefully wrong, thus discovering the funniest and possibly cruellest part of this strange joke. It didn’t matter if I traced the path with the logo. I dragged it straight to the destination without going around the curves and still succeeded. If you’ve ever dragged a desktop icon into the recycle bin then congratulations, you’ve been training for this.
Then it said I can share my ‘creation’ with some of my Facebook friends. It picked some random friends and because the interface was awfully designed I didn’t realise until afterwards that I could change the selection. Finally, at the very end of my journey, I was rewarded with this final message:
Not exciting. Existing. It’s an existing way to love our Earth. The most existing way there is! I’m… I’m pretty sure they're not going to give away any houses.
Sadly it wasn’t over yet. It sent my friends a custom movie – except the customised elements of the movie weren’t actually decisions I made. Amongst the highlights were my friend’s profile photos in picture frames being pawed at by some generic dinner guests.
At one point my ‘guests’ are all drinking orange juice on my brand new sofa when the stoned dog leaps up, causing a guy to spill his drink on himself like an idiot – so clumsily that it’s basically on purpose. If that orange juice isn’t at least a weak cocktail then I’m a terrible host but also WHY DID I BUY A SOFA FIRST-HAND WHEN I OWN A DOG. Then there’s a pretty awkward scene where I wash the guy’s shirt in my shiny new LG washing machine that I had no choice about picking. But look how amazed he is:
The miracle of water, soap and movement!
What with my tastefully decorated home and the way this guy purposefully spilled his drink then eagerly removed his shirt, I’m kind of sensing a slightly Will & Grace, cartoonish-gay undertone here. I’m not entering a competition to win an eco-house but at least this guy seems to fancy me.