do you remember Shock-mania? Back in the 1980s, when video games clash of clans became the biggest pop cultural phenomenon the world had ever seen, and its main character, the Barbarian, graced magazine covers, cereal boxes, and was made into an action figure? A new short documentary tells the compelling story of the game’s 40-year history, the spectacular rise, the crushing fall and its subsequent rebirth.
Except, you know, it’s all fake.
Today marks the real, for real, 10th anniversary of the mobile gaming juggernaut clash of clansbut its parent company, Supercell, thought it would be fun to imagine a world where Shock came of age during the Pac-Man and Mario era. Created with the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, shock of the past traces the (fictional) origin of the game of three teenagers in a Finnish basement to a cultural blockbuster. It’s a fun, elaborate gag that manages to reflect how gaming’s pop culture has evolved over the past few decades.
40 years ago it was an arcade game in a basement. Today, millions of people play it all over the world. It’s Clash from the Past.https://t.co/pATXOljDrg pic.twitter.com/yjCyc6ZWd7
– Clash of Clans (@ClashofClans) July 27, 2022
Michael Gurman, Supercell’s brand creative manager, said the company talks a lot internally about trying to do things only it would do.
“I think a lot of video game companies would celebrate their history, be proud of it, and use it as an opportunity to brag a bit about their real-life accomplishments,” Gurman says. “We’re used to being a bit mischievous, never taking ourselves too seriously, so we loved how it would take the 10th anniversary and not talk about our real history at all. We thought it would be really fun to give our fans an extra 30 years of history that didn’t exist.
In fact, Supercell launched Shock that day in 2012, and it came pretty close to the phenomenal heights that were joked about in the fake doc. It’s been downloaded over three billion times, was in the App Store’s top 5 downloads in 2012 and 2013, and caused a stir with one of the most popular Super Bowl ads of 2015. The game still ranks consistently among the top 10 in the App Store. top-grossing apps, including this week. The fake story isn’t completely off the mark, however. In 2012, Supercell game designer Lasse Louhento recounted pocket player this part of the visual inspiration for Shock comes from old SNES games like Glove.
Beyond the fake doc, which has already garnered millions of views, Supercell is celebrating its decade of mobile gaming dominance with a few other surprises to delight fans, like mini-games that recreate some of the fake past celebrated in the doc. . In these, Shock clans is reimagined as an arcade game called Shocka console runner from the 90s called shock dashand an open-world game from the early 2000s called Shock: Cradle of Darkness. Each is era-specific and has been “remastered” for mobile so that it can be played in the Shock clans application.
Other IRL ties to the faux doc are a trio of brand collaborations, including a General Mills cereal called Boom Boom, a clothing capsule collection with Champion, and a series of Shockthemed Garbage Pail Kids with Topps.
“It’s become a habit for brands to do collaborations, but with this, the approach was not just to find companies to partner with, but also to tie them into this larger narrative that all of this could be real,” says W+K creative. director Lawrence Melilli. “So we made 90s breakfast cereal for real, now re-releasing it as this vault thing, releasing what looks like an archival commercial, and then making it into the documentary. It’s all tied together in an attempt to create this plausible alternate reality that fans can have fun with.
In 2017, Supercell scored Clash’s fifth anniversary by bringing a popular Builder character out of the game and into the real world, even building an 18-foot Tesla Tower – which also served as a giant statue of the game’s character PEKKA – to serve as an elaborate phone charger for passers-by. Gerry Graf, then a partner at the advertising agency, said at the time that, given the fun collection of characters and the incredibly strong fan base, Shock had the content potential to be its own version of Pixar. For Gurman, the ambition to take these characters out of the game and tell stories in different media remains.
“We see Shock as our most important and valuable intellectual property,” says Gurman. “For the future of ShockOn the IP and entertainment side, we have always used animation to introduce characters, and we are considering longer storytelling, and we are exploring other ways to bring Shock in the entertainment area.
To this end, a new clash of clans graphic novel will be available for pre-order in the coming months. And yes, it is for real.