The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By John Glenday, Reporter

August 17, 2021 | 2 min read

ITV and Uncommon have returned to the glory days of arcade gaming with a 90s-inspired ‘Beat ’em up’ that brings the classics of yesteryear to life in a pixel-perfect online game.

ITV has switched from passive to interactive entertainment by dipping a toe in videogame waters for the latest instalment of its ‘Drama vs Reality’ genre clash, an animated button-masher featuring battles between genre stars.

The campaign, which most recently starred Richie Campbell and Ferne McCann, is brought to life in a new medium that places the outcome in the hands of the viewer.

The online game features six contestants for the player to control in a no-holds-barred fight, pitching reality stars Ferne McCann, Bobby Norris and Kem Cetinay against drama queens Jason Watkins, Richie Campbell and Anna Friel.

Going back to basics, Uncommon went the traditional route by painstakingly combining hundreds of individual drawings, which were then stitched together to make the animations.

Uncommon co-founder Nils Leonard said: “Making a real game was next level for ITV. We loved bringing ‘Drama vs Reality’ to life with nostalgic influences from the 90s, with every pixel crafted in 16 bit. Gaming and advertising is a natural partnering that doesn’t get enough airtime. More brands should be playing in this space connecting to millions through gaming experiences. We can’t wait for the studio to make more of a mark in this world.”

Determined to make the experience as authentic as possible, Uncommon has paid close attention to detail, employing compressed period-specific synth soundtracks remastered from the Towie and Love Island theme tunes. Scripted remarks have also been recorded for each of the stars to pull the player into the nostalgic world, with phrases such as ‘Don’t mess with Essex babe’ and ‘You’re leaving the villa’.

Adding further pizzazz to proceedings are a variety of themed fight arenas ranging from a moody crime scene to an Essex mansion as ITV’s fighters take to the streets in a rage.

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