ITV's Retro Game Pits Network's Drama Stars vs. Its Reality Celebs

Uncommon serves up '90s arcade style

U.K. broadcaster ITV goes the old-school arcade route for the latest iteration of its "Drama vs. Reality" campaign, launching a 16-bit desktop game packed with retro bells and whistles plus cheeky nods to popular programs.

As you may recall, the network's cinematic commercials from creative studio Uncommon and Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) trade in dark, frequently outrageous humor. They began dropping a few months back, pitting ITV's dramatic actors against its reality-show personalities.

Most recently, Emmy-winning thespian Anna Friel taught celebrity couple Olivia Attwood and Bradley Dack a weighty lesson:

The Trap | Drama vs Reality | ITV

Earlier installments in a similar vein featured acclaimed actors Jason Watkins, Katherine Kelly and Richie Campbell and reality stars Kem Cetinay, Pete Wicks, Bobby Norris and Ferne McCann.

At one point, ITV extended the concept to '90s-video-game-style digital billboards:

Such OOH elements proved popular, providing the impetus for an actual playable online game that launched this week:

Play for "Team Drama" or "Team Reality" as one of the stars from the campaign! Street fight like you're back in the Clinton era, throwing nonstop kicks and punches! Blast 16-bit versions of TV show themes at maximum volume! Hear character catch-phrases, voiced by the actors themselves! Thrill to the detailed backdrops and Easter eggs for ITV fans! Click on a spinning coin icon to start, a nod to arcade nostalgia!

How many exclamation points will it take to make you play!?

"Gaming and advertising are a natural partnering that doesn't get enough air time," Uncommon co-founder Nils Leonard writes in a blog post. "More brands should be playing in this space, connecting to millions through gaming experiences."

Uncommon eschewed modern 3-D tech, teaming instead with Rave Growl and Node London on hundreds of drawings to build out the game in stop-frame animation style.

It looks old-timey authentic, but this is 2021, so of course there's a Twitch tie-in, with a gala Aug. 31 livestream on the platform.

Earlier this month, McCann—star of the ITV reality show Ferne McCann: First Time Mum—hosted a game activation at London's Westfield Square mall. Thankfully, she left her military helicopter and high-powered machine gun at home.

The Phone Call | Drama vs Reality | ITV

Project Name: Drama vs Reality Game
Client: ITV
Creative Studio: Uncommon
Design & Illustration: Rave Growl
Agent: Matthew Shearer @ B&A London
Development by Curious Productions
Game Development: Node London
Lead Game Developer: Richard Worton
Game Developer: Rich Worton at Node London
Game Development Creative Director: At Velev
Music Composition: Out/Standard
Sound Designer: Ben Gulvin @
Audio Producer: Ghazal Zargar Elahi @
Web Developer: Fun In Elk City
Media Agency: Essence
OOH Agency: Kinetic
OOH Production Agency:

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