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Old Spice ad is the funniest game I've played this year

Canabalt creator's latest may out-weird Frog Fractions.

When we hear that a videogame is an advertisement we instinctively assume that it's nothing but a cheap ploy to promote an upcoming film, TV show, or album. Esteemed advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy has broken the mould and then some by making an Old Spice ad that not only has the most tenuous connection to its product possible, but the mere fact that it's an actual paid for ad makes it even funnier. It certainly wins the "I can't believe this is actually a real thing" award for 2012.

Mutombo after a heartfelt eulogy for Hostess desserts.

Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World follows famed basketball player Mutombo as he tries to alter the Mayan calendar and stop the world from ending.

Each week a new level is added by Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman and his team of four other indie devs. While Saltsman and company implement the game mechanics, Wieden+Kennedy still comes up with the outlandish concepts.

In the first week Mutombo must convince Americans to stop imitating the Gangnam Style video and vote. As the basketball star careens down a giant throat en route to the Heart of America, he must use his Old Spice jetpack to avoid falling fast food chains, home improvement stores and disco balls while throwing ballots at dancing pedestrians ala Paperboy.

The next week he must stop Black Friday madness by destroying adorable furry monstrosities called Blurgies at the factory where they're produced. He does this by riding around in a mine cart stomping on them. Of course he can't squash their evil, capitalist ways when children are around lest they start crying.

This is the most this game has to do with Old Spice.

In this week's episode he must prevent a literal Hollywood fat cat from winning the lottery, as the fiendish feline would use the earnings to create another teen vampire romance movie. This will shrink the brains of its viewers, resulting in the end of the world. So naturally, Mutombo must break into the lottery machine and fight goth kids by tossing cans of Old Spice at them.

Throughout his crusade Mutombo is aided by his mentor, Science the Bear - a bear in a hideous plaid sweater who gravely recites ridiculous doomsday prophecies - and Random Turkey, a cannibalistic fowl who's not at all concerned about Thanksgiving traditions, like, well, eating turkey.

There's really no way to do justice to the madness that is Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World and describing it anymore would spoil the fun. Just go in and watch the chaos unfurl before you and ponder how the meeting must have gone where someone presented this idea to a button down exec at Old Spice. Then imagine said exec saying "yes." Because that's pretty much what must have happened.

There are two more chapters to come, due on 10th and 17th of December. For now, play Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World at the audaciously named URL www.oldspicesavestheworld.com.

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Jeffrey Matulef


Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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